Native forest logging in Victoria emits at least three million tonnes of carbon emissions each year, new research shows.
An independent report commissioned by the Victorian Forest Alliance and released on Thursday found the amount of carbon emissions is equivalent to 700,000 medium-sized cars.
Up to 14 million tonnes of carbon emissions could be prevented if the logging of native forests ceased, according to the data.
Victorian Forest Alliance campaign coordinator Chris Schuringa said there are significant cultural and environmental impacts of forest logging.
"Victoria's native forests are so important. Not only do they store and absorb vast amounts of carbon and filter our clean air and drinking water, but they are also culturally significant to First Nations people, holding their living culture, stories, and totems," she said.
"These forests are vital habitat for critically endangered wildlife such as the Leadbeater's Possum and have huge biodiversity value."
During logging, an estimated two-thirds of a forest's carbon is released within a few years while the remainder can take up to 50 years to be released.
About 60 per cent of the total biomass is left on the ground to be burnt as post-logging waste. From the 40 per cent that is sent away, most is woodchipped to make cardboard and packaging products that usually end up in landfill.
The state government previously set a long-term target of net zero emissions by 2050.
Greens forests spokeswoman Senator Janet Rice said urgent action on climate change is needed.
"Destroying native forests is destroying our climate. There is no more time to waste. Labor can and must end native forest logging now," Ms Rice said.
Victorian Greens deputy leader Ellen Sandell said the upcoming state election was crucial.
"The Greens have a fully costed plan to end logging next year and support workers into new jobs. The Greens' plan would save Victorian taxpayers $205 million by stopping the handouts that Labor currently gives to the logging industry," she said.
Australian Associated Press