Legal support to citizen scientists on the forest protection front-line
This project provides legal support and representation to in-the-field “citizen scientists” who play a critical role in protecting threatened species threatened by logging. This legal support can take the form of training, legal advice or legal representation.
Supporting communities and citizen scientists endeavouring to protect our forests and the wildlife that inhabits them is important work. Significant gains made by environment groups in the courts risk being undermined as VicForests continues to plan and undertake logging without first conducting adequate threatened species surveys.
The only things putting the brakes on VicForests is action by citizen scientists who locate and document threatened species in areas slated for logging – and effective legal interventions. Court cases draw attention to the biodiversity crisis, the failure of governments to enforce existing laws and limitations in the current legal framework. Organisations campaigning for the next generation of environmental laws have identified cases like the ones our lawyers run as important opportunities to build the power of the campaign.
Litigation, particularly around forests, has permanently protected important wild places. It has successfully protected thousands of hectares of the best native forest under imminent threat from logging over the last six years. Examples include Brown Mountain, Sylvia Creek, Hensleigh Creek, Cob Hill Rainforest Site of Significance and the iconic Kuark old-growth forests. Litigation in Victoria has played a central role in highlighting the impact of native forest logging and creating the political climate for reform.
Support for EJA’s forest team gives citizen scientists access to legal advice and support to bring legal scrutiny to threats to forest as well as inform their advocacy to influence political outcomes. At the same time, EJA would not be able to bring legal action without the tireless commitment of citizen scientists to gather and prepare the lay evidence relied on in litigation matters.
The funding provided by the Tucker Foundation makes this possible and is critical to the fight to protect what remains of Victoria’s forests and wildlife.