Sunday, September 01, 2013

another extinction emergency looming

Last week I attended Extinction Emergency, an event hosted by Greens Senator RichardDi Natale about the increasing biodiversity crisis happening in Victoria's backyard, in the forests of the Central Highlands.

What an inspiring group of people, from left to right:
Tim Flannery, Prof David Lindenmayer, Bob Brown,
Sarah Rees, Adam Bandt and Janet Rice.
The event saw a range of inspiring speakers talk to a packed RMIT Storey Hall about the crisis our State faunal emblem, the Leadbeater's Possum, is facing due to lack of habitat. 

Speakers also outlined a vision for the future, one that is good for jobs, good for the environment, good for climate change, good for water supply and good for biodiversity, the creation of the Great Forest National Park spanning the forests of the Central Highlands of Victoria.

Tim Flannery spoke about the extinction crisis in this country and said it was the eleventh hour for the Leadbeater's Possum, concerned that we will be the last generation to see this species alive. He went on to say that if we do act we can prevent decline of species.
Professor David Lindenmayer has been studying
the Leadbeater's Possum for over three decades.
He says we need to start rethink the management
of public assets for the public good.
for the public good

Prof David Lindenmayer, renowned expert on Leadbeater's Possum, said the plight of the possum was emblematic of the failure of government policy and legislation to protect a species and that industrial scale logging was setting the possum on a path to extinction. He talked about  the Mountain Ash forests of the Central Highlands and their carbon carrying capacity, these are the most carbon dense forests in the world (read more here).   He went on to highlight that only 1.16% of old growth Mountain Ash forest is left, whilst only 0.37% of Alpine Ash forest remains and we continue to log our water catchments explaining in detail the enormous pressure our forests are under.

He talked about the science that shows that logging makes these forests more fire prone and how critical it is to have old trees left in the forests to provide habitat for Leadbeater's Possum (among other species). He raised concerns about logging and the prescriptions that guide not only how but how much gets logged and the urgent need for them to change.

Professor Lindenmayer explained the creation of a Great Forest National Park would address the lack of habitat available to the Leadbeater's Possum as the current reserve system in place is not nearly enough to ensure the survival of the species.  Prof Lindenmayer went on to talk about the wealth of opportunities a Great Forest National Park would create. 

Next up was Bob Brown, long time campaigner and advocate for the environment, now heading up the Bob Brown Foundation, an organisation which aims to help front-line environmentalists wherever they face the imminent destruction of Australia’s wild and scenic heritage. Bob spoke of the magnificence of these forests only an hour or so from Melbourne.  He spoke with great passion about the world's tallest flowering tree, the mountain ash, and the opportunity for the Leadbeater's Possum and a Great Forest National Park if 4 million Melburnians got behind it.

Adam Bandt, Greens MP (and candidate) for Melbourne announced that the Greens were 100% behind the push to create a Great Forest National Park.

Sarah Rees, Healesville based environmentalist and Director of My Environment, spoke of how critical it was to diversify the local economy of the region.  She went on to say that MyEnvironment are in talks with the local timber industry to talk about transition plans out of the industry and into new jobs.

The Kalatha Giant walk in Toolangi is a great example of ecotourism in these magnificent forests, imagine the potential with the Great Forest National Park.  
Part of the Extinction Emergency included vox pop
interviews by Rob Gell. I talked to Rob about my concerns
about diminishing habitat for endangered species in
Yarra Ranges.

It was a great event, with these inspirational speakers highlighting a vision for the future that protects not only the environment and habitat of a range of species including threatened species like Leadbeater's Possum and the Powerful Owl, but has benefits for water supply to Melbourne and carbon storage as a way to mitigate climate change.

I encourage you to have a look at the Great Forest National Park website and start to talk to friends, family, work colleagues and politicians about the issues, it's the only way we'll ever see the change we want to see. I also encourage you to visit these magnificent forests, they are truly special places and far too precious to lose to logging.

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At 8:46 PM, Blogger Dragon Days said...

I have today received an Email from Professor David Lindenmayer . Attached to this email was a PDF . it is a new paper has just been published on fire effects on Old Growth Forests. The Professor has asked us to reach out to as many people as possible with this information. If anyone would like it, you can view it from our public dropbox. Just click the link provided. #StopLoggingToolangi #LeadbeatersPossum #ExtinctionEmergency


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