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February 06, 2024

Greater gliders pushed closer towards extinction

Without warning the EPA has made changes to the NSW logging protocols that have scrapped the need to find and protect all den trees with a 50m logging exclusion zone. This weakening of protocols could mean the accelerated extinction of greater gliders in NSW.

Under previous requirements, Forestry Corporation NSW (FCNSW) were required to keep 8 habitat trees per hectare, find and protect all greater glider den trees and ensure a 50m logging exclusion zone around each den tree. While the efficacy of these requirements was open to question, any impact at all on greater glider survival was absolutely contingent on adequate surveying which, as we saw with operations in Tallaganda and Flat Rock State Forests, FCNSW systematically failed to deliver - breaching its legal obligations.

The EPA’s response to this incompetence was to remove any requirement to locate and protect den trees, which would have been buffered by a 50m logging exclusion zone. Instead, they increased the requirement to retain habitat trees by an additional 6 trees per hectare, chosen by FCNSW, which allows logging right up to the base of the tree.

Comparison between new and previous NSW logging requirements under Coastal Integrated Forestry Operations Approvals (CIFOA).

This announcement sparked an uproar from environment groups and leading scientists, and we have been working tirelessly to ensure these changes are reversed and the road to permanent greater glider protection is back in sight.

Thankfully, the EPA has been listening to our concerns - and the concerns of other experts - and we are hopeful  that we can have the previous requirements reinstated. With your help we can turn this crisis into an opportunity to do much more.

These surveys were always a totally inadequate response to the extinction pressures facing greater glider populations as well as many other threatened species, especially in the wake of the 2019-20 bushfires, which killed billions of wildlife and destroyed huge areas of critical habitat.

The inability of the EPA to insist on proper glider protection from logging has yet again demonstrated that the only rational solution is an end to native forest logging. It beggars belief that the government continues to allow the logging industry to damage the critical unburnt habitat of endangered species. How could anyone, for one moment, think that it is OK to waive even the most meagre environmental obligations on FCNSW?

Greater gliders in NSW could be heading towards an accelerated extinction if changed logging protocols remain in place.

The fight to save the gliders is intensifying.

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Australian Foundation for Wilderness Limited
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