A massive tree has been discovered in a remote area of East Gippsland, near Bendoc on the Errinundra Plateau. The tree, a rare Errinundra Shining Gum found only in parts of the Errinundra Plateau, has a girth of 18.5 metres. It is believed to be the largest girth of any tree on record in Victoria. The tree is situated in the Bonang River catchment and is surrounded by rainforest.
Discovered by volunteer conservationists conducting endangered species research, the tree has been brought to the attention of the National Heritage Trust, who say that they have no record of a tree that large. The Department of Sustainability and Environment have also been informed of the existence of the tree, however, they stated that legislation does not provide for the protection of the tree, as it does not fall into a category for protection. The tree is adjacent to a number of proposed logging coupes.
One of the discoverers of the tree, Rena Gabarov, is concerned that the tree will suffer the same fate as El Grande, Tasmania's largest tree, which was declared dead last week following a regeneration burn in an adjacent logging coupe which fatally burnt the tree.
"It would be a tragedy if such an ancient tree remained unprotected. Who knows how many more trees of this size are out there waiting to be discovered? It is time for the government to protect all old growth forest and ensure that trees such as these can remain as part of Australia's natural heritage," said Rena Gabarov.