Trevor Speirs, Trentham
On local radio and in the print media, opponents of the proposed changes to the status of the Wombat Forest have been at pains to downplay the present condition of the forest, describing it as being in a “very poor state”, with “trees the size of your finger”, which I believe is a deliberately misleading exaggeration to give the impression that the forest isn’t worthy of protection.
Sure, there are parts of the forest with regrowth that could do with thinning, but there are also fantastic areas with large, hollow-bearing trees providing homes for an abundance of species, from the threatened greater glider, brush-tailed phascogale and powerful owl to other special residents like the eastern pygmy possum and mountain brush-tailed possum, to name a few.
There are a great many cool, ferny gullies that are a magnet for migratory birds such as sacred kingfishers, rose robins, satin flycatchers and olive whistlers, some returning from as far north as New Guinea and beyond, to breed over the spring and summer months.
The greatest threat, along with climate change, to these unique Australian animals is the resumption of commercial logging and we know from Vic Forest’s submission to this VEAC investigation, that they will log 10,000 cubic metres of trees per year from the Wombat if it is not protected; and they won’t be taking “finger sized” regrowth.
The 9000ha regional park proposed near Trentham gives plenty of opportunity for activities like horse riding, dog walking, prospecting and firewood collecting.
Victoria still has in excess of three million hectares of state forest where these and other things, like hunting, can occur.
Australia is going through a biodiversity crisis with 1700 species threatened with extinction, 350 plus of these are found in the Central West Forests and now is the time to get serious about our precious wildlife and place long-term protections in place before it is too late.