Victoria's forests must be managed effectively to preserve our environment for future generations and to demonstrate respect for the traditional ownership of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
1. Victoria's forests must be managed in accordance with the principles of intergenerational equity, the precautionary principle, biodiversity conservation and respect for the traditional ownership of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
2. Victoria's public native forests have inestimable value for climate management, water supply and biodiversity, and as places for recreation and appreciation. They should be protected and managed primarily for these purposes.
3. Ecological principles and scientifically robust information should guide forest management.
4. Investment in forest protection, restoration and management should be increased substantially, as part of a broader commitment to reversing the species extinction crisis and expanding jobs and economies in regional Victoria.
5. Only plantation grown wood can be classified as renewable.
6. Achievement of best practice plantation management throughout Victoria to minimize adverse impacts on local communities and local biodiversity, air, soil and water quality.
7. Forest plantations can be used to meet our entire domestic and export markets and to produce a range of value-added products.
The Australian Greens Victoria will work towards:
- A wood-production industry plan that will complete the transition from native forests to existing plantations, including appropriate transition arrangements (maximum 5 years) to the use of plantation and recycled timbers only, and re-training and other assistance for workers and affected communities.
- Initial priorities in the transition process to solely plantation-sourced timber to be;
a. an end to all clearfelling in native forests;
b. a ban on the use of native forest wood for generating electricity;
c. an end to the export of woodchips and whole logs from native forests;
d. ending logging in high-conservation value forests and town water catchments; and
e. an end to intensive management for industrial-scale logging.
- Reform of Victorian government departments and agencies to ensure greater focus on protecting Victoria’s natural assets.
- Advocacy at the national level for carbon stored in native forests and other natural ecosystems to be fully included in greenhouse accounts, and for policies that will maintain and restore natural ecosystems to their long term carbon carrying capacity as a major carbon pollution mitigation strategy.
- Replacement of the Regional Forest Agreements with Commonwealth-State Forest Biodiversity and Climate Agreements, linked to substantial funding for carbon pollution reduction.
- The management of re-growth forest to an old growth state to maximise biodiversity, carbon uptake and water yield, which are more valuable outcomes than logging.
- Removal of plantations from town water catchments or other environmentally inappropriate places, restoring the land back to native forests or farmland after completion of the first cutting cycle.
- Funding of detailed research into the effects of fire on ecosystems and the increased fire risk to forests.
- To ensure prescribed burns follow recent scientific research outcomes and focus primarily on protecting assets such as around towns.
- The revegetation of land (including salt affected land) with biodiverse native vegetation which can provide carbon sinks, hydrological management and biodiversity restoration.
- Nomination of the best of Victoria’s forests for World Heritage listing (such as the VIC / NSW connected alpine forests).
- The development of sustainable alternative fibre industries.
- A sustainable and productive wood products industry on public and private land that maintains or enhances the resilience of natural ecosystems and that creates long-term skilled jobs and social sustainability in regional communities.
- World’s best practice, FSC-certified, farm-scale species-diverse plantation forestry, including a ban on genetically modified tree species.
- To ensure forest certification schemes are rigorously defined to prevent ‘greenwash’.
- A ban on the use by any government department or agency of any uncertified or AFS / PEFC certified wood products.
- A ban on the sale of illegally logged wood products, both imported and domestic.
- To ensure that remaining small-scale and localised timber-getting operates within strict ecological limits.
- Support for creation of high value products (e.g. furniture) to occur in addition to production of lower value commodities (woodchips, palings, sleepers and fence posts, etc).
- An end to MIS schemes for timber and oppose tax-driven carbon plantations.