much focus on Victoria’s state faunal emblem, the Leadbeater’s Possum, it’s
still under threat, listed as endangered
and nominated for consideration as critically endangered.
two key threats to its ongoing existence are logging and fire. Sadly it’s
habitat continues to be logged in Victoria. Most recently a coupe (Rusty in
Toolangi) containing 101 hollow bearing trees, habitat critical for the ongoing
survival of Leadbeater’s Possum, is being logged to supply woodchip (80%),
pallet wood (17%) and a tiny 3% highgrade timber.
been a long history of efforts to protect this species. In 2012, the much respected Professor David Lindenmayer, Australia’s
foremost expert on the Leadbeater’s Possum (LBP) and their habitat with 30
years’ experience and research, quit the LBP Recovery Team stating that the
Victorian government was “managing the Leadbeater’s Possum into extinction.”
Prof David Lindenmayer remains one of the critical
voices in the fight for the Leadbeater’s Possum and the Central Highlands of
Despite the ongoing work and focus of many the Leadbeater’s Possum remains
|Toolangi locals and those concerned further afield|
are campaigning to highlight logging and its
contribution to extinction, this banner will be
adjusted every week to reflect how many people
have been following the issue online, last Sunday
the number of people exceeded 1.1million.
lead up to the Victorian State Election there has been an enormous advocacy
campaign to see the creation of a Great Forest National Park,
Prof David Lindenmayer said of the park “The
Great Forests National Park is an investment for the long-term because it will
secure Melbourne's domestic water supply catchments, a suite of new economic
opportunities for the region will roll-out, and the state's faunal emblem, the
Leadbeater's Possum, among others, will be brought back from the brink of
|Greens Senator Janet rice visited Toolangi late last year.|
In September, 2013, The Greens announced their
support for the Great Forest National Park and called on broader support for
the creation of the park. They said “The
Victorian state government is logging some of the Leadbeater's Possum's last
remaining habitat, in Victoria's Central Highlands. This logging is
driving this endangered animal to extinction. With fewer than 1000 remaining, we need a National Park to ensure they
the recent submissions, as part of the Leadbeater’s Possum Advisory Group (LPAG)
consultations, 70% of submissions recommended the creation of a Great Forest
National Park as a course of action. Other issues raised as part of the LPAG submissions
· The need to secure habitat for Leadbeater’s
Possum now and into the future, and to ensure this habitat has connectivity and
a distribution of age classes.
· A call for the end of clearfall timber
harvesting. There is an opinion that timber harvesting should be migrated to
· Protection of Leadbeater’s Possum colonies was a strong theme throughout the
submissions. In line with the position adopted by the leading scientist on the
David Lindenmayer, many submissions adopted either all his recommendations
or variations on those recommendations.
· Address forestry prescriptions to secure environmental benefits –
particularly the protection of old growth forest and the need to ensure the
recruitment of the next generation of old growth.
· Lack of information and transparency – a call for an end to the (perceived)
subsidisation of VicForests, clarity on the sustainability of native timber
harvest and the economic impacts/benefits of native timber harvest.
from the LPAG are disappointing, but given the terms of reference were framed 'supporting the recovery of the Leadbeater's
Possum while maintaining a sustainable timber industry', it’s not surprising.
Recommendations contained will still impact on the
long term survival of the species, with Prof Lindenmayer stating
think it’ll buy the Leadbeater’s Possum maybe five, at most ten years. The
possum might survive 25, 30 years from now, instead of 15 to 20 years, (but)
this is about 10 per cent of what is needed.” Prof Lindenmayer said the report
had ignored the 31 years of science he had contributed on the possum and the
ecology of the Central Highlands forests.
Friends of Leadbeater’s Possum labelled the LPAG recommendations as mediocre
and have detailed their response to the 13 LPAG recommendations here.
got a long history of the issues around logging and leadbeater’s on my blog,
click here if you’d
like to read some past stories.
the community continues to protest the logging in Toolangi and #saverusty is
getting a lot of exposure on social media platforms as a way to highlight the
plight of our forests and the wildlife that lives in them. You can find out more about that campaign by
searching #saverusty and don’t forget to sign up to support the GreatForest National Park too.
Labels: #saverusty, cr samantha dunn, leadbeaters possum, logging, toolangi, yarra ranges