East Gippsland covers just 4% of the state yet has over 500 rare and threatened species. This is ten times the state average. It has the largest remaining area of old growth forest (that is sadly being clearfelled for woodchips and plantation establishment). It is small, biologically unique and irreplaceable.
Internationally-renowned botanist Professor David Bellamy has described East Gippsland’s forests as the most diverse temperate forest ecosystem anywhere on earth.
You’re in one of the few places in the world where you can travel from sand to snow in an unbroken chain of natural environments; from coastal heathlands and forests, into the wildflower-rich eucalypt forests of the foothills, the warm temperate rainforests of streams and shady gullies, then on up to the higher rainfall tall, wet mountain forests thick with tree ferns and towering giants.
These eventually join up with the alpine environments and the snow adapted forests and herb fields of the high country. This is a rare and relatively unbroken chain of ecosystems stretching from the ocean to the alps.
In other parts of Australia and indeed the world, natural vegetation along coastal areas has mostly been cleared and fragmented by human settlements and agriculture.
For such an area of astonishingly rich biodiversity, only about one third of East Gippsland is protected in Parks and Reserves. The remainder has been heavily exploited mostly by the rapacious logging industry and government mismanagement.