Category Archives: History

Estimating the density of the Greater Glider in the Strathbogie Ranges

The report documenting the findings of the 2017 Strathbogie Forest Greater Glider surveys, conducted by DELWP’s Arthur Rylah Institute, has finally been released.

ARI report front cover

Main findings:

  • The Strathbogie Forest supports a large and regionally important population of Greater Gliders.
  • The Greater Glider population in the Strathbogie Forest has not suffered the declines that have occurred in the Central Highlands and East Gippsland, reinforcing the conservation importance of the Strathbogie Forest population.
  • Government data shows that many parts of the Strathbogie Forest support Greater Glider numbers that exceed the high-density threshold that would lead to forest protection in other parts of the state.

Summary of results (in italics):

  • Greater Glider population in Strathbogie Forest is ca. 70,000 individuals.
  • The detectability of individual Greater Gliders is low, suggesting that raw spotlight counts may greatly underestimate densities.
  • The three surveyed coupes (Barjarg Flat, Mr Hat and Tartan) have a Greater Glider population of ca. 500 Greater Gliders.
  • Greater Gliders in the Strathbogie Forest occur at densities of 2 to 4/ha. [Extrapolating, nine remaining coupes (370 ha) on the TRP have a Greater Glider population of 740 to 1480 individuals.]
  • Generally, hollow-bearing trees were larger in coupes (mean DBH 118 cm), than outside coupes (mean DBH 89 cm), [suggesting that logging coupes are targeting higher conservation value areas of forest].
  • Higher numbers of Greater Gliders were found on transects with large trees, particularly trees >100 cm DBH.
  • The results of the study indicate that higher quality habitat for Greater Gliders includes areas containing a high proportion of Blue Gum and Mountain Gum and with a high proportion of trees larger than 100 cm DBH.
DSCN0708 Greater Gliderv L. Williams a

Strathbogie Forest Greater Glider (Image Lance Williams)



Mount Wombat Walk

Mount Wombat walk

2017 Honeysuckle Art Show – forest celebration

The longer we campaign for improved forest management in the Strathbogies, the more opportunities we have to share this special corner of the north east with the wider world. The 2017 Honeysuckle Art Show was one such opportunity.

This year’s art show theme was ‘Ageing’, so it seemed fitting to celebrate those ancient trees, and the habitat they create, that are so important for the health of the forest ecosystem. The main image (above) is of the forest display at the show in the Violet Town Hall. The slideshow (below) shows the individual pics that comprise the exhibit. All images were taken in the Strathbogie Forest on the regular community activities run by the group. Click to view the slide show.


And we even received an ‘Honourable Mention’, in the ‘Textiles, print making & collage’ category!

This exhibit was part of our 2017 Strathbogie Forest Citizen Science Project. This project was funded with the support of the Victorian Government.

Giants, icons & elders walk

Perfect winter weather accompanied our group of 47 visitors to the Strathbogie Forest on Sunday. We came to see and pay respect to some of the grand old trees that still stand in this forest.

Two giants at the Messmate picnic area on Barjarg Rd are a continuing source of inspiration for visitors. These are perhaps the two biggest, oldest Messmate eucalypts (Eucalyptus obliqua) left in the entire Strathbogie Ranges. [Click an image to open the slide show.]

The Mountain Gum (E. dalrympleana) is another giant tree of this high elevation mixed species forest. Continue reading

Strathbogie forest – stop the Barjarg Rd burn

Old-growth trees in the vicinity of Mt Strathbogie.

Old-growth trees and open understorey in the vicinity of Mt Strathbogie.

There’s much discussion about how fire should be used in the Strathbogie Forest. An aim of any fuel reduction program is to create a vegetation mosaic, so that fuel loads vary and a wildfire can’t just rush through a forest unhindered. Of course, we’re talking here of ‘normal’ bushfires; no amount of fuel reduction or breaks will stop a big fire on a really, really bad day.

Planned burns to reduce forest fuel have been conducted for many decades in the Strathbogies, but have only been mapped since the 1970s (40+ years ago). We are concerned that too much planned burning is occurring in the Strathbogies and that it’s having a negative impact on significant forest assets. Our recent survey of the Tames Rd planned burn showed how ecologically devastating a ‘successful’ planned burn can be.

