AUSTRALIA — Logging has been suspended at 34 sites in Victoria following a legal challenge that, if successful, threatens the validity of controversial timber operations in native forests across Australia. The development comes as the expiry date looms on many of the 20-year deals between the Federal Government and the states that allow logging of native forests on public land, prompting calls for the system – known as regional forest agreements – to be scrapped. The 10 landmark agreements make logging in certain areas exempt from federal laws. They were designed to end decades of conflict between environmentalists and the timber industry by enabling conservation, recreation and logging to coexist. However critics say the deals have comprehensively failed to protect the environment.