Rainforest Sites of Significance (RSOS)
Rainforest Sites of Significance are sub-catchments botanically identified, delineated and rated in a four tier system. The highest and most significant rainforests are given a national rating followed by state, and regional significance. The criteria used to determine rainforest significance parallel those adopted by the Australian Heritage Commission and cover:
1. Ecological integrity and viability
2. Richness and diversity
5. Evolutionary development
6. Scientific reference and education
The Victorian State Government has never made maps or information publicly available to show the location and importance of individual RSOS in Victoria.
Now for the first time VRN has provided this information for use with Google Earth.
There are a total of 190 Rainforest Sites of Significance (RSOS) across Victoria. These places include:
The RSOS process was set up as a part of the State Conservation Strategy (1987) sought to locate rainforest areas across the State and determine their significance with the aim of recommending appropriate management and protection strategies.
The State Conservation Strategy (1987) specifically wanted all National and State Sites of Significance protected for nature conservation purposes.
The State Conservation Strategy (1987) states that:
"The Government will complete surveys of all sites or areas of ecological or scientific significance in the State and will take protective measures where appropriate. As a general rule, those sites significant at the State level or above will be preserved for nature conservation purposes and sites of regional or local significance will be protected wherever possible."
In 1988 the Land Conservation Council report on the East Gippsland Area Review
"The Council will be conducting an investigation of rainforests in Victoria with a view to making recommendations on the range of uses for them and the way in which they should be protected through reservation ".
The State Government Flora and Fauna Unit conducted a state wide survey of rainforest, partly funded by the Commonwealth Government through the National Rainforest Conservation Program.
In 1990, a total of 181 RSOS were nominated by the David Cameron from the Flora and Fauna Unit. These sites were rated as national, state or regional significance.
A 1999 Department of Natural Resources & Environment report titled, "Rainforests and Cool Temperate Forests of Victoria" by Bill Peel provided results of a statewide peer review of all rainforest Sites of Significance done by Cameron. The total number of RSOS increased to 190.
Since 1999, very little has been done to complete the process of determining specific management procedures to protect Victorian's RSOS from logging practices. See RSOS management.