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February 21, 2024

NSW is failing our greater gliders

On Friday 16th February the EPA announced revised 'protection' protocols for logging in NSW, which significantly scale back previous requirements.

Since August last year we’ve been fighting to protect the greater gliders of NSW, beginning with our campaign on Tallaganda State Forest. 

That campaign was based on a requirement for Forestry Corporation NSW (FCNSW) to find and protect all greater glider den trees during pre-logging surveys. Their consistent failure to do so resulted in a series of stop work orders and extensions or voluntary withdrawals from logging areas in Tallaganda and other forests across NSW. 

Under considerable pressure from a panicked FCNSW, the EPA opted to completely remove these survey requirements, resulting in no obligation to find and protect den trees.

An outcry from the environment movement and scientists forced the EPA to publicly commit to reinstating those protections. But last Friday the EPA announced the revised 'protection' protocols, which significantly scale back the requirements. 

The original logging rules required FCNSW to find and protect den trees across 100% of the logging area. The new protocols require greater glider searches to be conducted across just 10% of each logging area, leaving the remaining forest completely unexamined. Greater gliders residing outside of the miniscule survey area will not be found or protected and their habitat will inevitably be logged. Worse still, these surveys will be largely restricted to the most disturbed forest, where gliders are least likely to live. So in the end, the FCNSW got at least 90% of what they demanded.

Visual representation of how the survey requirements would work in practice, using this 145 hectare compartment in Flat Rock State Forest, scheduled for logging in the next 6 months. Any glider den tree outside the yellow bands (survey transects) would not be found.

The EPA has increased the number of habitat trees retained per hectare from 8 to between 12 and 14 depending on the location, an increase that scientists have called “fiddling around the edges". They also stipulated that greater glider surveys must be conducted - for this nocturnal species - at night. This is the only one of many expert recommendations made to the EPA that was actually taken into account.

The best protection for greater gliders in NSW is an end to native forest logging.

Without substantial change, the greater glider will inevitably spiral downwards. Yet it appears that the EPA feels it can do no more than tweak logging rules, largely to suit the needs of the loggers. There is little doubt after recent events that the FCNSW is effectively in charge of conservation policy in our forests. By comparison, the NSW ‘environmental watchdog’ appears to be a toothless guardian of endangered species. Unless the Government gives the EPA real teeth, we may lose this iconic species forever.

We will continue to do everything in our power to stand up for and protect greater gliders. 

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Australian Foundation for Wilderness Limited
ACN 001 112 143
ABN 84 001 112 143
Advocating as 'Wilderness Australia'
Formerly The Colong Foundation for Wilderness Ltd
Registered Office 8/154 Elizabeth Street Sydney NSW 2000
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