Research Branch Report No. 290

Harvesting history of a coastal forest area in East Gippsland in relation to eucalypt species composition.  G.R. Featherston.  September 1985.  17 pp.


This report records the results of an investigation into the harvesting history of a coastal forest area between Bruthen and Orbost, Bairnsdale and Orbost Regions, East Gippsland, in relation to eucalypt species composition. The area contains most of the severe dieback sites in East Gippsland.

Investigations showed that since the 19th Century, the study area has been selectively harvested, with preference to trees of good form and initially also to the durable species such as Eucalyptus sideroxlyon A. Cunn. Ex W. Woolls. (red ironbark) and E. muelleriana A. W. Howitt (yellow stringybark). As a result, many unmerchantable trees of all species have remained and the quality of the forest has declined. Although some silvicultural treatments have been carried out, these have not ensured regeneration of the durable species and instead have promoted the regeneration of other species, such as E. sieberi L. Johnson (silvertop) and E. globoidea Blakely (white stringybark), which now comprise the major species of the forest.

As the more durable species are now known to be significantly more tolerant of Phytophthora cinnamomi Rands (phytophthora root rot) than those less durable, this change in species composition with time has possibly rendered the forest as a whole more susceptible to the pathogen; this is the subject of a current research program.