Protecting the Forests

The forests being logged to make paper products like Reflex are proposed for protection in the Great Forest National Park.

Just 90 minutes north-east of Melbourne, stretching from Kinglake to Mt Baw Baw and north-east up to Eildon, the Great Forest National Park will protect endangered forests and wildlife while giving Melburnians an escape from the concrete jungle.

The Great Forest National Park proposal will add 355,000 hectares of protected forests to the existing 170,000 hectares of parks and protected areas in the Central Highlands of Victoria. Learn why the Great Forest National Park is important scientifically, socially and economically.

This is a park for people: The Great Forest National Park will be a perfect weekend getaway; a place to relax and enjoy nature. There will be something for everyone, with activities such as bike riding, bushwalking, bird watching, four-wheel driving, camping, zipline tours and so much more. Download the Wilderness Society’s free self drive tour map of Toolangi’s amazing forests.

A fairytale ending: Home to threatened species, including Victoria’s endangered animal emblem, the Fairy Possum, the proposed park will also be a sanctuary, providing real and lasting protection to some of Victoria’s – and the world’s – rarest plant and animal species. With fewer than 1,500 Fairy Possums remaining in the wild, only the Great Forest National Park can deliver a fairytale ending for this gorgeous animal.

The Threat

With logging still occurring in this area, the Fairy Possum’s habitat is in fast decline. Clearfell logging comprehensively changes the structure of a forest for more than 200 years. The beautiful Mountain Ash trees are still being dragged away to be used for paper pulp, leading to a crisis in the number of large trees in the landscape – trees old enough to form the hollows which Fairy Possums call home.

Let’s make Australian Paper a company all Australians can be proud of

Unfortunately Australian Paper produces copy paper – including flagship brand Reflex Ultra White – using wood from Victoria’s native forests. These papers are made artificially cheaper by government subsidises – your taxpayer dollars being used to log native forests!

However, copy paper like Reflex Ultra White could be produced using wood from existing plantations in Victoria. There is already enough plantation wood available to completely substitute Australian Paper’s native forest wood allocation.

The solution is to produce Reflex paper using plantation wood from the ‘Green Triangle’ in Western Victoria. There is even existing freight rail lines between the plantation resource and the mill that makes Reflex.

The Maryvale paper mill is an important employer for the Central Gippsland region. By using plantation wood and increasing the use of recycled fibre, the mill can continue to operate without destroying our native forests.

There is no need to buy office papers sourced from native forests that destroy forests in Australia or overseas. Australian Paper must shift out of native forests and make products everyone can be proud of.

Carbon in forests and solving climate change

The majority of biomass carbon in natural forests resides in the woody biomass of large, old trees. Industrial logging changes the age structure of forests so that fewer older and more younger trees are present. The result is a significant (>40%) reduction in the long term average standing stock of biomass carbon.

The Mountain Ash forest stores more carbon than almost any other forest on Earth. This makes Victoria’s Ash forests some of the most carbon dense on the planet.

Under the Federal Government’s Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF), ceasing logging in the forests proposed for inclusion in the Great Forest National Park could result in a carbon offset value of between $30million and $40million per annum for Victoria.

FSC

Forest Stewardship Council certification is still the best way for consumers to know they are not buying wood that is destroying Victoria’s native forests.

FSC isn’t perfect, but it means communities and the environment have an equal say in how our forests are protected and managed.