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A new addition that escaped my attention at the time... Defining, Identifying and Protecting Old-growth Forest in Victoria

"Forest Management is sustainable, we replace every tree that we log."...

What you don't get told is that when a tree (sometimes 500 or more years old like the one above) is cut down that area will then be harvested in eighty or less years.

Thin, healthy eighty year old native trees that produce industry standard timber, woodchips and "nice white paper" do not support the biodiversity that these ancient high-rise apartments do. One of the main reasons given for the destruction of old growth trees and forests that are a product of four billion years of evolution is so that they can be replaced by "healthy" forest.

But it is not only "old" forests and trees that are important. Any forest, of any age, that has not been disturbed or modified by human activity is performing important biological and ecological functions.

Central Highlands old growth

Old growth (OG) trees are in excess of one hundred and fifty years old and some species can live well over one thousand years. As trees mature they start to form hollows that are homes and nesting sites to many species of bird, animal and insect and as such are a vital component of the diversity found in forest. The few remaining old growth trees that we see are reminders of once great forests. Ecological systems like OG forest are incredibly complex with all species interacting in numerous and subtle ways.

For a technical definition of old growth forest and a glimpse into the machinations of government departments look at this article. The salient points are here.

The inherent relationships of old growth forest are not well understood so many of the implications of current practices may not be known for some time. Historically, few resources were allocated to research and understand these systems. Thankfully this situation is slowly being turned around as more and more people become aware of these forests and their biological value. The survival of old growth trees, up to now, reflects past generations’ commitment to this and future generations. The so-called "science" of forest management as we see it applied today is a crude and transparent tool of forest managers preoccupied with achieving profit by removing the largest volume of timber in the shortest time possible.

What have we done? History link.

Museum Victoria on old growth

DSE - What is old-growth forest and how is it being managed in Victoria?

Trees like the one above make excellent habitat but terrible sawlogs so they end up as woodchips.

Below - Central Highlands : rainforest,

old growth and water.

Central Highlands

Above - East Gippsland. Image courtesy of Tony Quoll