Community Needs More Input into Forest Management
Friends of the Earth Australia's concern over long term viability of Strathbogie Koala Population
Environmental organisation Friends of the Earth today said that VicForests and the Victorian State Government should grant the community greater input into forest management decisions. The organisation also said that koala surveys are urgently required in the Strathbogie Ranges, as past estimates of koala numbers are not relevant anymore.
“The community deserves better than just lip service from the Government in terms of how our forests are managed. If the community wants less logging with more emphasis on protection of country, then such views should be accommodated into management plans by VicForests. It is not sound practice to work only to satisfy the requirements of resource extraction enterprises” said Anthony Amis from Friends of the Earth.
Friends of the Earth also have concerns regarding the impacts of forestry on a range of species.
A recent visit to the Strathbogie Ranges by Friends of the Earth highlighted the unsustainability of forest logging, with recent log coupes being too large to be considered ecologically sound. It was also obvious that recent logging activities had lead to a diminished local forest environment.
It is also unclear how the forests are managed in terms of native species that inhabit those forests.
“In terms of Koalas, plantation managers elsewhere in the state are now embarking on pre-coupe monitoring, that essentially means that koala spotters are employed to walk ahead of logging machinery to determine if koalas are present. Kaola surveys are also being conducted” said Mr Amis.
If koalas are spotted then those trees and a number of trees around them are not cut. “It does not appear that this is the case with Vicforests. How are VicForests managing koalas in the Stratbogies?” Mr Amis asked.
“Friends of the Earth has concerns that the koala population of the Strathbogies may not be as secure as previously thought. We have also heard anecdotal information that koala numbers declined markedly during the millennium drought”.
“Recent koala surveys in the Strzelecki Ranges, has revealed that soil types are a significant indicator into the viability of koala populations. Poor nutrient soils have far less koalas than better nutrient soils. How is VicForests incorporating soil type into their forest management and wildlife management plans?”
“Koala populations, particularly translocated populations may also be more vulnerable to disease and cyclical boom and bust fluctuations. Koala populations have recently crashed in areas such as Macedon and Phillip Island. Phillip Island now has less than 20 koalas left. We are hoping that the same does not occur in the Strathbogies, which was once seen as having a large koala population. Logging of key koala habitat could well worsen the problem”
“We urge the state government and Vicforest to conduct koala surveys into the region to determine if the population is secure or not” Mr Amis concluded.
For more information contact: Anthony Amis 0425 841 564