Treasured Forests on Melbourne's Fringe

The magnificent forests of south-eastern Australia are among the oldest and tallest in the world.

They are home to many unique plants and animals on the doorstep of Melbourne. These spectacular forests should be treasured as an escape for nearby Melburnians, looking for a reprieve from the hustle and bustle of the concrete jungle.

Unfortunately these forests are still being logged for paper pulp even though there are sustainable paper sources at hand for paper companies to use.

Propped Up By Government

mountain ash forest greenOur beautiful forests in Victoria continue to be logged at a rate of nearly 5,500 hectares annually – that’s an area more than 8 times the size of a city block every single day!

The logging of Victorian forests is subsidised by the Victorian Government by tens of millions of dollars every year. Even though VicForests – the company responsible for logging our native forests – receive access to the forests for free, they still can’t turn a decent profit.

Logged forests are then mostly pulped for cheap paper products – including Reflex, the flagship brand of Japanese-owned paper company, Australian Paper.
Australian Paper is the largest buyer of wood from Victoria’s publicly-owned native forests.

It doesn’t make economic sense for the Victorian Government to subsidise the unprofitable logging of native forests for paper pulp. Instead of using our precious native forests, companies like Australian Paper should make use of existing plantations and recycled pulp for paper manufacturing.

Logged to extinction

Leadbeater's (Fairy Possum)This sustained, senseless logging for paper pulp is driving many helpless animals to the edge of extinction. But none more so than the tiny Fairy Possum.

This amazing animal was thought extinct, until the animal’s miraculous rediscovery in 1961 meant it was chosen as Victoria’s animal emblem.

But fast forward fifty years, and right here in Victoria, the Fairy Possum’s forest home is still being logged for woodchips, mostly to make Reflex copy paper – driving this shy creature to the edge of extinction.

And governments, logging companies and paper manufacturers know it. But they’re just keeping on logging for paper pulp, in full knowledge that their actions are pushing wildlife towards extinction.

In a wealthy, developed country like Australia, we can do better when it comes to forest management and paper manufacturing.

Producing Reflex paper from native forests impacts our climate, water and wildlife

Australian Paper, maker of Reflex, is the largest domestic purchaser of pulplogs from Victoria’s native forests.

These native forests are some of the most carbon dense forests on Earth. Logging and post-logging burning releases enormous amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Protecting Victoria’s forests – both existing old growth forests and allowing previously degraded forests to restore their lost carbon – is a crucial component in the fight against climate change.

The native forests that Australian Paper currently sources its wood from are home to many threatened species. Victoria’s faunal emblem, the Fairy (Leadbeater’s) Possum, is at risk from ongoing logging. Logging fragments and destroys habitat.

The tragic 2009 fires burned almost 50% of the Fairy (Leadbeater’s) Possum habitat and despite calls for change by leading scientific experts, Australian Paper continues to source wood from these forests. Populations of other threatened species have plummeted in recent years. The Baw Baw frog, the Sooty Owl, the Barred Galaxias (a little known native fish) are all impacted by logging operations.

Sadly, logging also occurs within Victoria’s precious water catchments. These catchments are natural water factories for both city and rural communities. Logging reduces both the quality and quantity of water. We all do our bit to save water but Reflex’s ongoing sourcing of wood from Victoria’s water catchments has a significant impact on the viability of future supplies of our drinking water.

It is not good enough. Australian Paper’s ongoing sourcing of native forest wood has a major impact on our climate, water and wildlife.