The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning has completed a risk assessment for threatened species and communities potentially affected by forestry operations across Victoria’s 5 Regional Forest Agreement (RFAs) regions. This is a new requirement in Victoria’s modernised RFAs which were amended in March 2020 to include new mechanisms for strengthened environmental protections.
In 2020, risks were assessed for 79 items, including 70 threatened species and nine threatened ecological communities. The risk assessment has supported the identification of interim measures to protect threatened species and communities from hazards posing significant or high risks in the short-term.
Interim protections for delivery in 2021-22
Species and communities with significant or high risks were prioritised for interim action through spatial analysis, literature review, interviews with scientific experts and updates from scientists conducting field reconnaissance following the 2019-20 bushfires. This additional assessment identified 32 species and communities at the greatest risk of serious or irreversible environmental damage in the short term.
The 2019-20 bushfires had a major impact on our natural environment and the Victorian Government is committed to supporting biodiversity recovery across Victoria, including in our State forests. The majority of measures target action within fire-affected regions, ensuring species and communities impacted by bushfire are able to recover.
These measures are based on the latest scientific evidence about the steps necessary to prevent the risk of serious or irreversible harm to these 32 threatened species and communities over the short term, and will be complemented by the next stage of the risk assessment process which involves assessing whether or not any permanent protections are necessary over the longer term.
This work builds upon existing protections for our forest-dependent threatened species and communities. It supports the Victorian forest management system to deliver on key objectives of the RFAs: the conservation and recovery of threatened species and communities and the ecologically sustainable management of Victoria’s forests.
The report on interim protections is available below.
3 independent scientists, including 2 serving members of the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Scientific Advisory Committee, conducted a review of the methods used in the 2020 risk assessment.
These reviews indicated that the approach and methodologies applied were appropriate to inform whether interim protections and management should be undertaken, that the methods represented a standard and appropriate approach to risk assessment and consideration of mitigation options.
The assessors included personnel with vast experience and knowledge of most of the listed species and communities. Improvements identified by the independent reviewers will be incorporated in future work as far as possible.
The independent experts were:
- John Woinarski – Professor, Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods (Charles Darwin University)
- Matt Dell – Senior Consultant Botanist, Dell Botany; and member of Victorian Scientific Advisory Committee
- Michelle Casanova – Principal, Charophyte Services; Research Associate, New York Botanical Gardens; Research Associate, Natural History Museum (London); Research Associate, Royal Botanical Gardens (Melbourne); Deputy Chair, Glenelg Hopkins CMA; and convenor of Victorian Scientific Advisory Committee
More information on the RFA's is available at the Victorian Regional Forest Agreements page.
Page last updated: 04/05/21