VicForests releases Ecologically Sustainable Forest Management Plan
VicForests has released the first version of our Ecologically Sustainable Forest Management Plan (ESFMP).
The ESFMP has been developed to outline VicForests’ management practices and includes information about our responsibilities, the way we undertake our operations and how we manage the social, economic and environmental values provided by our forests.
This five-year Working Plan has been updated to include revised Goals, Objectives and Targets under 11 Strategic Focus Areas aimed at improving our operations in our eastern Victorian Forest Management Unit. The plan also includes an overview of current management approaches within each Focus Area, information on new strategic directions and proposed actions for achieving the overarching Goal.
The ESFMP is a key strategic document within VicForests’ Ecologically Sustainable Forest Management System.and has been developed on the back of collaboration with our stakeholders since October 2013. Version 1.0 of the plan incorporates feedback and advice in line VicForests' core business values and our Sustainable Forest Management Policy commitments. A summary of this feedback and VicForests' response can be found here.
Further stakeholder feedback on the Plan is always welcome and can be provided via our Contact Us page.
Forest Industry Taskforce
The Victorian Government released the Terms of Reference for the Forest Industry Taskforce in late November.
The Government has established an Industry Taskforce to provide a forum and process for dialogue and leadership amongst the major stakeholders in the forest, fibre and wood products industry, as well as unions and forest conservation groups.
VicForests will not be directly involved in the Taskforce but will provide information to the Working Group on Coupes which has been set up to look at coupes currently planned for harvest.
The purpose of the Taskforce is for major stakeholders to reach common ground on a durable, long-term set of recommendations to government, about future issues facing the industry, job protection, economic activity and protection of our unique native flora and fauna and threatened species, such as the Leadbeater’s possum.
The outcomes will be reached by consensus and involve dialogue and considered negotiation. The process will rely on expert evidence, analysis and facilitation and the engagement of relevant groups and the Victorian community.
The Taskforce will aim for recommendations to successfully create and sustain jobs and industry growth in a changing economic environment, to conserve high value ecological assets, to protect key species such as the Leadbeater's possum and to implement a durable plan for the good stewardship of Victoria’s forests.
Further information including membership and Taskforce structure can be found at: http://www.dpc.vic.gov.au/index.php/news-publications/our-environment-our-future
White Ribbon Day
White Ribbon day was held on November 25 and aims to highlight the fact that intimate partner violence is the most common type of violence against women, affecting 30 per cent of women worldwide.
As part of its initiatives to acknowledge the day, ABC Bega asked VicForests Board Member, Rob de Fegely, a to provide a message to highlight his views on the importance of the campaign to stop violence against women.
On average, one woman a week is killed every week as a result of partner violence and a woman is most likely to be killed by her male partner in her home. This violence is the leading contributor to death, disability and ill-health in Australian women aged 15 to 44.
The White Ribbon campaign says research shows building greater equality and respect between men and women can reduce attitudes that support violence and social policy initiative addressing gender inequity are central to reducing violence against women.
Harvesting trial in Mt Cole State forest
In November 2014, VicForests took over responsibility for managing small scale timber harvesting licences in Victoria.
The licences were previously managed by the Department of Environment and Primary Industries’ Forestry Services Unit and include a number of licencees based in the west of the State.
One area where licencees are currently operating is the Mt Cole State forest, to the north of Beaufort.
Mt Cole State forest contains about 3600 hectares of forest which is available for timber production as has traditionally been an important local source of timber with support from the local community including the Friends of Mt Cole.
The sustainable harvest level for this forest is 1500m3 of D+ sawlog per year with VicForests licencees currently harvesting around 1000 m3.
Sawlog is being supplied to Pyrenees Timbers at Chute to produce kiln dried timber for flooring, decking and green sawn timber for construction. The waste is used to generate heat for their drying kiln and they also provide dry wood chips to the bioenergy heater at the Beaufort hospital.
Residual timber from operations is purchased by Tiley Industries who are focused on firewood but are looking to saw some of the higher quality residual wood into tile battens. Tiley also conduct the harvesting and haulage operations in the area.
A three year trial was commenced in early 2014 aiming to look of how some of the challenges associated with harvesting in the area are managed.
As part of the trial, the planning of harvesting operations at Mt Cole has considered a number of key factors, most importantly, ensuring successful regeneration of the forest after operations have been completed.
Mt Cole has a history of ‘dieback’ caused by the root rot fungus Armillaria luteobubalina. The key method of controlling this disease is to utilise seed tree or clearfell systems which minimises the number of living trees adjacent to dead stumps which are thought to be the main source of infection.
In addition, browsing is a significant issue which has led to fencing as standard practice around every coupe to keep out wallabies and deer which are largely responsible for the problem.
VicForests is planning to trial a selection coupe to look at whether this type of harvesting may assist in minimising the browsing problem and reduce the risk of regeneration failure, while also acknowledging the issues related to Armillaria.
Our Community Forestry team will be preparing a report on the operations at Mt Cole and if there are no significant barriers identified, plan to extend harvesting into the longer term.
Reader survey results
VicForests would like to thank readers for taking the time recently to respond to the survey asking for feedback on how we can improve our e-Bulletin.
According to the survey, 76% of readers access forestry related news via industry newsletters followed by 70% through industry publications and websites.
Readers said environmental forestry related news interest them the most (83%) followed by economic forestry related news (61%). One reader said they wanted to read more about stories about people who work in the bush, how timber is used and international forestry news.
There were a range of issues people said they would like to see covered in the newsletter including an update on the number of Leadbeater’s Possums in existence, the amount of forest available for harvesting, silviculture and new technology.
The majority of readers (46%) said they would like to receive the newsletter on a monthly basis and 80% said they would like to receive forestry related news in the future via industry newsletters such as VicForests’ The View.
VicForests is reviewing reader feedback and will look at ways to improve the newsletter based on these suggestions.