State of the Forests

State of the Forests, Remembering Black Saturday by Sal Ahmed

Since 2008, the Victorian Government has issued a State of the Forests report every five years as required under the Sustainable Forests (Timber) Act 2004.

The State of the Forests report will be written and produced by the Office of the Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability this year, having previously been issued by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.

The framework for this year’s report is in progress and is expected to build on existing data and delve further into our knowledge of the different ecosystems living in Victoria’s forests. Consideration will be given to the timber industry and its effects on environmental health.

To plan a framework for the upcoming report, it’s important to understand the past. The 2013 State of the Forests report included:

Data and environmental monitoring

  • Improved and more comprehensive data greatly improved our capacity to demonstrate sustainable forest management
  • Delivery of a more holistic landscape approach to sustainable forest management that included a greater focus on monitoring the environmental and social outcomes of timber harvesting

Local impacts and community

  • Public forests are important for industries and recreational activities
  • Forest related businesses employed more than 21,000 people and produced 25% of Australia's wood products (value $450 million, 2010-11) while supporting communities across Victoria

Forest health

  • Planned burning on public land expanded to reduce hazard, protect human life and maintain forest health
  • Introduction of a new approach to managing threatened species, providing opportunities for sustainable timber harvesting whilst managing biodiversity

Cultural heritage and protecting the future

  • Formal agreements entered into with four Traditional Owner groups in connection to the management of almost 300,000 hectares of traditional lands, including new agreements made on more than 76,000 hectares of public forests
  • Formal protection status of a greater proportion of Victorian land: up from less than 1% (1950s) to 17%

Read the full report:

State of the Forests Report 2013 (PDF, 13.3 MB)