DELWP has formalised forest management zoning amendments to enhance forest values and threatened species habitat in the Erica State Forest near Mt Baw Baw and Kuark forest area in East Gippsland.

Spot-tailed Quoll

The Victorian Government has protected habitat for the Spot-tailed Quoll following a reported sighting in May 2018. The quoll was detected in an existing 732 hectare Special Protection Zone (SPZ) which was initially established for a range of values including the Sooty Owl, Leadbeater’s Possum and old growth forest. The verified Spot-tailed Quoll site is now protected by the 732 hectare SPZ and a new 1,232 hectare Special Management Zone (SMZ) in the Erica State Forest near Mt Baw Baw. This protection exceeds the minimum regulatory requirement of a 500 hectare SPZ and 1000 hectare SMZ.

The newly established management zones will ensure at least 1,000 ha of suitable habitat surrounding the detection site will be available at any point in time. The remaining SMZ area will be managed in accordance with regulations designed to protect the quoll’s habitat while still allowing for limited forest use, including timber harvesting.

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning immediately commenced planning for the Spot-tailed Quoll management area after the detection was verified by local biodiversity staff. The newly established management zones have been designed by biodiversity staff to include the best available habitat for the quoll. The local knowledge of DELWP’s District staff was pivotal to the development of the proposed zoning amendment.

The Spot-tailed Quoll is the largest marsupial carnivore on mainland Australia and is considered Endangered in Victoria and is listed as Threatened under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988.

Quolls inhabit a range of forest types and are solitary animals with large home ranges. They survive in several discrete areas of Victoria, including across Gippsland. Habitat fragmentation and competition with introduced predators are among the primary reasons for the species’ decline since European settlement.

Protections for the Spot-tailed Quoll in the Central Gippsland FMA are detailed in the Action Statement made under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 (Vic) and the Planning Standards for Timber Harvesting Operations in Victoria’s State Forests (2014).

The Special Management Zone Plan and map for the Spot-tail Quoll management area are available at the links below:

Kuark Protection Area

The Victorian Government has formalised the protection of over 2,500 hectares of high environmental value forest in East Gippsland by creating areas of Special Protection Zone (SPZ), known as the Kuark Protection Area. This protection area sees an additional 900 hectares of old-growth forests included into the formal reserve system.

The Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Lily D’Ambrosio, announced in March 2018 that high environmental value forest in Kuark would be immediately protected from timber harvesting.  Timber harvesting within the Kuark Protection Area ceased immediately after the announcement. These protections have now been formalised through Victoria’s forest regulatory framework and an amendment to the Forest Management Zoning Scheme.

The Kuark Protection Area increases the size and connectivity of Victoria’s Comprehensive, Adequate and Representative Reserve System in the East Gippsland Forest Management Area and provides further protection for large old trees, old growth and rainforest values, and threatened species such as the Greater Glider.

Implementation of the Kuark Protection Area is complemented by a commitment to protect other areas of old growth forest within Kuark. Up to 500 hectares of old growth forest will be excluded from timber harvesting based on old growth models and field verification.

A map of the Kuark Protection Area can be downloaded here: