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Illegal firewood collection in South Gippsland

Sunday 27 October, 2013

A man has been fined for illegally taking wood from the New Zealand Hill Nature Conservation Reserve in Foster.

Acting on information supplied by members of the public, Parks Victoria Authorised Officers interviewed the man who was subsequently issued with an infringement notice for illegally cutting and removing wood from the reserve. He also received warnings for off road driving offences and for damaging wildlife habitat.

Parks Victoria Ranger Jonathon Stevenson said it was an important reminder for people that penalties apply for illegal firewood collection on public land.

"Firewood can only be collected from designated collection areas during specified periods. People need to be aware of these regulations or they risk being fined.

"Reserves and parks around Foster, including the New Zealand Hill Nature Conservation Reserve are not designated firewood collection areas and people must not remove wood from them," he said.

Authorised Officers have recently recorded evidence of other illegal activities in parks and reserves around Foster including over twenty trees being felled. Investigations remain open concerning these cases.

"Many of the trees targeted by illegal firewood collectors are old or dead trees that contain important hollows for wildlife. Removing these trees can have a serious effect on the local environment and biodiversity," said Mr Stevenson.

"Protecting the integrity of parks and reserves is important for native flora and fauna and for the local community and visitors who enjoy walking in and exploring these reserves," he said.

Limits also apply to the amount that can be legally collected for domestic use; 2m³ per person per day and 16m³ per household per financial year.

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