Illegal wood harvesting targeted to protect significant wildlife habitat in national parks
Tuesday 13 August, 2019
To protect the habitats of native animals, Parks Victoria authorised officers have stepped up patrols and surveillance over the past month following several cases of illegal tree felling and removal within parks and reserves in northern Victoria.
Significant hollow trees have been cut down and removed from national parks, destroying important habitats for mammals, reptiles, birds and invertebrates.
Since July, “Operation CROOKWELL” has targeted people who, are allegedly cutting down trees to supply buyers with firewood.
In the latest seizure on Thursday 8th August, Parks Victoria authorised officers and Victoria Police intercepted a man in possession of more than two cubic meters of wood, allegedly taken from Chiltern-Mount Pilot National Park. The man’s vehicle, three chainsaws and the wood were confiscated. He will be charged with several offences including cutting and taking firewood in a national park, driving off road and destroying wildlife habitat.
At least six other people will be charged with various offences as part of the operation and a total of three motor vehicles, six chainsaws and seven cubic metres of wood have been seized as evidence with the operation ongoing.
Firewood can only be collected from designated collection areas in certain areas during permitted seasons. Details of where firewood can be collected on public land is available at http://www.delwp.vic.gov.au/parks-forests-and-crown-land/firewood
Quotes attributable to Parks Victoria State-wide Enforcement Operations, Chris Mercier:
“It is illegal for people to fell trees or collect firewood in a national park. We take a zero-tolerance approach to those breaking firewood collection laws and anyone caught will be prosecuted.”
“If you observe anyone causing damage to park habitat, removing wood or have information about environmental offences please contact Parks Victoria on 13 1963. All information will be treated confidentially.”
Quotes attributable to Parks Victoria A/Manager Science and Management Effectiveness, Dr John Wright:
“Tree hollows provide precious habitat for hundreds of species of native birds, mammals, reptiles and invertebrates.
Amazing creatures like the Squirrel Glider, Brush-tailed Phascogale, Regent Parrot, Red-tailed Black Cockatoo and the Tree Goanna all depend on hollows for their survival.
It can take centuries for nature to create the hollows that so many of our unique and threatened wildlife rely on. Destroying these precious resources through selfish and reckless behaviour is a tragedy.