A LOOK BACK IN THE WANGARATTA CHRONICLE ARCHIVES
Reviving our bushfire ravaged forest areas
THE Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) and VicForests has made significant progress in the regeneration of forest areas burnt out last summer during the Great Divide Fires.
Following helicopter seeding operations in July this year with Alpine Ash, both organisations have, under the Bushfire Recovery Program, embarked on a planting program in fire impacted areas of the North East that were deemed unsuitable for aerial sowing.
“Unlike many species of eucalypt, Alpine Ash is easily killed by fire and only regenerated by seed following a fire,” said Mansfield DSE silviculture officer, Rod Hawksworth.
“The Alpine Ash seed does not begin to form until after about 17 years so immature stands in fire impacted areas are unable to regenerate in the same way as mature stands.
“Typically occurring between 900 and 1400 metres above sea level, on well drained rocky slopes and deep valleys, planting Alpine Ash was always going to be a challenge.
“It’s steep and rugged country with some very fickle weather,” said Violet Town planting contractor Jack Goutzoulas of Solar City Greetings Pty Ltd.
“Working in mountain goat country is tough going, but my crew has met the challenge head on and we’re winning.
“To date, over 20,000 Alpine Ash seedlings have been planted in fire impacted areas of the Mansfield and Bright districts.
“With the recent rain we’ve had across the North East, we couldn’t have got such a planting operation achieved at a better time,” Mr Hawksworth said.
Victoria’s longest-running fire, the Great Divide Fire, burnt 1,116,408 hectares and was contained in early February this year after 69 days.
KEEPING BUSY: Robert Hopkins is helping re-plant the new forests.