The Victorian Forest Monitoring Program (VFMP) is a statewide forest monitoring information system that has been developed to "assess and monitor the extent, state and sustainable development of Victorian forests in a timely and accurate manner". It provides baseline data for long term trend detection and prediction of type and severity of future changes, so that management options can be developed and evaluated in time to be effective.
The VFMP provides a platform to meet statutory reporting obligations, support forest policy and management decisions and assess Victoria's performance towards sustainable forest management.
DELWP produces a State of the Forests Report every five years as part of its obligations under the Sustainable Forests (Timber) Act 2004. The Victorian State of the Forests Report is used to assess progress towards sustainable forest management according to the Criteria and Indicators for Sustainable Forest Management in Victoria.
Read the State of the Forests Report.
To meet these requirements and information needs it is imperative that the VFMP provide monitoring results that are defensible, transparent and repeatable.
To achieve this DELWP is undertaking a range of monitoring activities across public forests and parks. Known collectively as the VFMP, this approach represents a significant advance in the way we monitor public forests and parks in Victoria.
VFMP is Australia's most comprehensive state wide public land monitoring system, and is now collecting widespread and consistent information about Victoria's forests by assessing and monitoring change in the extent, state and sustainable management of Victoria's forests and parks in a timely and accurate manner.
To date, 649 ground plots have been installed and measured by trained forest measurement specialists and botanists. In October 2015 the 5 year re-measurement cycle of these ground plots commenced.
The data and information generated through VFMP is used to improve land management policy and decision making. It supports State and national reporting according to the Criteria and Indicators for Sustainable Forest Management in Victoria, through the 2013 and future Victorian State of the Forests Reports.
How the VFMP works
The VFMP utilises a network of permanent ground plots located right across Victoria's public forests and parks, together with detailed aerial photography and satellite imagery. Together these provide a set of basic attributes (including forest structure, species diversity, canopy condition and soil characteristics) that are used to derive indicators of sustainability and measure changes in the extent, state and condition of our forests.
Changes in forest structure and composition affect a wide range of resource properties and processes such as habitat quality, biodiversity, the hydrological cycle and carbon storage. The VFMP monitors plant species distribution within overstorey and understorey layers, as well as shifts in tree species distribution at large spatial and slow temporal scales.
The design of the plot network is based on systematic stratified sampling, comprising the Interim Biogeographic Regionalisation for Australia (IBRA) bioregions and Crown land category (parks and reserves, and State forest). The complete VFMP ground plot network comprises a total of 786 field plots.
The detailed information gathered through the VFMP approach will ultimately improve our evidence-based decision making and policy development across a range of issues, including:
- Fire and flood impacts
- Habitat protection
- Carbon accounting
- Forest productivity
- Forest health and biodiversity