Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Tree clearing, not urban sprawl, wiping out koalas in Queensland, WWF says

Analysis shows 94% of the 5,000 estimated koala deaths due to habitat loss from 2012 to 2016 occurred outside the state’s heavily developed south-east

Mon 9 Apr 2018 19.00 BSTLast modified on Mon 9 Apr 2018 21.11 BST

Environmentalists estimate that tree clearing in regional and rural Queensland is now 15 times more destructive to the state’s koala populations than urban sprawl.

Development, and the loss of koala habitat for housing and infrastructure, was considered a key reason why the koala was added to the “vulnerable” species list in 2012.

But analysis by WWF conservation scientist Martin Taylor challenges the idea that the state’s koala populations are most at threat by the growth of Brisbane, the Gold Coast and sunshine coast.

Taylor concludes that of more than 5,000 estimated koala deaths due to loss of habitat in Queensland from 2012 to 2016, almost 94% occurred outside the heavily developed south-east.
Can Queensland Labor end broadscale land clearing, as promised?

The analysis comes amid a heated debate in Queensland about new tree-clearing laws. The Palaszczuk government has tabled a bill to restore many of the restrictions that were removed by the Newman government in 2013.

Taylor said once thriving populations of koalas in the south-east corridor had “collapsed” over several decades. But he said the scale of that problem is now dwarfed by the clearing of agricultural land, putting the species under further threat.

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