[Birds chirping]

[Music playing]

[Text on screen] Reseeding giants. DELWP is reseeding areas of Ash forest as consecutive fires since 2003 and a warming climate is threatening the future of these ecosystems.

[Text on screen] *Footage filmed prior to current coronavirus requirements.

[Text on screen] Carolyn Slijkerman, Planning Officer Hume DELWP

[Carolyn Slijkerman] One of the main things I love about the ash forest is actually the smell. It's such a wonderful thing to be able to come into these forests and stand under these enormous trees, and just close your eyes, and smell, and listen to the bush. Because of the extensive fires over recent years, there's actually a substantial area of forest that's at-risk.

[Text on screen] Quinton Pakan, Project Manager DELWP

[Quinton Pakan] There's about 22,000 hectares of immature ash affected by the 2020 Victorian fires. This project aims to treat between 8,000 and 10,000 hectares of immature, fire-affected ash in Victoria. We're aiming to ensure that we don't convert ash forest type to non-forest type.

The project is funded by the Native Vegetation Improvement Stream, as part of their Reducing Bushfire Risk programme.

With the help of Melbourne University, Parks Victoria, and Greening Australia, we devised a process of prioritising which areas we were going to target for fire recovery.

[Text on screen] Craig Nitschke, Associate Professor University of Melbourne

[Craig Nitschke] The alpine ash fire-risk mitigation project was a project designed to explore the potential risks of losing alpine ash forests in the future, in particular to changing fire regimes and changing climate. We run simulations and explore the potential for alpine ash to persist or not persist.

[Text on screen] Tom Fairman, Senior Policy Officer DELWP

[Tom Fairman] The initial project, which was funded by Safer Together, was set up a couple of years ago.

My role in this project was understanding how we can utilise the information from that mitigating fire-risk project and use it in a way to help prioritise where we need to re-seed alpine ash forests, after the 2019 and 2020 bushfires.

[Quinton Pakan] We intend to sow around 4,000 kgs of seed in this fire recovery effort for alpine ash, and up to about 2,000 kgs of seed for mountain ash.

[Text on screen] Owen Bassett, Director Forest Solutions

[Owen Bassett] If you think of the Great Dividing Range in Victoria, it's huge. My role is to provide scientific and technical recommendation on where to so, how much to sow, and how to achieve a regrowth forest. We can forecast where in that massive landscape it's going to flower. And of course, flaring leads to seed.

Once we locate a site, we call the climbers in. And the climber will climb the tree. He will delimb to a prescription. About 50% of the crown is taken, individual branches. The nice thing about that is we can keep the tree alive. We're looking for large, well-formed formed capsules. And then we have a team of ground collectors that come along and collect all the capsule material into a bale for later processing.

[Quinton Pakan] Behind us is a seed extraction facility, which we use to get the seed out of the capsules.

We mimic the natural process of a fire under the canopy, heat up those capsules. The seed falls out. We grab that seed, clean the seed, and we store it in a refrigerated container for future use in fire recovery.

So we're working in partnership with VicForests to provide seed collection and management services, as well as aerial sowing using helicopters.

[Text on screen] Paul Kneale. General Forester VicForests

[Paul Kneale] Local knowledge and knowing how good the seedbed is is really critical for the seed to be sown and germinated. We've got to match ours in the air to the shapes on the ground that we want to sow. We know where the seed was collected from, so geographically, where it sits in the landscape. And so we try and get the seed that's closest to that site that's been burnt.

The helicopter has a seeder. There's a hopper inside the helicopter where the seed can be loaded into. The helicopter pilot then flies the seed over the shapes that we've nominated.


[Text on screen] Wally Notman, Planning Officer Gippsland DELWP

[Wally Notman] This programme, this year, I would say is the largest programme of its type ever implemented in Victoria-- certainly single event-- in Victoria, and probably in Australia, as well. So we went into this fire season with a lot of forest, at an age where it was reproductively immature and quite vulnerable to this event.

And it's a really vast area. So we had about 70,000 hectares of ash forest impacted. But we're not just talking about this value or that value, we're talking about what that forest provides as a whole, in terms of all sorts of values, including biodiversity and catchment values, even cultural and economic values, as well.

Most people would agree that ash forests are some of the most beautiful on earth. It's really important we try and restore these forests as best we can.

[Department of Environment Land, Water and Planning logo]

[Text on screen] We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on which this film was produced.

[Text on screen] This project has been delivered with the help of the following partners:

  • FFMVic
  • Parks Victoria
  • VicForests
  • Osborne Aviation
  • Melbourne university
  • Forest Solutions
  • Greening Australia
  • Bushfire Recovery Victoria
  • Clark Generations

Page last updated: 09/10/21