“The Victorian Government in partnership with Traditional Owners is embarking on a major program to reform our forest management and guide the modernisation of the Victorian Regional Forest Agreements.” This gives us another opportunity to add our voice in calling for changes in forest management. Go to https://engage.vic.gov.au/future-of-our-forests and tell the government about the places you value and how they should be used and managed.
Forests have been a point of contention for decades, and the Regional Forest Agreements were an attempt by governments to balance the many conflicting views on how forests should be used. Following a decade of extensive resource assessments and consultation, 20 year Regional Forest Agreements in various regions were signed off between 1997 and 2000 (see here). They were supposed to be plans for “the sustainable management and conservation of Australia’s native forests”. Although they did slow the debate, there has been a lot of concern about how forests have actually been managed over the past 20 years. Conservation groups supported by Environmental Justice Australia have successfully mounted several legal challenges over the management of forests across Victoria (see here).
Also. our views about these forests have changed. More people value forests for reasons other than for their timber and woodchips. Declines in biodiversity in general and iconic forest species such as the Greater Glider and Leadbeater’s Possum have stimulated pushes to protect many of our forests. With climate change, forests in the higher and wetter areas of Victoria are becoming more and more important as refuges and core areas for biodiversity, and as the catchments for all our river systems. And more and more people are appreciating forests for recreation and an escape from the rush and turmoil of life in our towns and cities.
So there are many calls for more protection for our forests from destructive exploitation – see https://vnpa.org.au/future-parks/. Locally we are looking at ways to protect the forests extending from the northern Strathbogies (see https://strathbogiesustainableforests.wordpress.com/) through to the Tallarook Ranges and Mount Disappointment Forests (check out https://www.facebook.com/mountdisappointmentclonbinane/).
So please add your voice to all the calls for better conservation of our forests.
Video: Strath Creek Falls in the Mount Disappointment State Forest (with thanks to Friends of Disappointment).