Otway Ranges Environment Network



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Nomination 100: Loss of hollow-bearing trees from Victorian native forests as a threatening process.

The following is an extract from nomination 100, the final recommendation for listing of this threatening process into the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act.

Nomination 100

Description of process:

Evidence was provided that tree hollows tend to occur in mature, senescent, and dead trees. The minimum age at which sizable hollows begin to form depends on the tree species; ages of 120 years, 144-194 years and 300-400 years have been cited.

Practices which lead to loss of hollow bearing trees are:

1. Logging and associated operations which can remove and damage trees with hollows and leave insufficient younger trees to replace losses due to natural mortality and to ensure a continuing supply of hollows.

Logging operations will remove trees well before they reach the age when hollows form; the Timber Industry Strategy recommends 80-150 years rotation.

Impact on species:

Hollow-bearing trees are an essential habitat requirement for many arboreal mammal and bird species. If this habitat requirement is not satisfied, then the dependent species decline or disappear. Surveys by (Smith and Lindenmayer 1988) have provided evidence of declining numbers of hollow-dependent fauna species in areas where hollow-bearing trees are declining or have been removed, and also an increase in numbers of possums and gliders with increasing number of hollows.

Clear evidence was presented that the process is operating in all forest types, including in the Central Highlands, open woodlands of the north and west, and the forests of the Otways and South and East Gippsland.

Loss of hollow-bearing trees leads to fragmentation of habitats.


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