Pages tagged "Greater Glider"
Forest areas the Andrews government recently set aside to protect the endangered greater glider had been logged before they were gazetted, providing scant additional habitat for the rare possum.
In October, the state government set aside “special protection zones” in native forests across Gippsland and the Central Highlands of Victoria, a total of about 25,000 hectares, to protect the greater glider.
The Andrews government recently set aside protection areas in native forests across the state for protection of the endangered greater glider. However, conservation groups are shocked to discover a large number of the protected areas have been logged in the last 24 months. According to our analysis, around 17 areas within the protection areas were logged before being protected.
The greater glider (Petauroides volans), a once common species, was first listed as vulnerable on the Federal Government’s threatened species list in 2016, and in less than six years, is now listed as endangered. Greater gliders are native forest dependent, relying on the hollows of older trees for nesting and shelter. Native forest logging is known to have devastating impacts on greater gliders and their habitat. The state government’s environment department released the protection areas in October, and said they didn’t know a number of the areas had been recently logged.
When we met with the biodiversity team in the Environment Department to question their decision to protect recently logged areas, the Department claimed they weren’t aware. Some areas protected do contain quality greater glider habitat, particularly in the Bendoc forest area, but others include recently clear-felled forests, many with a number of greater glider detections found. It’s very likely these animals will have perished from the direct impacts of logging operations, or following logging from lack of suitable habitat and food sources. The Department claims to have used ‘the best available science’ to protect high-quality glider habitat.
Yet photographs and footage gathered on the ground, plus recent satellite imagery indicates that protection areas in Swifts Creek, Nunniong and the Colquhoun in East Gippsland, plus areas in Mansfield and Baw Baw in the Central Highlands have been logged – some as recently as six months ago.
VFA spokesperson Chris Schuringa states, “Why is the government protecting recently logged areas, and still destroying prime greater glider habitat? It’s no wonder the species has gone from common to endangered in the last six years under this government.”
Just a few weeks ago the Supreme Court ruled that the state-owned logging company VicForests has been illegally logging in forests containing greater gliders and yellow-bellied gliders. The judge said VicForests had failed to survey for, find, and adequately protect the species in the Central Highlands and East Gippsland areas.
We are calling for greater accountability and immediate protection of Victoria’s native forests.
Chris Schuringa states,“This avoidable oversight has devastating and irreversible consequences for the endangered greater glider, for forest ecosystems and for climate. We need protection areas that actually protect intact native forests and genuine greater glider habitat. It appears that VicForests had an indication of where these protection areas might be placed, and went in to log them before they could be protected. It’s disgraceful.”
“We know continued logging of wildlife habitat is not only unconscionable, but numerous court cases show it’s unlawful as well. The only way to truly protect this species and reverse the extinction crisis is to end native forest logging now.”
Lisa Roberts from Friends of Bats and Habitat, Gippsland Environment Group, Wildlife of the Central Highlands, and the Victorian Forest Alliance
VFA Campaign coordinator
In between the madness of state election organising, our citizen science team has been hard at work surveying for threatened and endangered wildlife in forests scheduled for logging. A few weeks ago folks visited the incredible forests of Mt Delusion and Mt Baldhead near Swifts Creek on Gunnai Kurnai Country.
It was a great trip with the crew finding plenty of endangered greater gliders. While the Gippsland Environment Group court case continues any areas with gliders found are temporarily protected by the case. On top of gliders, surveyors also found an abandoned emu egg and beautiful bird orchids!
Just after the trip we celebrated the incredible results from the Environment East Gippsland and Kinglake Friends of the Forest, who WON their cases against VicForests, giving the greater glider and yellow-bellied glider much better protections from logging.
It shouldn't be up to community groups and citizen scientists to do this work, but until we see an immediate end to logging, our program will continue to survey for and protect these species, including the critically endangered Leadbeater's possum.
In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court on Friday found Victorian government-owned logging company VicForests has logged illegally, and ruled for the first time that VicForests must protect endangered greater gliders, and yellow-bellied gliders. It is two of three cases VicForests has lost in the last two weeks, following a win for Warburton Environment last week who secured better protections for the threatened Tree Geebung in the Supreme Court.
