A vision for the future
The Strathbogie Forest has been ignored for too long. The Victorian Government has the opportunity to capitalize on the strong community support and compelling weight of policy, which underpin the significant benefits of protecting the Strathbogie Forest.
Though modest in size, the statewide significance of this forest is now beyond argument. Its protection in a conservation reserve is urgently required for meeting National Reserve System targets, Victorian Government protection commitments and for the survival of iconic national and state endangered fauna species.
Forest protection will provide, not only significant biodiversity outcomes, but demonstrable support for regional communities, a genuine commitment to people caring about nature, improved visitor experience, and increased tourism opportunity. Regional communities and businesses want protection of the natural environment and the benefits of sustainable economic development, particularly the burgeoning economies around nature-based tourism – these will return real benefits to regional Victoria.
Local communities and many thousands of Regional Victorians are calling on the Victorian Government to protect the Strathbogie Forest as a conservation reserve.
- 74% (177,600 ha) of native forest in the Strathbogie Ranges has been cleared. Less than 2% of the Strathbogie Ranges is permanently protected in reserves. The 24,000 ha Strathbogie Forest is the largest block of public land in the Strathbogies, but only 870 ha (3.5%) has permanent protection.
- The Strathbogie Forest is of statewide significance for the Greater Glider possum, listed as a threatened species under the federal Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act and the Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act. The forest has one of the healthiest Greater Glider populations known in all Victoria. The forest is also a regional stronghold for several other threatened and iconic species.
- Improved protection of the Strathbogie Forest will contribute significantly to the reserve shortfall in the Central Victorian Uplands Bioregion, identified by the Victorian Government’s own analysis.
- The Victorian Government’s Biodiversity Response Planning and Strategic Management Prospects identify the Strathbogie Forest as one of the state’s highest priorities in relation to investment and planning.
- The Strathbogie Forest has the highest climate change adaptation ‘values’ of any part of the Strathbogie Ranges. It has been classified as
a ‘semi-autonomous’ region in the Goulburn Broken CMA’s Climate Adaptation Plan. This assessment is made on the basis that (a) the high values of remnant native vegetation are maintained and (b) logging and changed fire regimes (planned burning) are a key pressures.
- The Strathbogie Forest is the last and only stronghold for the hundreds of forest- dependent plant and animal species that once occurred across the entire Strathbogie Ranges. The forest is now cut off from similar forest types to the east and south, yet still contains significant natural values that are highly valued by local and regional communities.
- The higher altitude and rainfall ‘core’ of the forest currently has the highest conservation value of any land in the Strathbogie Ranges, yet, it has the poorest level of protection of any public land in the Strathbogie Ranges.
- Victorian Government analyses shows that the Strathbogie Forest has a variety of significant biodiversity values (old-growth trees, forest- dependent species). This is largely because the area has avoided the devastating impacts of clear-fell logging and wildfire.
- Local communities are committed to improving management of the Strathbogie Forest and ensuring that the broader and long-term economic and environmental benefits of the forest are shared by all Victorians.
- Local communities and many local businesses see an opportunity to benefit from these forests if they are protected and can be showcased regionally as part of a tourism draw-card.