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Why look after our forests

Forests are fundamental to the health and wellbeing of every Victorian. Victoria’s forests and waterways produce some of our most basic needs – such as clean air and water, pollination, flood mitigation and carbon sequestration. Exploring our forests are also a great way to get out and enjoy nature.

We all need to do our bit to protect our forests and parks so future generations can thrive.

How you can help

Victoria’s state forests are for everyone to enjoy. See our simple tips below to help protect our forests for generations to come.

A man, woman and three small children walk through the forest.
A family is enjoying a state forest in Victoria.

Stay on track

Camp and walk on existing footprints and tracks - creating new campsites or tracks harms native plants and animals.

Secure your tent with pegs to the ground - tying tents to trees can damage the bark and living tissue, preventing water and nutrients from reaching the leaves, killing the tree.

Disposing of waste

Dispose of soaps and detergents at least 50m from waterways - only use environmentally friendly soaps (avoid perfume and detergents containing phosphates and dioxanes).

Take your rubbish home with you - this helps to protect wildlife and the environment. Don't bury or burn it as this will release harmful chemicals into the environment.

If there are no toilets, bury your faeces 20cm deep and at least 100m away from any waterway and other campers.

Empty chemical toilets at approved dump points - it is an offence to dump chemical waste (or any rubbish) into toilets. Use the National public toilet map website to search for dump points.

Respect others

Avoid playing loud music or operating machinery. Loud noise can be stressful for animals. It may impact their ability to use sound to navigate, find food, attract mates and avoid predators.

Take only photos -  picking flowers or taking wood and sticks from the ground destroys the homes of small and large critters.

Keep noise to a minimum so everyone can enjoy their visit and keep dogs on a leash to protect native plants and animals.

There are a number of rules you need to follow before beginning, when building, while maintaining and once you have used your campfire. These are available on the Conservation Regulator's website and must be read before you go.

In state forests, you must use a properly constructed firepit or trench at least 30cm deep for a campfire.

It is important that you never leave a campfire unattended and extinguish it with water when you have stopped using it.

Protecting native biodiversity

Biodiversity is all components of the living world: the number and variety of native plants, animals and other living things across our land, rivers, coast, and ocean.

To find out more about Victoria's approach to protecting and managing our precious natural environment, and how you can play your part, visit the Victorian Government's Environment website.

Become a citizen scientist

Help protect plants and animals by recording what you see on iNaturalist. Download the app before your visit.

Volunteer for our forests

Everyone can make a difference for our environment. Find out about more about environmental volunteering on the Victorian Government's Environment website.

Bring your own firewood

Only collect firewood from designated areas. Taking wood and sticks from the forest is damaging to the environment and causes habitat loss for many small critters.

To find your nearest firewood collection area, visit the Forest Fire Management website.

Gas stoves are strongly recommended

Cooking on a gas camping stove won’t spread embers and is more easily controlled than an open fire.

Leave fallen branches on the ground

Fallen vegetation provides homes and protection for small animals from pests and predators. Fallen vegetation is an important part of the nutrient cycle too, with insects and microbes breaking it down to nourish the soil and plants.

Aboriginal people have lived in southern Australia, including what is now Victoria, for thousands of years. Aboriginal places and objects can be found all over the state and are often near major food sources such as rivers, lakes, swamps and the coast.

To find out more about protecting Victoria’s aboriginal cultural heritage, and what to do if you think you may have found a place or object of significance, visit the First Peoples - State Relations website.

Find out more

Learn more about what you can and can’t do in our state forests on the Conservation Regulator’s website. If you see someone doing the wrong thing in our forests, you can also report it on their website.

Caring for nature doesn't stop when you leave the forest. Find out more ways to act for nature by visiting the Arthur Rylah Institute.

Page last updated: 14/09/22