Cabbage Tree planned burns upset environment group

Cabbage Tree planned burns upset environment group

Forest Fire Management Victoria (FFMVic) has a fuel reduction burn planned for 2020 in the Cabbage Tree Palms Flora Reserve, two kilometres southwest of Cabbage Tree Creek.

FFMVic says this burn is important to protect the town, surrounding private land and the reserve’s environmental values from summer bushfires.

“The felling of hazardous trees along a section of the perimeter on one side of the reserve is part of FFMVic’s standard burn preparation work that has been carried out to detailed specifications,” FFMVic Snowy District manager, Craig Chapman, said.

“This work was done to create a safe working platform for crews to conduct the planned burn. It involves the removal of trees that could fall on firefighters during the burning operation and the creation of a buffer zone on the edge of the burn area for firefighters to work from.

“All the relevant permits have been obtained for this work, and biodiversity and cultural heritage values assessments have been made. There are mitigations and strategies in place to protect the identified values such as the Cabbage Fan-palms and other native flora and fauna. The Flora Reserve rainforest areas will not be burnt.” Gippsland Environment Group

(GEG) has described the planned burn as an excessive and extremely environmentally damaging operation. reparable damage” to the roadsides into the Cabbage Tree Palms Flora Reserve near Cape Conran, and into the old Mitchell River Weir and Billygoat Bend in the Mitchell River National Park.

“Visitirs to East Gippsland’s favourite holiday destinations over the Queen’s Birthday long weekend discovered to their horror that their favourite bush haunts had been transformed into a virtual logging coupe,” Louise Crisp, secretary of GEG, said.

“DELWP and Parks Victoria have permitted hundreds, possibly thousands, of trees to be felled in protected areas in what is clearly an excessive and extremely environmentally damaging operation.

“The Cabbage Tree Palms Reserve has now been partially destroyed by DELWP contractors. The Cabbage Fan-palm is one of the earliest flowering plants to appear on earth.

“The stand at Cabbage Tree Creek is the southernmost stand in Australia. The Fan-palms were observed by government botanist Ferdinand Von Meuller in 1854. In 1886 the Tambo Shire reserved 100 acres along the Cabbage Tree Creek to protect the palms and the surrounding warm temperate rainforest.”

Ms Crisp said the vital protective vegetation buffer has been eliminated and bulldozers driven straight through damp gullies at the edge of the wetland.

“The Minister for Environment, Lily D’Ambrosio, must intervene immediately to put a stop to the carnage and investigate DELWP’s assault on nature in East Gippsland.” Ms Crisp said.

FFMVic said local residents and relevant stakeholders have been informed and consulted about the planned burn, which is planned for autumn 2020 if/when weather conditions allow.

IMAGE: Trees felled at the Cabbage Tree Palms Flora Reserve in preparation for a 2020 Forest Fire Management planned burn. (PS)