It sounds ridiculous because it is. Victoria’s last great forests are being turned into cheap office paper and worthless wood chips. We’re proposing an alternative ending.
When we say "last great forests", we mean it. Only 1% of the Central Highlands Mountain Ash ecosystem remains unlogged and unburnt. East Gippsland is home to mainland Australia’s last unbroken tract of vegetation from snow to shore.
Will these places be protected for people, nature and wildlife, or will the logging industry continue to eat away at them until there’s nothing left?
Top Photo: Chris Taylor
The threat to life
Victoria’s forests are home to hundreds of rare and threatened species — creatures like the Greater Glider.
But they also support humans.
Forests clean our air. They work as giant air conditioners for nearby cities. In ecosystem services to Melbourne’s water supply, Victoria's forests are worth $310 million per year. As tourist destinations, they're worth $260 million per year.
That’s a valuable asset. One the $12 million native logging industry puts directly at risk.
A logging clearfell at Rubicon.
Victoria's forests are essential to the supply of clean, drinkable water. Photo: Ken Deacon
A logging clearfell at Toolangi.
Victoria's old growth forests are the last remaining habitat of the Critically Endangered Fairy Possum. Photo: Teresa Hu
A logging burn.
Discarded timber is burned, releasing stored carbon into the atmosphere. Photo: Chris Taylor
A mountain ash stump in a clearfell.
Mountain Ash have an average lifespan of 400 years. Many older trees are hollow making them only suitable for woodchipping.
The Great Forest National Park.
The Mountain Ash forests of Victoria’s Central Highlands are some of the best in the world at storing carbon. When Australia finally implements a carbon pricing system, they'll be worth an estimated $50 million per year.
The long-term future of Victoria’s forests should be bright.
But Japanese-owned Australian Paper (Nippon Paper International) has a short-term vision for these giant Mountain Ash trees: cheap office paper and throwaway paper products.
We have a better idea.
The proposed Great Forest National Park would connect up existing parks and conservation areas by adding 355,000 hectares of new protected forest.
This region already draws 3 million tourists per year. A new multi-use Park would bring nearly 400,000 more — a $71 million boost to the state economy. All while adding new conservation areas.
A fairytale ending.
There’s another reason to support the Great Forest National Park — and this one’s a little sappy. The Fairy Possum is Victoria’s state emblem. It was long-considered extinct. Then in 1961, it was rediscovered. Here. It's found nowhere else on Earth.
This Park wouldn’t just be a new lease on life for the region, it’d be a fairytale ending for the Fairy Possum. Told you it’d be sappy.
The Emerald Link.
The forests of East Gippsland form mainland Australia’s only unbroken link between alpine mountains and coastline. From cool plateaus to warm, wet gullies, this tract of wilderness supports incredible biodiversity. And that biodiversity supports all of us.
So we’re working to keep this place wild.
We have a vision to inject millions of dollars into the communities that used to depend on native logging.
It’ll be better for the ecosystems that make our lives possible, better for our climate and better for the creatures that call Victoria home. It’ll create new jobs and new places to relax and play.
Now we have to sell that vision to the decision-makers.
What we’re doing:
- Building cross-Parliamentary support for forest protection and logging industry reform.
- Consulting with Traditional Owners on our proposals.
- Working with scientists to learn more about the life in our forests.
- Telling the stories of the hundreds of endangered species that inhabit them.
- Running educational forest tours.
- Promoting the use of recycled and plantation fibres over precious native forests.
- Building the case for the Great Forest National Park and Emerald Link.
- Organising a grassroots national movement for lasting change.
- Educating Australians on the benefits of intact ecosystems.