Gippsland Forests and Biodiversity

Biodiversity and the United Nations
In 2009, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 22 April as International Mother Earth Day. In so doing, Member States acknowledged that the Earth and its ecosystems are our common home, and expressed their conviction that it is necessary to promote Harmony with Nature to achieve a just balance among  economic, social and environmental needs of present and future generations. The same year, the General Assembly adopted its first resolution on Harmony with Nature.
The General Assembly has widely acknowledged that the world’s depletion of natural resources and rapid environmental degradation are the result of unsustainable consumption and production patterns which have led to adverse consequences for both the Earth and the health and overall well-being of humanity. The scientific community has well documented evidence that our present way of life, in particular our consumption and production patterns, has severely affected the Earth’s carrying capacity.
Loss of biodiversity, desertification, climate change and the disruption of a number of natural cycles are among the costs of our disregard for Nature and the integrity of its ecosystems and life-supporting processes.

Sustainable Development Goal 15 
Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss

There are 127 RCE’s under the auspices of the United Nations worldwide, with four  in Australia. Gippsland RCE was formed in December 2011 and consists of representatives from state and local government, ResourceSmart, primary, secondary and tertiary schools and members of the community. The majority of RCE’s are linked to a University.

Biodiversity and the Australian Government – State of the Environment Report 2016
Every 5 years, the Australian Government commissions an independent review of the state of the environment to
*provide Australians with authoritative information on the state of the environment that sustains our economy and wellbeing
*provide the Australian public, Australian Government and decision-makers responsible for managing our environment with an assessment of how effectively the Australian environment is being managed and what key national environmental issues are.

The Report Found That
The value of Australia’s biodiversity is a key part of Australia’s national identity, and for the welfare of Indigenous Australians. It is important to services that support human health and wellbeing, and economically important to a wide range of industries (e.g. tourism, agriculture, pharmaceuticals).
The report demonstrates that Australia’s biodiversity is under increased threat and has, overall, continued to decline.

A Guardian article on 6/3/2018 titled “Australia has 1800 threatened species but has not listed critical habitat in 19 years and only five have been put on critical habitat register

Biodiversity Education in Victoria

Biodiversity is the name of a core module in the Victorian government’s Sustainability Victoria’s ResourceSmart program. There are 70 schools in Gippsland connected to this program. ResourceSmart Schools works with school to reduce energy, water consumption and waste generation and also increase the biodiversity and habitat available to indigenous species in schools. The program aims to get schools involved in their local natural environment by undertaking biodiversity audits and then working within their school and local community to increase habitat and biodiversity. Schools work on a range of programs and with partners including Landcare. ResourceSmart schools delivers training to local teachers to assist them in the areas of curriculum, infrastructure and the wider community. ResourceSmart schools delivers training to local teachers to assist them in the areas of curriculum, infrastructure and the wider community.

One of the items on the ResourceSmart checklist asks “Does your school liaise with political representatives from local, state and federal governments, local business and local ‘friends of’ groups for support of projects?” (see some of these groups and contacts listed below)

Sustainability is one of three Cross-curriculum Priorities that provide national, regional and global dimensions and give students the knowledge and skills to engage with and better understand their world. Sustainability is embedded in the curriculum areas of the Victorian Curriculum F–10.

Biodiversity and Forests in Gippsland 

It has been apparent during the several RCE Gippsland Sustainable Schools Expos, in the take up of ResourceSmart, and Fed Uni research that biodiversity is of importance in modern Gippsland education.

Recent enquiries have revealed several areas in Gippsland where residents are concerned about loss of habitat and biodiversity in particular in Noojee, Mirboo North, Strzelecki cores and links and Goongerah.

Friends of Drouin’s Trees is a group that has been working within Baw Baw Shire for several years and in 2017 on Australia Day, received the Baw Baw Shire’s Community Contribution: Environmental Achievement award.  Also on Australia Day, the ‘CEO’ of the Friends of Drouin’s Trees, Judy Farmer, had her work in many fields, including the Friends of Drouin’s Trees, recognised with the Shire’s Citizen of the Year award. Judy’s passion and dedication are indefatigable and her work ethic is unflagging, (unlike many of those of us who try to keep up).

Contact details of Gippsland groups working to protect forests and biodiversity who have done valuable research and would be happy to share information .

Mirboo North – Preserve our Forests Campaign Mirboo North and District. This group has done valuable research on flora and fauna in the area.

