Publicly owned native forest in Victoria covers more than 7.1 million hectares – approximately 35% of the State.
This area includes National Parks, State Parks and other reserves, and State forests with approximately 6% of the publicly owned native forest (or 490 000ha) suitable for VicForests' operations.
VicForests' Area Statement provides an overview of our native forest by species, land tenure and Forest Management Area. It also gives stakeholders more information about the forest available and suitable for native timber harvesting in Victoria by species type and location.
Area Statement 2014
VicForests aims to provide consistent and verifiable information to its stakeholders regarding State forest in Victoria. This Area Statement uses data that is continually updated by VicForests and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP).
While this statement focuses on State forest, particularly in eastern Victoria, it also contains data on Crown Land in Victoria in order to provide context around the areas where VicForests operates.
Crown Land in Victoria
Nearly eight million hectares of Crown land is managed to provide environmental, social, cultural and economic benefits to the people of Victoria.
The primary tenures of Crown land are Parks and Conservation Reserves or State forest. There are many other areas of Crown land in Victoria, including land managed by the Commonwealth government, local government reserves and Heritage River areas. These areas are summarised in Table 1.
Table 1: Victorian Crown land area ('000 ha) by Tenure
|State Forest*||Parks and Conservation Reserves||Other Crown Land||Total Crown Land|
*State forest includes areas zoned as multiple use, Special Protection Zones, and other protected areas.
 Victorian Crown Land Area Statement, 2013, Department of Environment and Primary Industries
Forest Cover in State Forest
There are many forest types present in Victoria’s State forests. The main forest types are ash forests (which are dominated by E. delegatensis, E. regnans or E.nitens) and mixed species forests (which are dominated by a wide variety of Eucalyptus species).
Some areas consist of other tree species such as wattle and some, such as grasslands or swamps, are not forested. The forest cover for State forest in all of Victoria is presented in Table 2.
Table 2: Area ('000 ha) of Native Forest in State forest by Forest Type
|Ash||Mixed Species||Mixed Species||Not forested||State Forest|
† This figure varies slightly from recent DELWP estimates due to different definitions of tenure.
Forest Management Areas
Forest Management Areas (FMAs) are broad administrative areas within State forest. The seven FMAs in eastern Victoria in which VicForests operates are illustrated in Figure 1.
Figure 1: Forest Management Areas in eastern Victoria
Timber harvesting is permitted within a very small fraction of Victoria’s total native forest area. The area legally available for harvesting is made up of General Management Zones and Special Management Zones (Table 3). Areas classified as ‘reserved’ are forests within Special Protection Zones and other exclusions such as riparian buffers and slopes greater than 30°.
Table 3: Area ('000 ha) of State Forest in eastern Victoria available for timber production
|Forest Management Area||Available||Reserved||Available||Reserved||Total|
Not all of the forest available for harvesting is suitable due to species composition, low yields, timber quality, poor access and other factors. Table 4 outlines those areas which are considered suitable for harvest (suitable), those where the modelled timber resource is currently uneconomic (potentially suitable) and areas that are not suitable for harvest (not suitable). No harvesting occurs in areas that are not suitable.
Table 4: Area ('000 ha) of State Forest in eastern Victoria available and suitable for timber production
|ForestManagement Area||Suitable||Potentially suitable||
|Suitable||Potentially suitable||Not suitable||Total|
In 2010-11 VicForests commenced pre-harvest surveys for threatened species such as the Long-footed Potoroo (Potorous longipes) and Spot-tailed Quoll (Dasyurus maculatus). When a threatened species is detected VicForests develops a plan that, in many cases, reserves forest that was otherwise available for harvesting. Table 5 shows the area of forest that has been progressively placed in VicForests’ Reserves as a result of this process.
Table 5: VicForests’ Reserve area (ha)
|VF Reserves & Exclusions||795||1,213||3,038|
The areas described in Tables 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 are depicted in Figure 2, together with the area harvested annually by VicForests.
Figure 3 shows the area harvested in the past ten years by forest type and silvicultural system. Variations from year-to-year are the result of seasonal conditions, market fluctuations, and the urgency with which salvageable timber must be harvested following bushfires.
Figure 3: Area Harvested Annually 2003/04 – 2012/13
Clearfell, Seed tree, Group selection