2 Feb 2024


Conservation groups outraged; scientists not consulted

The NSW Environment Protection Authority will no longer require Forestry Corp to search for and identify the den trees of endangered greater gliders before logging operations.

Instead Forestry Corp will be required to protect just six extra trees per hectare, greater than 80cm, in addition to the existing requirement to protect eight hollow-bearing trees.

“I’m shocked, this is a huge step backwards. Decisions like this will hurtle this species much more rapidly towards extinction. The EPA executive is abdicating its responsibility to protect threatened species,” said Dr Kita Ashman, Threatened Species & Climate Adaptation Ecologist, WWF Australia.

The issue of greater glider den trees came to a head when Forestry Corp bulldozed thousands of trees in Tallaganda State Forest, one of the last greater glider strongholds.

Last August the EPA launched an investigation saying it had no confidence Forestry Corp had properly searched for den trees and protected them with 50 metre exclusion zones, as the government-owned corporation was required to do.

Now the EPA has removed the requirement that Forestry Corp search for den trees.  

“Eminent greater glider scientists were not consulted about these changes. We need a fundamental shift in how forests are managed if greater gliders are to survive. The EPA needs to take leadership and improve forestry rules to better protect greater gliders and all threatened species,” said Wilderness Australia Operations Manager Andrew Wong.

“Known greater glider den trees will still be protected with exclusion zones. But who’s going to identify them if there’s no requirement for Forestry Corp to do it. That job will be left to citizen scientists but it’s unclear whether they’ll be legally able to access logging areas before they’re bulldozed. This is a complete mess,” said South East Forest Rescue Coordinator Scott Daines.