Top ecologist: New park only solution to Victoria forest 'disaster'

Renowned Australian ecologist David Lindenmayer is among those leading calls for a Great Forest National Park in Victoria, following what is widely considered a disastrous legacy of forest mismanagement by the Victorian State Government.

  Last refuge for really really big trees... (photo by Angela Wylie)

Last refuge for really really big trees... (photo by Angela Wylie)

In a new video, Lindenmayer decries a government forest plan that has seen old-growth Mountain Ash forests--which harbor the world's tallest flowering plants--shrink to just 1.2% of their original range. 

Over-logging and forest fires have been the main culprits.  Lindenmayer estimates that timber supplies from Mountain Ash forests, used mostly for paper pulp, will be exhausted in 12 years or less.

The Mountain Ash forests are also home to the Leadbeater's Possum, an endemic marsupial that relies on old-growth forests and is critically endangered.  The possum is the official faunal symbol of Victoria.

The plan for the new park is being endorsed by the Royal Society of Victoria, the state's pre-eminent scientific organisation.  Park advocates say the proposal has strong public support and would be a major attraction for tourism.