International Development, Community and Environment (IDCE)

Date of Award


Degree Type

Research Paper

Degree Name

Master of Science in Environmental Science and Policy (ES&P)


International Development, Community and Environment

Chief Instructor

Dominik Kulakowski


montane ash, australia, forest, forest management, victoria, eucalyptus


This paper discusses the ecology of mountain ash forests, the disturbances regimes that currently exist in these ecosystems, and finally addresses the current management practices and future management practices. Mountain ash forests are subjected to a wide range of research in the Central Highlands of Victoria, an area approximately 14,000 hectares in range. These forests are dominated by montane ash trees (Eucalyptus regnans F. Muell), which are critically endangered and at risk of collapse, attributed to the decline in large hollow-bearing trees throughout the region. Management of these forests are controlled by the Department of Environment, Land, Water, and Planning and primarily carried out by VicForests through clear cut logging and post-fire salvage logging. There are three major disturbance regimes within these forests; fire regimes, silviculture, and climate change. Silviculture has a dominant impact on the forest ecosystems through clear-cut logging, although there have been other methods proposed that are gaining traction that have a primary goal of preserving natural ecosystem functions and composition such as Variable Retention Harvesting System and the Traditional Owners cultural landscape strategy. However, it is becoming important to consider climate change impacts on this ecosystem, with projected increase in temperature and decrease in precipitation. These changes have the potential to cause a significant impact on the ecosystem, via alteration in size, duration, and intensity of wildfires, which has already been observed. This change in wildfire regimes is necessary to consider for future management in Victoria, with an introduction of land ethics into management that extends beyond economic gains.



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