The value in Victoria's Central Highlands

Date: 01, Aug, 2017
Author(s):   David Lindenmayer, Heather Keith, Michael Vardon
Publisher: TSR Hub

The Victorian Central Highlands is a diverse region with towns, agricultural land, forests and waterways. It contains the major catchment areas for water supply to Melbourne and surrounding regions. Other land use activities include agriculture, tourism and timber production. The use of forest land for native timber production falls under the Central Highlands Regional Forest Agreement due for renegotiation in 2018. The Regional Forest Agreement is a 20 year agreement made between the Victorian Government and Commonwealth Government that outlines their obligations and commitments for forest management. There are strong and conflicting attitudes among stakeholders and the community towards the logging of native timber. Stakeholders in the native timber industry have called for an expansion and certainty of wood supply allocated for native timber harvesting. In contrast, the environmental and tourism sections have called for an expansion of the national park network, proposed as the Great Forest Reserve System. Managing the various land use activities within the region is complex due to conflicting land use activities. Not all land uses supported by the community are mutually compatible, and the Victorian Government therefore needs to make informed evidence-based decisions by evaluating the benefits and trade-offs of different land uses.