A splendid effort to restore forests in Victoria
The Victorian Government is conducting the largest forest restoration effort in the state’s history with a $7.7 million operation that airlifted tonnes of eucalypt seeds into areas of forest devastated by last summer’s fires.
Funding from Bushfire Recovery Victoria’s $110 million State Recovery Plan is helping recover thousands of hectares of burnt Mountain and Alpine Ash forest and enabling the seed to be collected from healthy bushland to ensure the re-seeding work can be ongoing.
Between May and July, more than 4.5 tonnes of eucalypt seed, three tonnes of which came from VicForests’ contingency reserves, was spread by helicopter across nearly 11,500 hectares of fire-ravaged country, an area the equivalent of about 5,650 MCGs.
Thousands of the seeds are currently growing into stunning giants of the Australian bush, including the iconic:
- Mountain Ash – the tallest flowering plant in the world and
- Alpine Ash, which reaches a significant size
Regrowth from impacts of bushfire in Australia
The re-seeding focuses on areas of nationally distinctive forests in Gippsland and North East Victoria that also suffered the impacts of fire in 2003, 2007 and 2014, and were severely burned again in the 2019-20 season.
The 2019-20 summer fires severely impacted Alpine Ash forests in both state forests and national parks, creating concern that without action some plant species could be compromised.
Right across the divide thousands of the tiny Mountain and Alpine Ash seedlings have been sprouting.
In some areas, they are already several inches high and growing quickly after a slow germination process through the colder months.
As it continues to warm up we expect they will really start to take hold and kickstart their journey to be giants of the bush. These are early steps in a long journey.
Low temperatures and snow across parts of the high country in late winter also proved very helpful as both species benefit from cold, moist soil.
The BRV funding will also support research to better understand the impact of high severity bushfires to guide future forest restoration efforts.
The project is being delivered by the Department of Environment Land Water and Planning in partnership with VicForests, Parks Victoria, and contractors from regional Victoria.
56 people have been working on the reforestation project. All activity has complied with DHHS requirements to prioritise the safety of the Victorian community as well as staff.
This video shows the results of the team’s dedicated work.
Reviewed 01 February 2021