Victoria's Great Forest Experience - Melbourne's New Playground
The Great Forests National Park proposal is a vision for a multi-tiered parks system for bush users and bush lovers alike. It is a Parks system that protects and maintains important ecosystem functions critical for our way of life. See the Park Plan.
The tallest flowering trees on Earth grow north-east of Melbourne. In their high canopies dwell owls, gliders and the tiny Leadbeater's (or Fairy) Possum. Victoria's precious and endangered faunal emblem lives only in these ash forests of the Central Highlands.
Montane ash forests flourish along the Great Divide receiving high rainfall. They harvest water from the air and provide most of Melbourne's drinking water. Research has shown these forests to be among the most carbon-dense forests on Earth due to their rapid growth and relatively slow rates of decay in the cool, wet climate.
The Park, stretching from Kinglake through to the Baw Baws and north-east up to Eildon, will host a range of activities such as bike riding, bushwalking, fishing, bird watching, four-wheel driving, motor biking, camping, zipline tours and much more.
The traditional owners of this country include the Bunurong (Boon Wurrung), Gunaikurnai, Taungurung (Daung warring) and Wurrundjeri indigenous Australians.
MX - Wrap for Melbourne
Sounds of a wild night in the forest
The sun is setting, slowly dipping the forest into darkness. Its weakening grasp on the day releases the cold air from its grip on the ground. Around you, the forest is singing a song about the passage of time, if only you know how to listen.
David Lindenmayer, from the Australian National University, is an ecologist and conservation biologist who has spent over 30 years studying the Mountain Ash Forest of Victoria.
‘There’s a little mixture of things that always want to have the last word. The Lyrebird is one and the Kookaburra is another and the Eastern Yellow Robin and the Pilot Bird are two others,’ he says.
‘The birds are calling less than in the morning, but still nevertheless calling, and they’re just confirming their territories before there's an extraordinary change in the light in this long dusk period,’ says Lindenmayer.
Then the possums and gliders come out. Then the nocturnal birds start their calls. Listen closely to hear the sounds of the evening shift change in the Mountain Ash Forests of Victoria in this episode of Off Track.
David Attenborough backs Great Forest National Park
Thirty environment, scientific and recreation groups call on Victorian politicians to support new park.
Sir David said in a written statement: “The maintenance of an intact ecological system is the only way to ensure the continued existence of biodiversity, safeguard water supplies and provide spiritual nourishment for ourselves and future generations. It is for these reasons, and for the survival of the critically endangered Leadbeater’s Possum, that I support the creation of the Great Forest National Park for Victoria.”
The 30 environment, conservation, recreation and scientific groups, representing more than 50,000 Victorians, today released a Joint Statement calling on all political parties and candidates contesting the November 2014 Victorian state election to clearly commit to the creation of the Great Forest National Park in the Yarra Ranges and Central Highlands on Melbourne’s north-eastern outskirts.
The groups, including the Australian Conservation Foundation, The Wilderness Society, the Victorian National Parks Association and the Royal Society of Victoria, also released new polling showing that 89 per cent of Victorians support the proposal for a new national park in the Yarra Ranges and Central Highlands.
The poll shows growing support for the park proposal from just last month when a poll showed 64 per cent of Victorians supported the creation of a national park in the Yarra Ranges and Central Highlands.
The Great Forest National Park will take in the Yarra Ranges and the Central Highlands, home to the world’s tallest flowering hardwood trees, the Mountain Ash (Eucalyptus regnans), with some almost 100 metres tall and the southern hemsiphere’s equivalent to the Californian Redwoods. Crucially, these forests are the only home of Victoria's faunal emblem, the endangered Leadbeater’s (Fairy) Possum.
The proposed Great Forest National Park will add 355,000 hectares to existing national parks and reserves. It will stretch from Kinglake, across the Yarra Ranges to Mt Baw Baw, and north to Lake Eildon, and will protect forests around the tourism hubs of Healesville and Warburton - see map in the Joint Statement.
“There is overwhelming support for national parks in the community – a new national park less than 90 minutes from Melbourne will protect forest dependent wildlife such as gliders, owls, parrots and bats, as well as Leadbeater’s Possum,” said Amelia Young, Victorian Campaigns Manager for The Wilderness Society.
“Sir David Attenborough’s support for the Great Forest National Park shows the global interest in the plight of Victoria’s animal emblem, the Leadbeater’s Possum.”
