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Posted July 1, 2010, 20:00:00

Victorian timber arm VicForests has denied it is illegally cutting down old trees and threatening endangered species in logging operations north-east of Melbourne.

The environmental body Flora and Fauna Research Collective has today launched court action against VicForests.

It is accusing the state-owned timber entity of breaching the Sustainable Forests Timber Act, through logging operations near Toolangi, north of Healesville.

The collective claims VicForests is illegally cutting down old trees in the area and threatening the habitat of the endangered Leadbeater’s possum, which is one of Victoria’s emblems.

The collective also argues the species has suffered significant setbacks since Black Saturday and is describing the situation as critical.

VicForests says the claims as untrue and says it does not harvest old-growth forest in the region.

The parties will appear before the Ringwood Magistrates Court in August.