Strathbogie Shire Council has called on the Victorian Government to cease native timber logging in Strathbogie State Forest, labelling it a necessary step to conserve the forest for tourism and to combat climate change.
The resolution, which was passed at an ordinary council meeting on October 16, raised concerns about the effect of logging on native wildlife and the future sustainability of the forest.
‘‘There is now overwhelming evidence that continued logging and new planned burning regimes in the Strathbogie State Forest will rapidly diminish its status as a regional stronghold for 36 federally and state listed threatened and iconic species,’’ the council minutes read.
‘‘Protecting the Strathbogie State Forest will have a significant positive effect on our shire’s local tourism economy, local and state climate future.’’
VicForests has previously said only six per cent of Victoria’s forests were available for harvest, of which only 0.04 per cent was harvested each year.
About 0.1 per cent of Strathbogie State Forest is harvested, with VicForests saying 25 direct jobs were created as a result of the operation.
‘‘Workforce data in the Strathbogie Shire municipality shows that at the last census no jobs in the Strathbogie Shire municipality were derived from the ‘Forestry and Logging’ industry,’’ the council meeting minutes said.
The Save our Strathbogie Forest group, which has long been advocating for an end to logging in the forest, welcomed council’s support.
‘‘The Strathbogie forest is being wrecked by logging, and local communities and businesses have had enough,’’ trucking company owner and group spokesperson Shirley Saywell said.
‘‘We fear the loss of forests and threatened species which support local tourism and visitors to our region,’’ she said.
Council referenced a recent report compiled by the Save our Strathbogie Forest group when making its resolution.
The 28-page report, Protecting the Strathbogie Forest: A community, biodiversity and policy imperative, said 177600ha of the forest, or 74 per cent, was now cleared of vegetation. About 870ha, or 3.5 per cent, of the forest has permanent protection.