Our 27th September public meeting at the Balwyn Park Centre was a standing room only event.
Speakers slide sets are available:
- View Professor David Lindenmayer’s slideset here
- View Sue McKinnon’s slideset here
- View Aawa White’s slideset here
Our forests need us.
We cannot let the Victorian State Government’s mid year announcement that logging will end at the end of 2023 lead us to complacency. The consequences of logging will be with our communities for many years. Our forest ecosystems will require the concerted actions of scientists and citizen scientists to redress the wrongs of many decades.
There are positive actions we can take.
- Support the Greater Glider recovery project with ANU. Help provide fire resistant, insulated nest boxes where Greater Gliders need them most. More details below.
- Hollow bearing Tree Challenge – contribute valuable citizen science data about hollow bearing trees. More details below, and link to an easy A4 instruction sheet here!
Throughout the whole event, David, Sue and Aawa provided the audience with new knowledge of what has been happening and practical opportunities to support a future for forests and their inhabitants.
Scientific research and citizen scientists capturing data and mounting arguments against state instrumentalities in the courts have made a difference and altered the course of history where forests are concerned.
Professor David Lindenmayer
Key Science Insights
Professor David Lindenmayer’s critical insights:
- Recurrent fire and logging have resulted in a 77% loss of old growth since 1995.
- Fire sizes and occurrences are increasing in certain areas, with climate being a pivotal driver of fire.
- Logged forests consistently burn with higher severity and can pose a greater fire risk compared to unlogged forests even under moderate weather conditions.
- Approaches such as hazard reduction, burning and thinning have yielded mixed results and, in some cases, exacerbate fire severity.
Hazard Reduction Burning
- The key is quality not quantity
- Should be focused on less than 1 km from infrastructure – not in remote areas
- Done every few years
- Distant burning to hit targets has limited effectiveness and does not always work. For example, Marysville.
- It’s wrong to say “if only we had done more hazard reduction burning” with regards to risk reduction (especially under extreme conditions)
- Regrow the old growth estate
- Regrow forest in areas where regeneration has failed
- Restore the natural fire regime – which means limiting fire in tall, wet forests and Gondwanic rainforests
- Focus hazard reduction burning where it matters
- Recover populations of key and iconic species
Research by Professor Phil Zylstra shows that the forest’s naturally self-thinning understory can reduce fire risk even amid climate change.
Voices from Citizen Scientists
Sue McKinnon and Aawa White of Kinglake Friends of the Forest shared the reality and triumphant moments of citizen science in the Toolangi Forest.
Sue discussed the vital role that on-the-ground activism and hard evidence played in building a legal case against VicForests.
Aawa spoke of her deep-rooted commitment and love for the forests and the need to document what is being lost.
The documentation can then be used to mount cases in courts. It requires training community members to be able to carry out citizen scientist data collection. That data is vital to build cases to challenge the government departments that do not uphold the principles of sustainable development.
Aawa has developed training guides for citizen scientists. Aawa led our Lighter Fooptrints / ACF Boroondara Citizen Science training session in May and our Family Forest Spotlighting event on 17 September. We anticipate repeating these events in 2024.
Actions we can take right now!
1) The Greater Glider Nest Box project with ANU
Hollow -bearing trees essential for shelter and nesting have been lost with our old growth trees and forests, and can take 170 years to form in regenerating trees. We don’t have time to wait.
To combat this loss, ANU has initiated the Greater Glider recovery project that will support populations of greater gliders by deploying purpose-built, well insulated, fire retarding nest boxes and artificial hollows at nesting sites where greater glider populations require support to recover.
This conservation program will be research-based, with a focus on data collection within a statistically robust framework. It will also involve long-term monitoring and community engagement, including involvement with First Nations people.
Be part of the Greater Glider recovery project!
You can support the ANU project and be part of science-driven initiatives toward forest restoration and recovery by visiting the project’s website.
2) Citizen Science – take the Hollow-bearing Tree Challenge
- Download the iNaturalist App on your phone – Google Play, Apple Store
- Pack a picnic lunch and head to one of these locations next to a planned burn area (find out more on Aawa White’s A4 instruction sheet here)
- Take a walk and take pictures of one or more hollow bearing trees within the planned burn area
- Upload your pictures to the iNaturalist app
- (Final step) Send your detections to Forest Fire Management Victoria – instructions on the sheet (in easy to read/download A4 format).