13 Nov 2023
REPORT ESTIMATES FORESTRY CORP BREACHED REGULATIONS 1215 TIMES IN TALLAGANDA
A estimates Forestry Corporation NSW breached regulations 1215 times in recent logging operations in Tallaganda State Forest, one of the last strongholds of the endangered greater glider.
Forestry Corp is required to search for greater gliders entering or leaving tree hollows and then to protect each occupied “den tree” with a 50-metre exclusion zone where logging is not permitted.
Forestry Corp only identified one den tree across 1,800 hectares of Tallaganda State Forest.
But surveys by Wilderness Australia, the World Wide Fund for Nature-Australia and South East Forest Rescue found 27 greater glider den trees in just eight hectares. Twenty of those den trees had logging within 50 metres – a clear breach of regulations.
These successful surveys were conducted at night while Forestry Corp has admitted it conducted daytime searches for den tree activity of nocturnal greater gliders.
A by the three organisations described finding greater gliders sitting in den trees “surrounded by a sea of destruction due to logging” and called Forestry Corp’s inadequate search for greater glider homes an “astonishing failure”.
The report conservatively estimated the density of greater glider den trees in Tallaganda State Forest was 2.75 per hectare.
Forestry Corp has recently logged 442 hectares; at 2.75 den trees per hectare this suggests at least 1,215 den trees have likely been logged or have had logging inside their 50 metre exclusion zones.
The report said the destruction of den and feed trees had “significantly degraded and fragmented this habitat or killed resident greater gliders” and called for Forestry Corp to be prosecuted and Tallaganda State Forest to be permanently protected.
"The time has come. This is the point at which we must move decisively to end the wanton destruction of carbon rich native forest and to halt the extinction spiral of the greater glider,” said Bob Debus, Chair, Wilderness Australia.
“When I walked through the logged areas of Tallaganda it was heartbreaking. It has been important to expose this destruction to as many people as possible. This must be a turning point. Australians want action. That starts with permanently protecting Tallaganda State Forest,” said Dr Kita Ashman, Threatened Species & Climate Adaptation Ecologist, WWF Australia.
“The number of probable breaches we found is outrageous. We are talking about an endangered species and it seems Forestry Corp has a complete disregard for their survival, heads need to roll over this situation. As part of its punishment, Forestry Corp needs to hand over the entire Tallaganda State Forest so it can be turned into a Greater Glider Hub National Park,” said South East Forest Rescue Coordinator Scott Daines.
On Friday the NSW Environment Protection Authority extended a Stop Work Order in Tallaganda State Forest until 20 December 2023 stating that Forestry Corp “has not yet addressed alleged deficiencies in previous Stop Work Orders to search for and protect Southern Greater Glider den trees”.