The Friends Exist . . .
To work towards a common community approach to a healthy, sustainable and productive landscape through conservation of natural vegetation on public and private land in the Mount Alexander Region and in particular to:
- Promote understanding of the natural values of the Box Ironbark forests and woodlands, their ecosystems and the threats to their preservation.
- Assist with the recovery of threatened species and the natural regeneration of bushland, with research, knowledge and resources.
- Support retention of roadside and remnant vegetation and rehabilitation of streamsides to provide wildlife corridors linking landscapes with high natural values.
- Work for strategic statutory planning decisions to provide improved outcomes for the natural environment.
- Encourage landowners to enter into programs such as “Land for Wildlife” agreements and conservation covenants.
To campaign for wise and effective management of the Parks, Reserves and State Forests of the region and to support the inclusion of more crown land in conservation reserves, and in particular to:
- Provide critical support for the management of the Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park, encouraging a balanced approach to cultural and natural values.
- Support action to eradicate weeds and pest animals and discourage their introduction in bushlands.
To promote respect for Indigenous culture and understanding of Indigenous land management practices.
Our current activities include:
- Defence of the Parks system against unwarranted attacks in the press and elsewhere
- Constructively critical interaction with Park rangers on a number of issues, including road management, the ecological effects of management burning, and weed control.
- Support for Connecting Country—landscape restoration across Mount Alexander, a project designed to clarify and advance the possibility of landscape restoration on a regional and state level.
- Management of the Mamunya Art festival
- Appearance before planning panels and tribunals.
- Rehabilitation of degraded land at Wattle Gully, in the Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park.
- Conduct of monthly walks in local bushland, for recreation and education.
We are associated with
- The Victorian National Parks Association
- Environment Victoria
- The National Landcare Network
- Victoria Naturally
Friends of the Box-Ironbark Forests (Mt Alexander Region) was formed in the late 1990s by people in the local community interested in working towards highlighting the significance of the Box-Ironbark Forests and Woodlands. There are over 100 members with a committee elected yearly at the Annual General Meeting.
We believe that the health of the land is intimately linked to its vegetation cover and the wildlife it sustains: that forests, soil and water are ‘an inseparable trinity.’ That’s why we work to encourage and support sound land management practices, on private and public land.
The Box and Ironbark Forests and Woodlands
The forests and woodlands of northern and central Victoria characteristically consist of a canopy of Box and Ironbark trees over a rich shrub layer of wattles, grevilleas, hakeas and many grasses and small flowering plants. The nectar rich canopy in particular sustains birds such as honeyeaters and lorikeets as well as mammals like possums and gliders.
These forests once covered about 3 million hectares of the region. After 150 years of clearing, only 17% survives, and in this it is rare to find stands of mature trees. Though 72% of surviving forests are on public land, many good stands of Box Ironbark are on private land.
The biodiversity of the Box and Ironbark forests includes and maintains a unique and varied range of birds, mammals, reptiles, insects and plants—over 1500 different flowering plants have been recorded in the Box Ironbark region. However, numerous species have already disappeared and about 350 endangered plants and animals rely on these bushlands for their survival, including:
- Regent Honeyeater
- Swift Parrot
- Squirrel Glidder
- Carpet Python
- Barking Owl
- Turqoise Parrot
- Scented Bush-pea
- Maroon Spider-orchid