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Firewood for the future

Most firewood burnt in Victoria comes from poorly regulated native forests. Some is even collected illegally.

Our Sustainable Firewood Guide helps you choose firewood with minimal environmental impact. You can read it online or download your own copy from our website.

In 2012 the Victorian Government announced the end of a firewood collection system that had helped protect threatened species in state forests for more than half a century.

The decision to open up state forests to unregulated firewood collection quickly led to a firewood 'free-for-all' that cleared out important ground litter habitat (the small logs animals call home) and deprived locals in Central Victoria of winter firewood supplies.

 
 
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There were even reports of truck-mounted cranes being used to remove firewood from woodlots traditionally used by local home owners.

State forest areas open to unregulated firewood collection provide important habitat for threatened wildlife such as Brush-tailed Phascogales, Diamond Firetails, Grey-crowned Babblers, Speckled Warblers and the nationally endangered Swift Parrot.

The original firewood permit system was introduced by the Liberal Bolte Government in 1958 to ensure Victoria's forests were used and managed responsibly.

For nearly 60 years these regulations have been respected by successive Victorian governments, until the former Baillieu Government decided to scrap them in favour of a firewood free-for-all.

 

Brush-tailed Phascogale.

Brush-tailed Phascogale.
Photos: Chris Tzaros

 

Diamond Firetail.

Diamond Firetail.

 

Grey-crowned Babbler.

Grey-crowned Babbler.

 

Destroying their homes

The negative impacts of unregulated firewood collection have been well known for decades.
Dead timber provides habitat for a range of native fauna, some threatened. Research shows that 37% of Victorian mammals use tree hollows as nest or roost sites. Hollow-nesting birds alone account for 39% of woodland and forest bird species.

The Victorian National Parks Association is now calling for a new permit system for firewood collection from public land in Victoria, with greater support for farmers to help them develop small-scale wood lots for firewood.

The Melbourne firewood market is by far Victoria's largest, and delivers the highest prices to growers.

However, this market is currently restricted by the uncompetitive pricing of wood products from public land by government departments that sell wood to the firewood market at a fraction of the price it costs private growers. It now even gives it away for free to individuals!

Governments should support a sustainable firewood future by giving dryland farmers and others considering land use change an opportunity to diversify and develop new business opportunities.

Regional development, landholder opportunities and biodiversity are all important components in supporting a sustainable firewood future for Victoria.

 

What you can do

You can also contact your local state politician asking them to to support the recommendations in VEAC Remnant Native Vegetation report.

If you don't know who your local representative in the Victorian Parliament is you can find out by visiting the parliamentary website.

 

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