Pos­sums need for­est

Mansfield Courier - - Courier | Opinions/People -

A SCI­EN­TIFIC re­port on Greater Glider pos­sums, re­leased by the Arthur Ry­lah In­sti­tute and Vic­to­rian State Gov­ern­ment, has mir­rored the long stand­ing opin­ions of many lo­cal con­ser­va­tion­ists.

The re­port shows the Strath­bo­gie forests are of statewide im­por­tance for the on­go­ing sur­vival of the na­tion­ally en­dan­gered Greater Glider possum.

Key find­ings of the re­port in­clude the Strath­bo­gie forests’ sup­port for a large and re­gion­ally im­por­tant pop­u­la­tion of Greater Glid­ers (in the or­der of 70,000 in­di­vid­u­als).

The glider pop­u­la­tion in the Strath­bo­gie For­est has not suf­fered the de­clines that have oc­curred in the Cen­tral High­lands and East Gipp­s­land, em­pha­siz­ing the con­ser­va­tion im­por­tance of the Strath­bo­gie For­est pop­u­la­tion.

Many parts of the Strath­bo­gie For­est sup­port Greater Glider num­bers that ex­ceed the pop­u­la­tion-den­sity thresh­old which is used by the Vic­to­rian Gov­ern­ment to trig­ger for­est pro­tec­tion in other parts of the state.

Ber­tram Lobert, a spokesper­son for the Save our Strath­bo­gie For­est group, said it is tragic know­ing that the Gov­ern­ment had this re­port last sum­mer and could have halted the log­ging of some of the best qual­ity for­est left in the Strath­bo­gie Ranges.

“In­stead, it went ahead de­spite the sci­en­tific ev­i­dence and al­lowed the de­struc­tion of prime habi­tat of Greater Glid­ers and other threat­ened na­tive wildlife,” Mr Lobert said.

“Now, with the pub­lic re­lease of the re­port we hope that the An­drews Gov­ern­ment will act on its find­ings and im­me­di­ately en­sure the pro­tec­tion of all parts of the for­est iden­ti­fied as im­por­tant habi­tat for this en­dan­gered an­i­mal.

“The An­drews Gov­ern­ment to­tally failed to de­liver on its bio­di­ver­sity pro­tec­tion com­mit­ments in its first term of of­fice and had the du­bi­ous achieve­ment of be­ing the worst per­form­ing gov­ern­ment in more than sixty years in terms of adding to the con­ser­va­tion re­serve es­tate.”

Mr Lobert hopes that with the find­ings of the re­port, there is ur­gency to re­fresh the An­drews Gov­ern­ment to make good its com­mit­ments in the Bio­di­ver­sity Plan and 2018 Elec­tion Plat­form to sav­ing threat­ened species and pro­tect­ing pub­lic land with im­por­tant con­ser­va­tion val­ues. CHIPPED AWAY: Part of the Bar­jarg Flat coupe which was logged.

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