Protecting the Tree Geebung (Persoonia arborea) an endemic flora species of the Central Highlands

Warburton Environment (WE) filed a Supreme Court Case against the state-sanctioned logging agency VicForests in June 2020 to protect the IUCN Red List Critically Endangered Tree Geebung, Persoonia arborea, which is a long-lived understorey flora species endemic to the wet sclerophyll Mountain Ash forests of the Central Highlands region.

WE has conducted surveys of outcomes in recently harvested coupes known to have contained Tree Geebung prior to harvesting. Of 22 coupes surveyed, known to have contained 238 Tree Geebungs, 202 were killed (they were no longer present), 19 damaged, and only 17 survived intact. A critically endangered tree that has been identified preharvest and is supposed to be protected has managed to still achieve a death /damage rate of 93%.

VicForests are mandated (but not regulated) in the “Management Standards and Procedures for timber harvesting operations in Victoria’s State Forests 2014”, to protect Tree Geebungs. It is clear that this is not occurring. Hence WE have taken legal action.

Our court efforts to date have been successful and the Supreme Court has granted an interlocutory injunction of a minimum 50m buffer around each detected Tree Geebung in the Central Highlands.

To achieve the best results at trial (set down for 5-10 days from the 21st Feb 2022) we need to engage choice expert witnesses in the field (our entire case is based on these reports). WE want to set a precedent in the Supreme Court of Victoria that protecting endangered flora species is NOT optional. Expert witness reports and appearances are very costly.


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