Code vs. Forest Management Plan
rainforest buffers

Code rainforest buffers

The Code of Forest Practices for Timber Production (Revised, 1996) prescribes minimum buffers for rainforest throught-out Victoria. See Section 2.3.7 of Code.

In summary the Code has three basic buffer categories.

(i) In general all rainforest must receive at least a 40 metre buffer.

(ii) Cool Temperate Rainforest dominated by myrtle beech (Nothofagus cunninghammii) receives a 60 metre buffer. This extra buffer length acknowledges the impact of a dieback disease called myrtle wilt.
See more about myrtle wilt (OREN website).

(iii) For rainforest of 'National Significance' the entire catchment where the rainforest occurs is the buffer and must be excluded from logging operations.

Code Vs substandard Forest Management Plan buffers

Of great concern to conservationists is the fact that buffers applied in practice are much less than what are indicated in the Code. Generally buffers that are applied in the field are the same as those detailed in Forest Management Plans (FMP).

The FMP's for East Gippsland and Central Highlands cover the bulk of Victorian rainforest that is currently threatened by logging practices.

None of the three buffers prescriptions outlined in Section 2.3.7 of Code are applied. Instead the follow occurs:

(i) For the East Gippsland FMP, rainforest buffers of only 20 metres are generally applied to rainforest while the Code requires 40 metres.

(ii) In the Central Highlands FMP, rainforest buffers of only 40 metres are applied despite the fact rainforest is dominated by myrtle beech (Nothofagus cunninghammii). Under the Code there should be a 60 metre buffer.

However in the Otways, the Code prescription of 60 metres is applied, after years of conflict between conservationists and the Government. See more.

(iii) For all the FMP's across Victoria, the issue of sub-catchment protection for national significant rainforest is ignored. Logging is allowed to occurred in these sub-catchments and generally 20 - 40 metre buffers are applied. See more.

Conservationists' view vs. Department's view

EPA Code audits - 02/03 and 03/04