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Friends of the Forgotten Woodlands Inc. Victorian Volcanic Plains Woodland Ecology Project Australia


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No. of Trees Planted  by FoFW volunteers


with Provenance & GPS recorded

Trees Distributed


some plantings include trees sourced from hotter and drier areas which match future expected climates

Seed Orchards Planted


seedlings are planted in seed orchards, arranged to maximise genetic diversity and vigour of seed that will be produced

Keystone SPAs Planted


3 SPA’s for all 3 keystone species of Banksia, Sheoak and Bursaria.

Research Projects


we have sponsored or assisted a number of research projects  that fill knowledge gaps


We are a group of volunteers working to rebuild numbers of Banksias, Sheoaks, Bursarias and other woodland species across the VVP. These trees were ecological keystones, and are reduced to a few isolated remnants.  Formally incorporated in 2016, FoFW is a community group which includes scientists, natural resource managers, farmers and others with an interest in propagating and re-establishing the three key species. It brings together existing interest, enthusiasm and past works to build a project covering all of the VVP.  You are welcome to join us in our work, find our more on our contact page.

We are nothing without our volunteers, and we are most grateful for all your help. We are most grateful to have received a number of grants and other support from both Federal and State Governments and their Departments and Authorities, Glenelg Hopkins and Corangamite CMAs, Shires, Universities, Landcare and other Conservation Groups and individual supporters .  These have been essential to filling knowledge gaps, and have allowed us to considerably increase the size and scope of our work in covering cash costs of propagation and planting, providing sites for planting, and providing work crews for larger projects.  


Early demand for timber, firewood, road and rail development as well as the grazing and cropping of land meant that by the early 1900’s  much of the VVP was almost completely cleared of Banksia marginata and other significant woodland species of Sheoak (Allocasuarina verticillata) and Bursaria (Bursaria spinosa). This has resulted in isolated woodland fragments on a trajectory to loss of genetic diversity and local extinction.


The focus of FoFW has been to collect seed and propagate from remaining remnants and establish new populations which mix their genetics, helping to overcome issues associated with inbreeding and adaption to changing environments. Local wildlife is also a key beneficiary of such plantings.

  • The seedlings are planted in seed orchards, arranged to maximise genetic diversity and vigour of seed that will be produced. 
  • The trees are GPS and provenance (source) recorded. The first plantings are already producing seed.
  • Some plantings include trees sourced from hotter and drier areas which match future expected climates. 

We have sponsored or assisted a number of research projects  that fill knowledge gaps. Over time, FoFW has built its network to work closely with a wide range of landcare groups, CCMA’s, private and public landowners, local governments, tertiary institutions, VicRoads, and other government agencies.

Currently FoFW have propagated, distributed and also shared with others the task of planting in excess of 30,000 of these three key species back into the VVP landscape from Melbourne to Byaduk. Over 130 planting sites have been used on both public and private land (click to view maps). Key planting sites are called Seed Production Areas. These include 500 plants of each species with 50 plants from 10 different provenances, including one from a climate matched provenance to assist with future climate proofing these species. We have 3 such SPA sites which include 500 of each of the 3 key species. Another key feature of the SPA’s is the mapping of all plants through the use of GPS and GIS systems. This allows all losses to be replaced each year with the same provenance. Mapping occurs across as many other planting sites as possible – currently we have in excess of 10,000 entries mapped.

With funding from the Glenelg-Hopkins CMA and Corangamite CMA, the genetics of the remnant Banksia stands were analysed in 2018 by FoFW member Dr Adam Miller of Deakin University (Warrnambool Campus). Fellow FoFW member, Dr Steve Sinclair of Arthur Rylah Institute, has made a thorough analysis of the distribution of past and present populations. These studies show that our group is acting in the nick of time – the populations are isolated but at present retain sufficient genetic diversity to rebuild healthy and resilient populations across the VVP. FoFW have also attracted funding for other research including drought tolerance of different banksia provenances and genetic movement within populations. Future research projects await further FoFW funding.

Our plantings will, over time, provide reliable VVP provenance seed sources for all three woodland species for future landcare activities. They will also ensure the survival of these species and existing provenances across the VVP.

The continuation of our current activities will provide additional opportunities for interested people and organisations. FoFW is always seeking information about unrecorded remnants of these key species and new planting opportunities. New members are always welcomed to join and help with on ground work. Please contact us if you are able to offer any assistance. Alternatively, contact Aggie Stevenson (FoFW President) on 0427 786 243 for more information.