Native Forest Silviculture in Victoria

Silvics is the term used for the characteristics that define the life history, growth, behavior and ecology of a tree species. It is often linked with silviculture, which is the application of silvics to the management of trees in order to enhance the reproduction, survival or growth of a specific tree species." (Reference)


This article is being developed

There are six broad forest types in Victoria, and each of them have distinct silvics which in turn mean that their silviculture is different. Mountain Ash, Alpine Ash and Red Gum generally occur in pure stands. Low Elevation Mixed Species (LEMS) is the most diverse type in terms of numbers of species and distribution. It combines both foothill and coastal mixed species types. High Elevation Mixed Species (HEMS) occurs generally above elevations of 700m, meaning the climate and species mix is different to LEMS, although of course there is an overlapping area where one type grades into the other. Box-Ironbark forests are those which include a number of distinctive eucalypt species in varying proportions, with the common names of "Box" and "Ironbark" predominating.


Note: Eucalypt mixed species forests in Victoria are widespread from the western border to the eastern tip, and from Bass Strait in the south to the northern slopes of the Great Dividing Range. With such widely distributed forests there is significant variation in the range of species involved and climatic conditions under which they grow. These forests have been sub-divided into four main groupings for inventory and commercial purposes based on location and elevation.
  • Coastal Mixed Species (CMS);
  • Foothill Mixed Species (FMS);
  • Mountain Mixed Species (MMS); and
  • Alpine Mixed Species (AMS)
However, from a silvical viewpoint, CMS and FMS are combined into LEMS, and AMS and MMS are combined into High Elevation Mixed Species (HEMS).


All these types have been the subject of significant research over the last approximately 60 years, and each contributes significantly to economic, social and ecological values, including:

  • the provision of timber and other forest products on a sustainable basis
  • the protection of landscape, archaeological and historic values
  • the protection of water catchments and water quality, and
  • the provision of recreational and educational opportunities.

Between 2007 and 2015, Manuals which summarise the silvicultural knowledge base for four of these forest types have been prepared. They are available via the links below, and in the gallery beneath the Manuals you will find maps of the distribution of each type extracted from each Manual.

Click on each Forest Type map below to get a larger version

Box-Ironbark Distribution

HEMS Distribution

LEMS Distribution

Mt Ash Distribution

Alpine Ash

This section is being developed

There is as yet no Manual that summarises the silviculture of this forest type, but other works can be linked here.

The slide show presented below was developed by Brian Fry. It gives a good overview of the regeneration processes for areas that have been logged.

Alpine Ash
Eucalyptus delegatensis
Photo: Neil Blair
Copyright 2019 Royal Botanic Gardens Board
Creative Commons Licence CC BY-NC-SA 4.0


This section is being developed

The Manual for this type has been completed but is not yet on the site.

Box Ironbark - 454000ha

Box-Ironbark in Victoria's State Forests - P Fagg, O Bassett, 2015 (Copyright: State of Victoria - Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Licence) (HQ Version)


The Low Elevation Mixed Species (LEMS) forest type occurs in every region of Victoria except the north-west, covering approximately 2,757,000 ha or 35% of Victoria's forested public land. Two main groupings of species occur within this forest type:

  • The stringybark-peppermint-gum group. This group is widely distributed across the State and the proportion of each component varies with location. Generally, stringybarks predominate in the west and peppermints in the north-east of Victoria.
  • The silvertop-stringybark group. This group, which can form a mosaic with the first group, occurs east of Melbourne and south of the Great Dividing Range.

LEMS forests have historically been important for the provision of timbers for mining and fencing, for poles to carry electricity and telegraph lines, for sleepers, firewood, pulpwood and sawlogs producing framing timbers.???????????????


The High Elevation Mixed Species (HEMS) forest type is a variable sub-grouping of mixed forests that is generally located in the colder, higher elevation parts of the range of the mixed species forest type. HEMS are generally located above 700 metres elevation across Victoria, where frosts in winter and early spring are severe enough to cause significant losses of autumn germinating seedlings. It is estimated that there are approximately 505,000 ha of this forest type in the State. Major eucalypt species include E. obliqua, E. cypellocarpa, E. radiata and E. viminalis.

Mountain Ash

The Mountain Ash forest type naturally occurs only in Victoria and Tasmania. In Victoria, it covers about 250,000ha and a wide range of sites in the Central Highlands, Otway Ranges, South Gippsland and East Gippsland areas. Where soils are poorer and the rainfall lower, pure stands may be restricted to valleys and along watercourses. The latitudinal range is 37°- 43° South. The altitudinal range in Victoria is from about 150 m to 1100 m. Although at low elevations E. regnans is restricted to moist southerly aspects, above 600 m it occurs on all aspects. At elevations above about 1000 m within the Central Highlands E. regnans is replaced by E. delegatensis (Alpine Ash), which is more resistant to severe winter conditions. At this ecotonal zone E. nitens (Shining Gum) may also be present. At the low elevation boundary (150 m) E. regnans is replaced by E. obliqua (Messmate Stringybark) or E. cypellocarpa (Mountain Grey Gum), where conditions are drier or more fire prone.

Click to Enlarge
Cumberland Falls Reserve, Near Marysville
"E. regnans is the tallest hardwood species in the world"
Source: FCRPA
Eucalyptus regnans
Photo: Marc Freestone
Copyright 2019 Royal Botanic Gardens Board
Creative Commons Licence CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

Fire is one of the fundamental forces driving the dynamics of regeneration, succession and evolution in E. regnans. It is a fire-sensitive species which forms even-aged stands following the destruction of seed-bearing trees by high intensity fires.

Brief history of use.

Fire and harvesting

Flowering/seed development

Evolution of silvicultural systems.

The slide show presented below was developed by Brian Fry. It gives a good overview of the regeneration processes for areas that have been logged.

Mountain Ash Slide Show

Plus photos

Red Gum

This section is being developed

See FCV Bulletin No.20

There is as yet no Manual that summarises the silviculture of this forest type.

This section is being developed

Red Gum

There is as yet no Manual that summarises the silviculture of this forest type.


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