- Monday, 29 August 2022 at 7:01 am
The 19-year-old admitted to illegally removing timber on several occasions between April and May last year from the Moodemere Conservation Reserve. Some of the timber was then sold as firewood on Facebook Marketplace.
The man was detected by Conservation Regulator Authorised Officers while undertaking patrols as part of Operation River Gum in May last year.
In evidence provided by the Conservation Regulator, ecologist David Pendavingh informed the Court the offending caused significant damage to wildlife habitat. He said removing timber from woodland ecosystems “impacts multiple generations of species by reducing the amount of available shelter, nesting and foraging substrates on which current and future wildlife rely on”.
In sentencing on Tuesday, the Presiding Magistrate said the man acted like a “modern day poacher”.
The man was sentenced to an adjourned undertaking without conviction and ordered to pay $1,000 to the Court fund. The Magistrate also ordered disposal of two chainsaws, two bar covers, a chainsaw case and a “for sale” sign.
Operation Rivergum is a joint operation between the Conservation Regulator, Forest Fire Management Victoria, and Parks Victoria to address illegal firewood removal from vulnerable ecosystems along the Murray River corridor. It targets people who are removing firewood in large quantities for commercial gain and in doing so, destroying areas of wildlife habitat and native vegetation.
Domestic firewood collection is only allowed in designated firewood collection areas during the autumn and spring firewood collection seasons.
For details of where, when and what firewood can be collected, visit the Forest Fire Management Victoria webpage Firewood collection in your region.
For more information about firewood regulation in Victoria, visit our webpage.
The community can report the illegal cutting or removal of firewood anonymously by calling 136 186.