It is important that the modernisation of the Victorian Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs) and forest management system was guided by the latest robust science. This will ensure our forests are resilient and our management practices adaptive to a changing climate. The Victorian Government committed to funding $17.6 million towards the RFA modernisation process. Of this amount, $7.5 million has been directly invested in updating assessments of a range of forest values.
Key deliverables for the research program include:
- $3.0 million to fund a landscape scale survey program for:
- threatened species
- updated habitat distribution models
- conducting population viability analysis;
- $3.2 million to update mapping of old growth forests and rainforests. This includes a major new acquisition of Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) data. The data will cover East Gippsland and areas of the Central Highlands not captured in 2015;
- $1.0 million to update assessments of a range of other ecosystem service, economic, social and community forest values
- $0.3 million investment in enhancing our modelling capability and decision support systems. This will assess the impacts of possible future forest management scenarios on a range of forest values.
We are also updating our information on timber resources.
Findings from the research program provide information for the modernisation of Victoria’s RFAs along with future forest management planning and decisions.
Review of the 2008 Wood and Water Study
It’s important to understand how natural and human activity in forests impacts how much water we get from catchments, in order to inform forest and water resource management. A review of the 2008 Wood and Water study is now complete. This project has provided updated advice on the impact of timber harvesting on water yields.
The review was carried out by external hydrology, climate, forest and bushfire academics, along with specialist water resource consultants, and aimed to find out whether the 2008 findings remained valid.
The 2020 review found that the 2008 Wood and Water study still represents the most reliable estimates of the impacts of logging on water yields in Melbourne’s forested catchments.
Climate change and bushfires will affect future water yields in Melbourne’s forested catchments.
The 2008 Wood and Water study found that climate change has a much greater potential for impact than changed forest management regimes, and that relatively little additional water is to be gained in the short term if timber harvesting regimes were changed.
Victoria’s modernised Regional Forest Agreements recognise the impact of forest management on water supply, and recognise the need for this to be actively managed.
Page last updated: 25/06/21