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Wellsford State Forest

Grey-crowned Babbler. Photo Chris Tzaros

The Grey-crowned Babbler is listed as threatened in Victoria. Photo copyright Chris Tzaros

 

Just 15km northeast of the historic goldfields town of Bendigo lies the Wellsford State Forest. Dominated by eucalypts, wattles and wildflowers it's a place to explore and enjoy Victoria's Box-ironbark forests as they recover from a long history of logging.

Wellsford State Forest is a sprawling 7122 hectares. To put that into perspective the playing surface of the MCG is about 7 hectares.

 

Protecting Special Places

>> Wombat State Forest
>> Great Forest National Park

The forest provides important habitat for threatened wildlife, with recent records showing the presence of Brush-tailed Phascogales, Diamond Firetails, Grey-crowned Babblers, Speckled Warblers and the nationally endangered Swift Parrot.

It's also home to rare and threatened plants including the state-listed and vulnerable Ausfeld's Wattle (Acacia ausfeldii) and Dainty Phebalium (Phebalium festivum). The rare Small-leaf Goodenia (Goodenia benthamiana), Sand Rush (Juncus psammophilus), Whirrakee Wattle (Acacia williamsonii) and Buloke (Allocasuarina luehmannii) have also been found at Wellsford.

 

Swift Parrot, copyright Chris Tzaros.

A Swift Parrot. Photo: copyright Chris Tzaros

 

Peaceful Dove, copyright Chris Tzaros.

Peaceful Dove. Photo: copyright Chris Tzaros

 

Adjoining Wellsford on its eastern flank is Mount Sugarloaf Nature Conservation Reserve, and immediately to its west is Longlea Commonwealth Land and Bendigo Regional Park.

The Wellsford also has good links to Axe Creek and the Campaspe River.

The forest has a long history of logging and recovery. Its protected areas offer excellent examples of recovering forest, particularly in the understorey and trees with developing hollows. It also contains native bushland of high conservation significance linking patches in the north and south.

However, trees across the forest are showing signs of stress, and four habitat zones within the Wellsford have been identified as being particularly deficient in logs.

The Wellsford State Forest was identified in the VNPA report 'Better Protection for Special Places: Public Land Conservation Priorities for Central Victoria in 2010' as one of 20 high conservation areas on public land.

Apart from individual pursuits such as walking, horse-riding, trail-bike riding and cycling, organised recreational use of the forest includes car rallies, dog-sledding, orienteering and army cadet training.

Threats to the Wellsford

  • Most of the area is still subject to timber harvesting, mainly for firewood and other low-value uses.
  • Prescribed burning has been carried out over 1400 hectares of the Wellsford Forest since 2011. Local ecologists say these fires burnt too hot and were possibly inappropriate for the forest ecology.
  • Rubbish dumping is a problem, and trail-bikes increase fragmentation and localised erosion.

Take action

Contact your local state MPs and ask them what they are doing to protect the Wellsford.

You could also ask them if they will push for a Victorian Environmental Assessment Council investigation into adding the Wellsford to the conservation reserve system.

Bendigo East State MP

Bendigo West State MP