Welcome to the first edition of Park Watch  for 2024, where we bring you stories of wonder, of resilience and of the challenges that wildlife, nature and protected areas in Victoria face. 

This month, we launch two landmark reports covering the future of Victoria’s natural systems. Protecting our living legacies, by Jordan Crook and Chris Shuringa, is a guide to protecting large old trees on public land, designed to spark conversations about how we can better manage and care for our trees, and how we can increase their longevity.  

The winds of change, by Shannon Hurley, discusses how using marine spatial planning in the establishment the offshore wind energy industry can protect marine biodiversity values, save time, reduce costs, and minimise rejections.  

We also investigate what ‘community forestry’ actually means in practice, and learn how a tiny frog showed up the glaring shortcomings in our national nature laws.. 

Elsewhere in this issue, we ponder why the Victorian Government is on a go slow in legislating new parks; discuss our great expectations for the Great Forest National Park; ask how strategic are strategic assessments; see how to not save a stonefly; and look at the rejection of the Port of Hasting terminal. 

We celebrate Geoff Durham’s final ‘In Parks’ by visiting his favourite places, and pay special tribute to Dr Michael Feller, VNPA Council member and a gentle giant for forests. 

Check out our busy activities schedule, book reviews, sea slug census stats, and how you can use Victoria’s new container deposit scheme to donate to VNPA. 

And as always we have a range of other articles covering the most important issues concerning our national parks and other natural areas across our state.

Cover image: Mountain Ash (Eucalyptus regnans) in Toolangi Forest, Wurundjeri and Taungurung Country. (Credit: Jordan Crook).

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