VEAC Central West Investigation into the Wombat State Forest

VEAC Central West Investigation into the Wombat State Forest  

I am writing regarding the article in last week’s Hepburn Advocate about the VEAC’s Central West Investigation and its recommendations to turn the Wombat State Forest into Wombat National Park.

My family have lived at Bullarto in the middle of the Wombat State Forest for three decades and we agree with Loris Duclos that it should remain a State Forest so ‘collaborative ecological restoration’ can be undertaken and a restorative plan developed.

In fact, as an experienced and qualified forester and Landcare project manager I developed a ‘restorative ecological thinning prescription’ and management plans that were trialled in the Wombat State Forest by DSE back in 2003 as part of Community Forest Management known as the Mudlark coupe trial. We also undertook the Lerderderg Coupe trial.

Later in 2006 I implemented ‘ecological thinning’ of private native forests in Hepburn Shire using this prescription with DSE and Council authorisation. This gained front page news in The Weekly Times. This was big news at the time. The prescription was later successfully utilised in three surrounding shires.

In 2003 I prepared a discussion paper for Community Forest Management titled ‘the Wombat Forest – the Way Forward’. This discussion paper led to the development of the restorative ecological thinning prescription known as ‘Forest Restoration and Resource Utilisation (FRRU).’ Years of work and trials were undertaken. Later it was referred to as ‘The McIntosh Method.’

I further refined the prescription and conducted a seminar on the same at the Creswick School of Forestry Campus of Melbourne University for lecturers, students and interested practitioners including DSE titled ‘RESTORATIVE ECOLOGICAL THINNING – A LONG TERM STRATEGY FOR FORESTED WATER CATCHMENTS AND MANAGED RESERVES’. A DVD of this seminar is available in the Creswick Campus library.

It seems the public, Council, VEAC and DELWP have all forgotten this work was undertaken 12-15 years ago!

-Gary McIntosh, Bullarto