Thursday, 27 April 2017

Conservationists call for moratorium on logging to save endangered Leadbeater’s possum

Victorian government asked to ‘completely prohibit logging’ on more than 100,000 hectares of the state’s mountain ash forest

Calla Wahlquist

Monday 24 April 2017 23.16 BST Last modified on Tuesday 25 April 2017 00.40 BST

Conservationists have called for a moratorium on logging more than 100,000 hectares of Victoria’s remaining native forest estate to protect the critically endangered Leadbeater’s possum.

Environmental Justice Australia, acting on behalf of volunteer organisation Friends of the Leadbeater’s Possum, wrote to the Victorian environment minister, Lily D’Ambrosio, on Monday requesting she implement an interim conservation order to “completely prohibit logging within the critical habitat of the Leadbeater’s possum” in order to ensure the survival of the species, which is at risk of dying out within the next 40 years.

The critical habitat area is made up of 171,345 hectares of mountain ash forest in central Victoria, according to recent research.

According to lawyer Danya Jacobs, about 101,400 hectares of that habitat is currently available for logging.

The proposal would see state-owned logging corporation VicForests lose access to almost a quarter of its remaining 490,000-hectare native production forests, leaving it unable to meet already reduced logging quotas.

The majority of Victoria’s native forest logging reserves are in the mountain ash forests of central Victoria and Gippsland, an area that overlaps with Leadbeater’s possum habitat.

In a letter provided to Guardian Australia, Jacobs argues that existing protections in place for the species are “inadequate and not working” and that the possum was at “very high risk of extinction if additional areas of its habitat are not protected”.


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