DELWP has started a comprehensive pre-harvest survey program to detect threatened species within coupes planned to be harvested in States forests in Gippsland, the Central Highlands and Hume. The program will be supported by threatened species surveys across the landscape, including in national parks, conservation areas and reserves in State forests.
The pre-harvest survey program will deliver better protection for threatened species and improve the quality of data for planning of timber harvesting operations. Values found through the pre-harvest survey program will trigger management actions as required under the Code of Practice for Timber Production 2014.
The pre-harvest survey program does not replace the need for VicForests to undertake its own assessment of biodiversity values prior to harvesting.
The combination of pre-harvest surveys and threatened species surveys undertaken across the landscape will build a knowledge bank to inform forest management planning decisions, and significantly improve environmental protections and outcomes for threatened species management.
It will build on existing protections for threatened species, and will ensure the right measures are in place to protect our valuable plants and animals.
The data generated from these survey programs will help us better understand the habitat of threatened species, where they are located across the landscape, which will improve our ability to model threatened species distribution.
The survey results will also be used to improve DELWP’s forest management systems, including forest management plans and regulatory frameworks.
The Victorian Government’s pre-harvest surveys program is funded as part of the State Budget 2018-19.
The survey design will be tested and improved as the surveys are implemented.
Independent scientific advice will ensure the design meets rigorous scientific standards.
Survey outcomes will be made publicly available through this website as survey outcomes become available.
Program update: July 2018
The Pre-harvest Survey Program commenced surveying in July 2018, with surveys currently being undertaken for Spot-tailed Quolls in the Baw Baw and Noojee areas.
Surveys have also started for over 25 threatened plant species, including five Grevillea species, which will continue in the Central Highlands and East Gippsland Forest Management Areas over the next few months.
Why start with Spot-tailed Quolls?
Spot-tailed Quolls are being targeted because the male quolls are active in winter.
Some plant species, such as perennial shrubs are also best identified in winter, making it an optimal time to survey for these now.
The cold and wet winter weather prevents access to many areas, especially up in the mountains, however planning is well under way to start surveying for threatened plants and animals in these areas as soon as the winter weather is over.
What about the Greater Glider and Leadbeater’s Possum?
Surveying for tree-dwelling mammals is inhibited by winter weather conditions. Many species are not active when it is windy, foggy or wet as occurs in winter conditions.
Planning is well underway for surveying amphibious species such as frogs in spring and autumn.
Planning is also under way for surveying of aquatic species such as crayfish and fish which are best surveyed for when stream flows are low and water clarity is high, which is in summer.
Who does the surveys?
Surveys are currently being conducted by specialist botanists and fauna experts from the Arthur Rylah Institute.
Surveys will also be undertaken by experts from specialist environmental survey companies in the future.