Congratulations EEG and KFF!! A massive thank you to you and the hard-working legal team, plus all the folks who got out and surveyed for gliders, and donated to support the case!
“This is an incredible ruling that will have far reaching consequences for the government’s logging agency by actually protecting these endangered animals where they are living in forests targeted for logging” said Jill Redwood, Coordinator of EEG.
“The judgement confirms what we already knew, VicForests’ logging is pushing the already threatened Greater Glider towards extinction. Our forests need to be protected and restored immediately, so all wildlife, including gliders can flourish once more.”
Sue McKinnon, president of Kinglake Friends of the Forest, said the judgment was an “emphatic win” for the community and the forests.
“The community has every right to be angry that the state government is subsidising the loss-making operations of VicForests to carry out logging that is driving species to extinction. The end of this horrendous practice is long overdue.”
This is the first time the Supreme Court has ordered the State logging agency to both detect and then protect endangered wildlife threatened by logging. The orders will have dramatic consequences for the protection of endangered animals in forests targeted for logging.
Justice Richards found VicForests to have logged important Greater Glider habitat without properly surveying or protecting gliders where found.
The judgement, available for download here, made clear that logging is a serious threat and cause of irreversible harm to the endangered gliders who depend on healthy forests and large trees for nesting hollows. Justice Richards’ stated that the “ecological evidence was that Greater Gliders would probably die” as a result of the logging.
Greater gliders are under serious threat of extinction, with their populations in some areas having dropped 80% in the last 20 years, and further exacerbated by the 2019-20 bushfires. The groups are calling for the state Labor Government to end logging now, not in 8 years’ time.
Last night 66 citizen scientists from community groups across Victoria took part in a coordinated big night of surveying for endangered Greater Gliders. Surveys were carried out over 12 areas scheduled for logging, across 6 locations from Toolangi, Black Range near Taggerty, Warburton in the Central Highlands, Alberton West in Gippsland, Colquhoun State Forest in East Gippsland, and Wombat State Forest in the Central West.
60 Greater Gliders were found across the state! Many of these areas will now be temporarily protected by the Kinglake Friends of Forest, Environment East Gippsland and Gippsland Environment Group court case.
President of Kinglake Friends of the Forest, Sue McKinnon, says: “The abundance of gliders found by citizen scientists last night is evidence of the disturbing reality: Greater Gliders and VicForests want the same forests, the few left with big, old trees.”
“This is a massive community effort to protect our native wildlife from extinction. It is shocking that this work is left up to community members. Making sure that endangered species habitat isn’t logged should be the job of government.”
Lisa Roberts from Friends of Bats and Habitat Gippsland said; "We love going out night surveying for Greater Gliders. It's extraordinarily beautiful in the bush at night under bright stars and a moon (even in the cold). We look for eye shine in the night and it's super exciting when we find them!"
"We go out at night surveying for threatened fauna because we're trying to stop logging. It's totally heartbreaking to see bush that we've walked in smashed and clear-felled. Even in the night, logged forest lets in the light, we can see the light of a smashed logged forest from a long way away. Under the canopy of an old intact forest, you only get glimpses of the moon and stars beyond the trees."
The state government does not conduct its own surveys for endangered species before approving logging to go ahead in areas across Victoria. Even when endangered species are found, most receive little or no protection from logging under state laws. Native forest logging is exempt from Federal Environment Laws under so-called “Regional Forest Agreements”. Due to a current court case against state logging agency VicForests, run by community groups Kinglake Friends of the Forest, Environment East Gippsland, and Gippsland Environment Group, confirmed detections of Greater Gliders currently trigger the protection of the forest in which they are found.
The community groups allege that the government logging agency does not survey adequately for Greater Gliders or properly protect them. Expert witness for the community groups, Professor Grant Wardell-Johnson stated in court that Greater Gliders in logging coupes are likely to be dead soon after the logging operation, in some cases from starvation or predation. In July the Greater Glider was uplisted to endangered. Logging of its habitat has been highlighted as a major contributor to an 80% decline of Greater Glider populations over the last 20 years.
The state government has recently passed new laws that will see harsh penalties for people protesting logging operations as well as citizen scientists surveying in forests scheduled for logging.