The Royal Society of Victoria is joining the calls for urgent action to save the State's faunal emblem, Leadbeater's Possum Gymnobelideus leadbeateri.
Society President, Dr Bill Birch AM states: "This is an issue that goes to the heart of The Royal Society's role in advocating for a scientific approach to the preservation of biodiversity in Victoria. The society strongly supports the establishment of a new National Park that preserves the required habitat for this critically endangered animal."
Spokesperson for Bushwalking Victoria and Bushwalking Australia, President Chris Towers, said: “The Great Forest National Park would provide a new place for Melburnians to enjoy recreation and respite around 90 minutes from the city.”
Sarah Rees, Director of Healesville-based group MyEnvironment: “The Great Forest National Park will generate new, sustainable, long-term employment. It will host a range of activities such as bike riding, bushwalking, bird watching, four wheel driving, camping and eco-tourism. It will deliver a suite of new economic opportunities for our communities.”
National Trust of Australia (Victoria) Chef Executive Martin Purslow: “These Mountain Ash forests include the largest trees on the Australian mainland and some of the largest in the world and should be protected for the future.”
Glen Klatovsky, National Director of Places You Love, an alliance of more than 40 environment groups, representing 1.5 million supporters from across Australia: “The biggest trees rival the size and stature of the Californian Redwoods. What is left of these forests must be safeguarded and restored in the Great Forest National Park.”
Australian Conservation Foundation’s Healthy Ecosystems Campaigner Jess Abrahams: “A commitment to create the Great Forest National Park is an opportunity for the Victorian Government to invest in the state’s future and show the world what first class park management looks like.”
Friends of Leadbeater’s Possum President Steve Meacher: “The state’s faunal emblem, Leadbeater’s possum, is critically endangered and the science is clear that the best way to prevent its extinction is to create the new national park, so we are calling for a commitment from all political parties and candidates to do it without delay.”
Yarra Riverkeepers spokesperson Ian Penrose: “The forested catchments supply more than 90 per cent of Melbourne’s drinking water. The Great Forest National Park will secure Melbourne’s domestic water supply catchments as well as the headwaters of the Goulburn and Broken rivers.”
Environment Victoria Chief Executive Mark Wakeham:“These forests have significant carbon value that will be protected if logging ceases. There is potential for a Forest Carbon Project to secure the environmental and economic benefit of the rich carbon value of these forests.”
Matt Ruchel, Victorian National Parks Association Executive Director: “Victorians love national parks, our surveys found 89% of Victorians support a comprehensive network of national parks and other conservation reserves across land and sea, and 96% recognise the importance of national parks for conserving nature and protecting native wildlife - now we need a new one in the Central Highlands.”
More than 30 international, national, local environment, recreation and scientific groups have signed the Joint Statement. Read the full Joint Statement and list of groups here.
the sounds of a tall forest
David Lindenmayer Ash Forests & Leadbeater's Possum
places and wildlife
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The maintenance of an intact ecological system is the only way to ensure the continued existence of biodiversity, safeguard water supplies and provide spiritual nourishment for ourselves and future generations. It is for these reasons, and for the survival of the critically endangered Leadbeater’s Possum, that I support the creation of the Great Forest National Park for Victoria. Sir David Attenborough
Over thousands of years, nature has provided the resources that have helped us to survive and flourish. Now, in a time of need, we must help nature to survive. The Great Forest National Park is a project to secure the future of a threatened ecosystem. If we act now, we will be ensuring the forest can continue to provide services that support us- clean water, fresh air and storage of carbon. If we fail now, what future will we have chosen for our grandchildren and their grandchildren? Please join me in supporting the creation of the Great Forest National Park.
Victorian state emblem Leadbeater's possum pushed closer to extinction
Tom Arup - The Age
Sir David Attenborough pleads for national park to save Leadbeater’s possum
James Campbell - HERALD SUN
David Attenborough and Jane Goodall join the fight to create a new national park in Victoria
Ollie Milman - The Guardian
The battle to save the Leadbeater’s possum from logging
Michelle Slater - The Saturday Paper
SUNDAY AGE : Royal Champions Back the Park
Tom Arup - The Age
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The Great Forests National Park is an investment for the long-term because it will secure Melbourne's domestic water supply catchments, a suite of new economic opportunities for the region will roll-out, and the state's faunal emblem, the Leadbeater's Possum, among others, will be brought back from the brink of extinction.
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