Rubicon: beauty in Melbourne's backyard

On and on it flows: a barbed, bristling, triffid-like sea of blackberries. Blackberries blanket roadsides and logged hills and as far as the eye can see; bunch around tall tree trunks; drape across tree ferns; choke mountain streams, and hang through the mossy branches of mystic Antarctic Beech trees, the Gondwana icon that attracts official conservation status.

The Rubicon Forest Protection Group takes a trip through the historic Rubicon forest to bear witness to its beauty, biodiversity, and its destruction as a result of logging. By Jill Sanguinetti

Welcome to the Royston River road, where the Rubicon Forest Protection Group (RFPG), based in Taggerty and Alexandra, is campaigning to bring about an end to flagrantly unsustainable logging: the systematic shaving away of the last substantial intact areas of 1939 ash regrowth forests in the Central Highlands. By law these 60 – 70 metre ash forests can be logged because they are not yet designated ‘old growth’: they are only 80 years old, not 100 years old. But the 1939 regrowth forests in the Central Highlands will never reach old growth status, because once logged, they are on an 80-year logging cycle. And despite the loss of 13,500 hectares of ash forest in the 2009 fires, research carried out by Dr Nick Legge (2017) found that the rate of harvesting has actually doubled since 2011. At the current rate of logging, there will be very little left in five to ten years’ time.

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From The Greens Magazine, June 2017