Sunday, August 07, 2005

Logging to Extinction 

In weekend news, there was a report on how loggers in the Barmah State Forest have devastated over half the nesting ground of the endangered superb parrot. There are now fewer than 150 superb parrots breeding in Victoria, and they already have problems with illegal capture by collectors. As this logging has destroyed 60 per cent of their nesting colonies it severely compromises their chance of survival as a species.

The felling of 6000 tonnes of river red gums has destroyed one of the best remaining stands of old growth red gums in the protected zone, with large numbers of the gums still lying on the ground. This "blunder" is being blamed on the Department forgetting to check maps (and the sick leave absence of a forestry officer) before approving a logging coupe.

There is something uncomfortably familiar about this. In 1994 the habitat of our State emblem, the critically endangered Leadbeater's possum - five hectares of prime habitat forest near Marysville - was also logged after a mapping error. As in the recent case this ecological disaster was discovered accidently, in Barmah by a botanical consultant, and in Marysville by the Field Naturalists Club of Victoria.

I'm not a cynic, but a cynic might say that the logging industry finds it necessary to log major conservation value areas whenever the opportunity presents itself and it may be possible to get away with it.


  • Superb Parrot from the Save the Murray page

  • Leadbeater's Possum from Museum Victoria's The Leadbeater's Possum page.
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    You should do a comic about it. Maybe get a angry possum to take up arms get mad and bust some heads!!
    It's funny you should say that - I found myself considering the possiblities for a story for Darren Close's "Killeroo" along just those lines!
    What about that bunch of guys ripping out tree ferns near Traralgon? I thought they must have been selling them to friends on the black market, then I read they were being sold through Bunnings. I nearly fell off my chair. What quality control? What source-checking?
    That treeferns business is disgusting! There are a few fern places I've wondered about. It's inexcusable, as it is possible to propogate most species by splitting the rhizomes.

    In the forest behind our place there are no young tree ferns, just the odd immovable ancient few, as I think the locals have kept on removing them from the bush into their gardens until they've run out! Our garden itself has quite a bit of remnant vegetation, including some old native myrtle beeches, but they're in bad shape now, and again seem to have disappeared from elsewhere (though for other reasons).
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