FIREWOOD buyers and providers on the Mornington Peninsula are being reminded to source responsibly sourced wood, understand the rules of firewood collection and stay out of parks and reserves.
As the cool weather approaches and residents stock up on firewood, the Conservation Regulator is urging people to help save wildlife habitat and protect Aboriginal scarred trees.
The illegal removal and sale of firewood from parks and reserves causes lasting impacts, and can decimate the homes of the many birds, reptiles as native mammals that rely on hollows in standing and dead and fallen trees.
Chief Conservation Regulator Kate Gavens said everyone could play a part in protecting Aboriginal cultural heritage, wildlife habitat and biodiversity by knowing where, when and what firewood can be collected.
“It can take hundreds of years for nature to create tree hollows and habitat loss from illegal firewood collection has a serious impact on the future of our iconic native species,” she said.
The Conservation Regulator said each year Victorians were caught out unintentionally buying illegally sourced firewood, with 625 charges and 85 infringement notices for firewood offences in Victoria issued in 2022.
Buyers who use social media sites, roadside stalls and word of mouth are also being advised to check where the wood they buy wood comes from by asking for a receipt with an ABN and being wary of social media sites selling cheap firewood.
Domestic firewood collection from public land is only available in designated areas during the autumn and spring firewood collection seasons.
Illegal wood collection or tree cutting can be reported to 13 1963 or firstname.lastname@example.org or DEECA on 13 6186.
Offenders found guilty of cutting or taking away more than two cubic metres of fallen or felled trees from Crown land face a maximum penalty of $9087 and/or one year imprisonment. Individuals may also face an additional fine of up to $9087 for destruction of wildlife habitat, while vehicles and equipment such as chainsaws and trailers may also be seized and forfeited upon conviction.
For details of where, when and what firewood can be collected, visit ffm.vic.gov.au/firewood/firewood-collection-in-your-region