These maps of the main part of the Strathbogie forest show how much planned burning was done and where, in each decade since the 1970s. For reference, some other forest management assets are mapped: brown= pines, yellow = ‘reserves’, purple = Special Protection Zones (high conservation value areas), green = mapped/modeled old-growth (forest with old-growth elements eg. big trees). The darker-green background is forests that  Click on an image for the slide show.

Its’ interesting to see how the patchwork of planned burns increases with time. Keep in mind that lines on maps don’t tell the whole story. Important detail such as percent coverage, fire intensity, fire impact are not documented for any of these burns, so the maps are only part of the picture. Nonetheless, it’s clear that much of the forest has been burnt in the last few decades.

In the Strathbogies, long-unburnt forest and ecologically mature forest is rare and fragmented. Such forest has particular biodiversity values not present in younger forest and there are many types of plants and animals that rely on long-unburnt forest for survival.

Two things stand out from this information:

  1. The existing fire mosaic is a good basis from which to develop a plan for strategic burning in the future and
  2. The remaining areas that are long-unburnt, that contain ecologically mature forest of high conservation value, should remain unburnt.

Now look at what’s on the Fire Operations Plan for the next few seasons, including 2016. Continue reading

“Gold—I’ve struck GOLD!”

Gold mining 1800's (Source unknown)

Gold mining 1800’s (Source unknown)

A call of “Gold—I’ve struck GOLD!” A township of 500+ people. A rush!

Notice of upcoming event.

Saturday April 26th, 2014 – A history walk of the forest & the old Tallangalook township, with Anne Simpson and friends.
Meet at 1.30pm at the Strathbogie Memorial Hall to drive to the area.


How old is this Strathbogie forest giant?

Messmate Stringybark, Eucalyptus obliqua.

Messmate Stringybark (Eucalyptus obliqua) south side of tree.

200 years old, 300 years old, more? It’s hard to say, but these trees have been around a long time and deserve to grow old gracefully. And though this forest has been logged for more than a century (note the young trees surrounding the giant), logging up until a few decades ago was sensitive enough to allow quite a few of these forest giants to survive; but their days may be numbered. In the harsh world of modern, industrial logging, there seems little room for grand trees like this one. Continue reading

Welcome to our forest!

Mt Strathbogie and Golden Mount, from Rocky Ned Lookout.

Mt Strathbogie (left) and Golden Mount, from Rocky Ned Lookout.

Something strange is happening – there’s stirring and disquiet in the sleepy hollow of Strathbogie. Folk are starting to cast their gaze to the East, up into the tall, mountain forests where few venture (locals, anyway). There are rumors that these forests are facing death by a thousand cuts, literally. It appears that heavy-handed, industrial logging is moving in big-time, if VicForests has its way. These forests have been cut for several generations – selectively logged. As late as the 1980’s logging was carried out by a small team of men with a dozer and chainsaws. They’d cut single trees or small stands and make sure not to damage the next ‘crop’ of trees, so that they could come back five or ten years later and repeat the process. The cut timber was then supplied to a local sawmill that employed dozens of men. The relatively high market price of timber at the time made such small operations economical (even if no one got rich!). And the really big, gnarly, old forest giants? Well, they were no good as saw-logs and it was often easier, and safer, to just leave them alone. But now with 20 tonne machines, huge cash and capital investment by logging contractors and a wood-chip (pulp wood) monster to feed, the forest gets a raw deal – it’s open slather! And here’s what can happen. There was once a majestic forest here, not just a collection of mostly dead trees, but a healthy, productive, beautiful forest.

Looking across the coupe from cnr Barjarg Rd & Ferraris Rd

Looking across  coupe 411-504-0002 from cnr Barjarg Rd & Ferraris Rd.

Unbeknown to the-powers-that-be, forests are complex systems made up of hundreds of thousands of different living things, from deep in the soil to high above the tallest tree, all contributing to the whole. And forests are resilient and pretty forgiving – think of how the forests burnt in Black Saturday are coming back! These forests had been providing local communities with saw-logs, employment, clean air and water and much enjoyment for the last 100 or so years (not to mention the thousands of years before that). So, what on earth befell the above forest, so that it now stands like a graveyard – testament to our greed and ignorance? Well, it wasn’t a bushfire, nor a tornado, no – just a couple of blokes, some massive machines and a good dose of greed and ignorance. That’s all it took to turn what was a beautiful and productive forest, into an ecological wasteland that is unlikely to produce any quality timber until our grandchild are old! Apparently, this is called sustainable forest management.


Our journey along this campaign path has led to much revelation, despair, anger, insight and growth. Read on.