Natalie Hogan, lawyer at Environmental Justice Australia, says: “The new laws will not only affect forest protectors engaged in legitimate political expression; they also put the critical role of our citizen scientists in jeopardy as they too face harsh and disproportionate penalties for entering logging coupes to survey for wildlife.”
“Citizen scientists, conservationists, environment groups and members of the community who conduct wildlife surveys play a vital role in collating data for Victoria’s Biodiversity Atlas. The observations collated in the Atlas are crucial for government decision-making – showing where wildlife is now and how this has changed over time.”
“Our vital ecosystems are currently facing increasing threats from logging and climate change, all in the wake of devastating bushfires, and citizen science is more important than ever.”
The Victorian Forest Alliance is disappointed the Victorian Government has used taxpayers’ money to go to court to continue logging the Greater Glider closer to extinction — just weeks after the Glider was officially declared endangered.
Victorian Government owned logging "business" VicForests — which had to be bailed out with another $21.21M by taxpayers last year — went to the Supreme Court this week to win the right to log native forest that it openly admitted Greater Gliders are living in.
Despite confirmed detections of Greater Gliders in the native forest areas scheduled for logging, VicForests stated it refused to survey to see if there were more there. VFA spokesperson Nic Fox said the public was mostly unaware they are paying for these endangered animals to be logged into extinction or that VicForests was losing more money each year.
"If VicForests, again, logged roughly 3000 hectares of forest last year, then taxpayers lost $7000 per hectare that VicForests bulldozed,” said Ms Fox. “It’s because they have already logged most of the mature forest and now rely on younger forest containing almost entirely small trees which end up being low-value wood chips.”
Earlier this month, yet another peer-reviewed scientific study came out revealing logging increases bushfire risk around our country towns, this time by renowned fire scientist Ross Bradstock. Ms Fox says, “The continued logging of our remaining unburnt native forests by VicForests is making our country towns less safe.
“This horrible waste has to end — this money could be used to hire country nurses and pay the remaining logging crews as year-round firefighters, extending their current summer employment."
The VFA considers the Victorian Government to be in clear breach of its Regional Forest Agreement with the Commonwealth to protect endangered species (through the Federal EPBC Act, which the state promises to enforce at state level).
Victorian Forest Alliance (VFA)
Media and Communications Officer
0412 893 513
Citizen scientists supported by the Victorian Forest Alliance visited Mt Alfred on Gunnai Kurnai Country last weekend to join local environment groups Gippsland Environment Group and Friends of Bats and Habitat Gippsland to survey for endangered Greater Gliders in forests scheduled for logging. Surveyors also stumbled across a large population of Long-flower Beard-heath (Styphelia sieberi) in an area scheduled for logging. This rare plant has a small distribution in East Gippsland, sadly the protections for the species mean that logging can still go ahead where populations are found.
A number of gliders were recorded and reports have been submitted to the government. The glider was only listed as endangered under federal law earlier this month, yet critical Greater Glider habitat is still scheduled for logging by the Andrews government.
Right now, forests where Greater Gliders are found are being temporarily protected thanks to landmark legal action taken by Gippsland Environment Group, Kinglake Friends of the Forest, and Environment East Gippsland. Without the work of these community groups, their legal team, and passionate citizen scientists, many areas would have been logged already.
You can help to stop logging in precious Greater Glider habitat across Victoria by donating to support the case!
Night-time photos by Lisa Roberts from Friends of Bats and Habitat
The Southern Greater Glider has been listed as endangered today under federal environment laws. The species, often described as a ‘gliding koala’, was a common species found in native forests across Victoria, but in the last 30 years has experienced massive declines from the impacts of logging, bushfires, and climate change. The glider is a nocturnal animal that feeds exclusively on Eucalyptus leaves.
The 2019/2020 bushfires wiped out more than a third of the Greater Glider’s habitat. Despite this, the Victorian government continues to log forests where Greater Gliders are found, destroying their habitat. More than 85% of native forests logged end up wood-chipped for paper and cardboard products, and there are enough existing plantations to completely phase out destructive native forest logging. The conservation advice for the Greater Glider released by the federal environment department highlights the importance of protecting hollow-bearing trees, stating that;
Unburnt areas provide critical refuges for greater gliders in regions heavily impacted by fires, as they may be the only areas with the requisite habitat attributes within extensive landscapes for many years