Reporting timber harvesting issues to us
We have the responsibility to ensure that timber harvesting and associated activities are planned and conducted in Victoria's State forests in accordance with the environmental regulatory framework.
Anyone can report information to us regarding potential timber harvesting compliance issues, or the potential presence of threatened species in timber harvesting areas.
Status of forest reports
These links provide an update on the status of all forest reports submitted between 1 January 2016 to end of present month (updated monthly).
The reports focus on threatened species and timber harvesting activities.
You should note that a small proportion of forest reports involve both threatened species and timber harvesting activities. These reports are listed within both links. This section will be updated regularly.
Submitting reports to us
Reports and any relevant supporting evidence should be submitted via email to Forest.firstname.lastname@example.org
Minimum information requirements for forest reports
We require the following information to be included in all forest reports.
- Contact details of the person making the report (The names of persons submitting reports will be treated confidentially if requested)
- The date, time and location of the survey or observation
- Detailed description of the observations made, including any relevant regulatory rules that have allegedly been breached, or a description of the survey method used to make threatened species observations; and
- Unadulterated copies of any relevant supporting evidence collected for your report (photographs, video, etc.)
Where these minimum information requirements are not met, we will contact the person making the report to request additional information. If the information cannot be provided no further action will be undertaken.
Reports involving threatened species
Accurate information on the presence or absence of a threatened species (or key threatened species habitat) is important for planning and undertaking sustainable timber harvesting operations.
Our maintains a spatial database called the Victorian Biodiversity Atlas to record the location of significant flora and fauna records. Some threatened species attract special protective measures for commercial timber harvesting operations.
We will review and attempt to verify all reports to determine if they trigger such protective measures under the Code of Practice for Timber Production 2014.
Verification criteria for threatened species reports
Threatened species reports need to be verified to ensure accuracy before any formal protective action is undertaken. We will use the following verification criteria.
- Any claimed absence of the species at the location is supported through an appropriate survey that is consistent with the method described in our species-specific survey standard.
- The species was accurately identified by the person submitting the report
- The claimed location of the survey can be verified (this requires the presentation of evidence or may require a follow up field inspection by us)
- The presence of the species at the location is supported through presentation of legitimate evidence
Evidence showing a verifiable location
We can most efficiently verify threatened species reports where clear photographs or video footage of a threatened species can be linked to a known location recorded by a GPS device.
We recommend that forest reports include photographs or video footage showing the satellite coordinates of the claimed detection location.
A date and time stamp can be used to link a photograph of the GPS device to a date and time stamped photograph or video footage showing the presence of a threatened species.
Where remote cameras or videos are used to detect threatened species, the survey team should try to capture an image of a GPS device showing the satellite coordinates of the location, or position the equipment so that they capture a readily identifiable natural feature at the location (e.g. distinguishable rock or tree).
Timber Harvesting Safety Zones
Active timber harvesting coupes are hazardous work sites that must be carefully managed to ensure safety. Significant public safety risks occur when unauthorised persons enter timber harvesting areas. Everyone has the right to work in safety and the government has introduced new measures designed to deter unauthorised entry into timber harvesting areas.
On 28 May 2014, amendments to the Sustainable Forests (Timber) Act 2004 (SFTA) became effective. The SFTA now provides for the establishment of timber harvesting safety zones.
Species-specific survey standards
We have established the following species-specific survey standards.