Otway Ranges Environment Network



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West Regional Forest Agreement (RFA) fails to consider Myrtle Wilt

The West RFA totally failed to consider the impact of logging practices on elevating levels of myrtle wilt within the Otways. The West RFA Consultation Paper (page 58) allows for a rainforest buffer of only 40 metres. No scientific research to justify the 40 metre buffer is provided in RFA documentation.

The West RFA Consultation paper defers the consideration of the myrtle wilt problem until the Otway Forest Management Plan is revised in 2005. Over the next few years the Department plans to concentrate logging near stands of rainforest.

Myrtle Wilt puts RFA Processes under pressure

As the West RFA stands, current the sawlog commitments of 27,000 cubic metres a year (claimed to be the 'sustainable yield') from the Otways assumes that rainforest buffers will not increase. This sawlog commitment does not allow for any future increases in rainforest buffers under the Code of Forest Practices. (i.e. An increase in buffers would decrease the availability of forest for logging and therefore the "sustainable yield" and sawlog commitment should decrease.)

Since the West RFA was signed on the 31st of March 2000, the threatening process known as myrtle wilt has been listed under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act. If an Action Statement is ever done, it will imposes increased rainforest buffers would further erode the West RFA sawlog commitments.

Politically, the Federal Government has put pressure on the State Environment Minister to ignore rainforest protection and put ash sawlog supply first.

Wilson Tuckey - Former Federal Minister for Forests and Conservation

See press release from Wilson Tuckey ordering Garbutt to spread myrtle wilt at Ciancio creek

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