Otway Ranges Environment Network



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Otway Old Growth Forest

Most of the wet forests of the Otways have been logged since European settlement, and therefor aren't "old growth" forests. (Though much of the Otways that has been logged was logged selectively in the first half of last century and is now biodiverse native forest.)

Only two large wet forest areas have been identified as having not been disturbed, and could be classified "old growth". These are the Big Trees reserve (220 ha) in the West Barham catchment and the Olangolah flora and fauna reserve (1490 ha) which is over 150 years old.

Old Growth Forest west of Sabine Falls to be logged.
John Piesse.

A large proportion of wet forests in the Otways are not protected and will never have the chance to become old growth forest. See more information about logging of wet forests.

Despite past selective logging regimes, many areas in the Otways contain high stand densities of veteran trees. Veteran trees are pre-European in age and were left behind by past selective logging operations and wild fires. These trees provide old growth values despite past disturbance.

The definition of old growth forest adopted by Forestry Victoria and the West RFA process is contentious and has not been accepted by a large proportion of the scientific community.

The narrow definition of old growth forest nominated by Forestry Victoria requires an area to be untouched by Europeans. Forest with a high stand density of veteran trees is not regarded as old growth forest. Instead Forestry Victoria call veteran trees "over mature". The concept "over mature" is a commercial timber perspective, but from a ecological perspective these trees are likely to be ideal habitat trees for hollow dependent species.


Old growth forest, Ciancio creek, Wait-a-while road.

Old growth forest, Ciancio creek, Wait-a-while road.


Relevant Links

See more information about Hollow Bearing Trees.

See more information about logging of wet forests.


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