Victoria’s dry forests are special and unique in so many ways. They’re often Eucalypt dominated and you get this amazing diversity of Eucalypt types throughout the dry forests. So you’ve got this massive variety of bark types, you’ve got different foliage types and then you’ve got this amazingly diverse ground litter-layer composed of sticks and logs and leaves. Animals need these different multi-layered components of dry forests in order to survive.
Old-growth dry forests vary enormously from modified dry forest communities. Modified communities have been degraded in the past by a whole host of different human impacts if you like, they’ve been logged, they’ve been grazed and so forth. Old-growth dry forests communities are generally in a much better condition and they present all of these different multi-layered aspects in that ecosystem.
Victoria’s dry forest communities contain at least 50 species of birds that are officially listed as threatened in this State. Over the past 20 years or so we’ve noticed a very dramatic decline in the health of bird communities in dry forests throughout central Victoria and this is almost certainly due to severe depletion in the amount of rainfall and over the past 12 to 13 years a rise in the average temperature experienced in these regions. We’ve arrived at this point now where bird communities in these areas have been so heavily affected and so obviously affected that we are deeply concerned about the impact of ongoing climate change on all of the other aspects: the mammals, the reptiles, the frogs, the invertebrates, the plant communities themselves.
Now there’s a lot that can be done to protect these endangered species: there’s political pressure that can be put on our decision makers, but there’s some very practical aspects, things that you can do around the home – not wasting electricity, recycling, improving your use of resources, just so that you're leaving a lighter footprint on the planet and ensuring that the impact of climate change is not felt in these dry forest communities and indeed in any other ecosystem.