Media Releases | 30th Nov, 2021

‘Woodchips and weeds’: new report reveals “systemic and widespread” failure to regrow Victoria’s forests after logging

Victorian government agency VicForests is failing to regrow the state’s native forests, with a third of coupes failing to regrow after logging, a new report co-published today by 19 Victorian environment groups* reveals.

The damning new report, based on data obtained under Freedom of Information laws, has exposed for the first time how Victoria’s state logging agency is failing to regrow forests despite its claims to be doing so.

The new report After the Logging finds:

  • A third of logging coupes are failing to regenerate within three years, double the amount VicForests publicly claims.
  • In Mountain Ash forests, half of logging coupes are failing to regenerate within three years.
  • Even logging coupes that have passed the test for successful regeneration are failing to grow into forests. Ground checks and drone footage reveal some forests have been turned into weed-infested wastelands of blackberry and bracken, and others into thickets of wattle not eucalypts.

Report author Margaret Blakers OAM said: “This is the first external assessment of whether Victorian forests are actually being regrown as the state logging agency claims, and the results point to systemic and widespread failure.

“The Victorian and federal governments promised to regrow all native forests back to the same state after logging, but this new evidence shows that’s simply not the case.

“Nearly one in three logged forest areas are failing to regenerate within three years, which is twice the failure rate acknowledged by state logging agency VicForests. For the prized Mountain Ash forests, half of logging coupes are failing to regrow within three years.

“Even areas handed back to the State as successfully regenerated are not growing into forests. We documented areas that were magnificent forests a decade ago but have been turned into blackberry patches, weed-infested wastelands or thickets of bracken and wattles instead of eucalypts.

“The consequences of this systemic and widespread failure to regrow Victorian forests include the destruction of habitat for threatened wildlife species, less carbon stored in forests, reduced long-term water supply and increased chance of local ecological collapse.

“VicForests is the state-owned logging agency but this research reveals they are simply prosecuting a commercial agenda and have been given too much power with little regard for the future of Victoria’s forests.

“VicForests decides when, where and how logging happens with minimal oversight and no accountability.

“VicForests is already defending nine separate community-initiated court cases, and this new revelation removes the last shred of their social licence to operate.

“We’re calling on the Andrews government to abolish VicForests and replace it with a new independent authority to manage the transition out of native forest logging. This transition needs to be brought forward urgently, as it has been in Western Australia where all native forest logging will cease in 2023.

“Victorians cherish their beautiful native forests and want to see them looked after. To find out that these forests aren’t being grown back after logging is a complete betrayal of the trust we have placed in government agencies.”

Download the report

*Environment groups co-publishing the report include:

Alberton West Friends of the Forest, BEAM Mitchell Environment Group, Environment East Gippsland, Environment Victoria, Friends of Bats and Habitat Gippsland, Friends of the Earth – Forest Collective, Friends of Leadbeaters Possum, Friends of Noojees Trees, Gippsland Environment Group, Goongerah Environment Centre, The Great Tree Project, Kinglake Friends of the Forest, Lawyers for Forests, Newlands Friends of the Forest, Rubicon Forest Protection Group, Toolangi Forest Protection Group, Victorian National Parks Association, Warburton Environment, Wildlife of the Central Highlands

Media contact

James Norman, Media and Content Manager

Ph: 0451291775