Brown Mountain old growth forest

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Brown Mountain old growth forest and Errindundra National Park

The wonderful old growth forest of Brown Mountain in East Gippsland is now being logged. There are more than 50 trees over 300 years old in this area of forest, which is adjacent to Errinundra National Park.

Unprotected old growth Mountain Ash at Brown Mountain
Unprotected old growth Mountain Ash at Brown Mountain

The Labor Party pledged during the 2006 State election that:

In addition to the Goolengook Block, a Labor Government will immediately protect remaining significant stands of old growth forest currently available for timber harvesting by including them in the National Parks and reserves system.[1]

This Brumby Government has broken this promise. The bulldozers moved in late October 2008.

It is worth noting that none of the forest areas specified for protection have actually been protected yet either, 2 years after the election. It seems that the Brumby government supports clearfelling old growth forest as "business as usual" despite the forests critical role in storing carbon (over 1000 tonnes per hectare) and providing water for the depleted Snowy River catchment.

These forests also provide habitat for threatened species such as the Powerful Owl, the Spot Tailed Quoll, mainland Australia's largest marsupial carnivore, and the Long-footed Potoroo, Victoria's rarest marsupial.

The government has claimed it is delivering a 5,000 ha link between the Snowy and Errinundra National Parks, but including this area of Brown Mountain is a vital part of this link.


A brief history of Brown Mountain

East Gippsland's forests have been heavily clearfell logged now for 35 years. Logging of heritage listed National Estate forests commenced in 1989. Brown Mountain was targeted for logging . Protests in the forests eventually halted the logging there, but the remaining old growth forest was not all protected.

Brown Mountain was assessed and listed as an old growth National Estate area by the Commonwealth Heritage Commission in the 1980s, which means it has the same values as a National Park. The management of these areas were handed to the state government which promptly set about clearfelling them in 1989.

The protests on Brown Mountain against logging there attracted much media attention when 300 people were arrested and charged with entering the area being logged. A moratorium was put on the logging while the state govermenet carried out a "Prudent and Feasible Study" into alternatives to logging National Estate listed forests.

As compensation for the year-long moratorium, the Federal Government gave the State Government (Premier of the time - John Cain, Kay Setches was minister) $10 million. This was used to push new roads into the heart of the very areas being studied - in anticipation of the outcome. It was also used to carry out plantation trials in regrowth forests - part of the long-term agenda to convert publicly owned native forests into industrial tree farms.

Labor government response to concerns about the logging

When queried about this decision to destroy the old growth forest, the response from Premier Brumby’s office was "since VicForests have moved the contractors in, there nothing we can do".

Premier Brumby's office was called on this matter on 30 October 2008 and advised that nobody could assist over the telephone, and that the best way to raise concerns about the logging were to email the Premier at [email protected]

Old growth forest maps of Brown Mountain

DSE map illustrating unprotected Brown Mountain old growth
DSE map illustrating unprotected Brown Mountain old growth

Victoria's Department of Sustainability and Environment's (DSE) own maps show that the area of Brown Mountain forest in question is old growth forest, which proves that it should have been included in the forest areas announced for protection in 2006, and therefore should not be logged.

The Old Growth Forest Walk - Goongerah

Labor's 2006 National Parks and Biodiversity policy included a commitment to create the Old Growth Forest Walk - Goongerah in the area of Brown Mountain old growth forest now being logged. The location of this walk has been agreed with DSE verbally, and during two site visits at Brown Mountain that included several representatives from DSE and the community.

The promise to construct this walk at Brown Mountain has been broken by the Brumby Labor Government. If the entire area is logged as planned, there will be no old growth forest left to walk through.

Details of logging

Brown Mountain old growth coupes – 840-502-0020 is currently being logged
Brown Mountain old growth coupes – 840-502-0020 is currently being logged

This area contains 3 highly contentious coupes (840-502-0015, 840-502-0019, 840-502-0020) that were only added to the logging schedule in July 2007. Coupe 840-502-0020 is the one currently being logged.

Video of single log on truck

Filmed near Goongerah. Logs like this will come out of Brown Mountain forest and go the woodchip mill at Eden. Over 80 percent of what is logged in East Gippsland ends up as woodchips.

See also


More information and photos


  1. Labor protects last significant old growth stands, 17 November 2006 (PDF)
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