Last week the VFA survey team went out to the incredible Plains Grassy Forests at Mullungdung, a unique and special area in South Gippsland near Darriman on Brataualung Clan Country of the Gunnai Kurnai nation to survey for threatened plants and animals. It was a very successful trip with lots of threatened species’ detections.
The team found and recorded a number of rare orchids including Green-striped Leafy Greenhood (Pterostylis chlorogramma), Fringed Helmet-orchid (Corybas fimbriatus), and a significant number of Cobra Greenhood (Pterostylis grandiflora). They also found Coast Grey-box (Eucalyptus bosistoana), a eucalypt species which is meant to be excluded from logging.
During the day the team heard and saw endangered Gang-gang cockatoos who are using this forest area and rely on hollow-bearing tree for nesting, many of which were observed in the area planned for logging.
Along with day-time flora surveys the team also conducted some nocturnal spotlighting, and found koalas, and 21 greater gliders across areas scheduled for logging. The Mullungdung forests are rich in biodiversity, and a refuge area for wildlife in a largely cleared agricultural area.
The detections will be reported to VicForests, the Environment Department, and submitted to the Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, to ensure these precious forests are protected from the threats of logging.
There are many more things to look for in the area, and more orchids to find which weren’t flowering at the time.
We worked closely with our member group Friends of Alberton West Forest to coordinate these surveys, and were kindly hosted by one of their volunteers. Friends of Alberton West Forests has been campaigning for protection of forests in South Gippsland and have even taken legal action against VicForests to halt logging in the area.
Our citizen science program is doing valuable work supporting local community groups with a team of dedicated, knowledgeable surveyors, to assist in local campaigns to find and detect protect threatened species.
Right now, our on the ground work in the forests is more important than ever. We know citizen science is critical, and often the last line of defence to protect these special places.
Please make a tax-deductible donation this end of financial year, so we can continue this vital work.