P.o.F. Chair –  Marg Thomas – email:,  Mob.: 0408 319 397

Noojee Friends of Noojee’s Trees Karen Sullivan organised a peaceful picnic in the  Ralph Cornwall Picnic area at Noojee to celebrate the beautiful place  on Sunday 11th March 2018 at 12 noon! BYO everything.

This group has collected information on the greater glider

Goongerah –

Ed Hill – 0414 199 645 

Geco Environment Centre:

East Gippsland’s Emerald Link:

Environment East Gippsland

General enquires: email us at
(link sends e-mail)
Write to:
Locked Bag 3
ORBOST Vic 38Phone (03) 5154 0145

Strzelecki Cores and Links

The new 2,390 hectare reserve will protect important areas of Cool Temperate Rainforest and Damp Forest has a new name – Brataualung Forest Park. It will provide habitat for significant species including Slender Tree-fern, Koala, Powerful Owl and Strzelecki Burrowing Crayfish. The community has been advocating for the increase in conservation reserves in the Stzrelecki Ranges since the mid 1990s. The area is part of Brataualung Country of the Gunaikurnai people. Community groups could assist with plantings in the links areas.
The region has over 200 plant and 107 animal species, many of which are classified as being rare and threatened.Dr Wendy Wright, Dr Fiona Hogan and Assoc Prof Jenny Mosse worked with PhD candidate Ms Faye Wedrowicz on a study of the Strzelecki koala, using genetic analysis of DNA sourced from koala scats to assess the population’s health and conservation importance of this population. Further information
Dr Wendy Wright

Friends of Gunyah Rainforest Reserve

 Brataualung Forest Park
Nine people attended Middels in Drouin on 9th October 2018 – an RCE Gippsland event
Ryan Incoll of DELWP spoke about the 20 year process of community action to get the Brataualung Forest Park gazetted as the first part of the roll out of the Strzelecki Cores and Links agreement with HPV (Hancock Victoria Plantations) that is to be completed by 2028.
Victorian governments over the years handled the complex issues of the Strzelecki forests in a variety of ways. Finally, the Kennett government in 1998 leased regenerated native forest logging coupes as plantation to Hancocks Victorian Plantations and gave them tens of thousands of hectares to manage. According to their current web site they have 82,00ha of plantation and 33,000ha of custodial forest to manage. HVP is a Melbourne-based company owned by Australian, Canadian and US super and investment companies.
The public wanted these areas in a national park back in 1998 and asked for Cores and Links to be reserved as an urgent priority in 2002. Cores are four areas with key native vegetation joined by corridors of land or links that are covered by mixed plantation and native vegetation. Urgent has ended up being 2028 when the remaining area of the 8000 ha will have been handed back and some areas will have been logged.
Progress over the last few years, achieved with much community contribution includes
*Early handback of areas from HVP Plantations to public management of the 2,390 ha Forest Park. *Launch of this park by the Minister at the community event on 14 July 2018. *Naming the Forest Park as Brataualung in recognition of the Traditional Owners of the land. *Improved protection and management of the Forest Park with new regulations. *Special protection Zone resulting in protections for flora, fauna and waterways in the reserves. *A Victorian Environment Assessment Council investigation will provide recommendations on the long-term protection for the land and consider the aspiration for a national park. *Launch of DELWP website for the Forest Park and maps of the area

Both Brataualung Forest Park and Gunyah Rainforest Reserve are reserves currently with limited visitor infrastructure and access, so, in practical terms, applying the regulations may not result in a significant change in the way the reserves are currently used for nature conservancy. There is limited or no public access to these areas for recreational activities such as horse riding, hunting, fishing and camping and no change to the public roads that currently provide access to the reserves, which are outside them.
Timber harvesting is already not permitted anywhere in the Brataualung Forest Park as it is Special Protection Zone as part of the forest management zoning process.

Tad Golian, who has Polish ancestry, spoke about his in-depth research of the explorer Strzelecki’s tracks and his creation of a self-guided tour based on this using GPS and a phone app. So many features around Gippsland bear Strzelecki’s name it is interesting to know the person behind the name. The tour promoted by Tad could add to interest in the region and ultimately increase enthusiasm for tourism and jobs in the area other than those related to logging of forests.

Friends of Agnes Falls –
Friends of Tarra Bulga National Park
Tarra Bulga National Park is at one end of the Cores and Links
Walking Tracks

Drouin – Friends of Drouin’s TreesThis group has notched up many successes in looking after its urban forest, and would be happy to share them, but still has much to learn. Guest speakers available and also the Drouin Trees Walk booklet.