Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

National parks body calls for stop to Barmah logging trial

A national parks body is calling for the Federal Government to step in to prevent a logging trial going ahead in Barmah National Park.

KATHLEEN TONINI December 6, 2012 4:23am

Trees in Barmah National Park are the subject of a logging trial.

A plan by the Victorian and NSW governments to start ‘ecological thinning’ in national parks has been labelled ‘‘fundamentally flawed’’ by the Victorian National Parks Association.

The Victorian Government will soon start thinning trials in sections of the River Red Gum Forests in the Barmah National Park and Murray Valley National Park in NSW.

A spokesperson for Victorian Environment Minister Ryan Smith said the health of many trees had been compromised due to over-crowding.

‘‘The trial, which will see the selective removal of some smaller trees and saplings, will be undertaken under stringent scientific conditions and is aimed at preserving the health of our majestic river red gum trees,’’ he said.

The spokesperson said the trials had been approved by a 2008 report by the Victorian Environment Assessment Council.

He said NSW had already tendered the thinning work and Parks Victoria would soon follow suit.

Victorian National Parks Association spokesperson Nick Roberts called on the Federal Government to protect the forests from the Victorian and NSW governments.

Mr Roberts said logging stopped in 2010 following the establishment of the River Red Gum national parks.

‘‘The best available science says that River Red Gums will be improved by flooding not logging,’’ Mr Roberts said.

‘‘And yet these new trials are on the scale of a commercial logging operation and are completely inappropriate for a national park.’’

Mr Roberts said the trial was likely to damage habitat and threatened species.

‘‘River Red Gum national parks were established to protect important forests and wetlands and a significant number of rare or threatened plants and animals,’’ he said.

He said a number of threatened species within the national parks were protected under national environmental law.

‘‘We understand this logging proposal has not been submitted or approved under national environmental laws as required,’’ he said.

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