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Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

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endangered species

More mountain forests at risk from logging

In February 2022, VicForests released its proposed 2022 Timber Release Plan (TRP). The TRP outlines the forest areas it intends to log. Community groups are able to submit submissions to the process, but TRPs are generally then ‘rubber stamped’ despite calls for specific high conservation areas to be protected. The comment period for the TRP has now closed.

While there were very significant forests in the Central Highlands and South Gippsland scheduled for logging (such as at Tanglefoot picnic ground in Toolangi, the Wallaby catchment in the Kinglake National Park, Snobs Creek Valley, a large coupe near Noojee, and 14 coupes between Cambarville and Matlock), there are also a number of areas proposed for logging in the high country.

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There is still time to protect the Little Dargo

The fires of 2019/20 burnt huge areas of north eastern Victoria. The remaining unburnt forests are more important than ever. One of these areas lies in the headwaters of the Little Dargo River, just south of Mt Hotham. It is a pristine area, without roads, and containing mature forest, much of it dominated by Alpine Ash. It is an area of state forest that lies right next to the Alpine National Park.

The state government logging agency, VicForests, intends to log a total of 11 “coupes”, or sections, of mature forest in the upper Little Dargo River, probably this spring. These coupes are located in a series of clusters, where separate sections of bush will be harvested, creating a large zone of cleared land over time. Extensive roading networks will be needed to access the coupes.

One coupe has already been logged. The remaining coupes have not yet been scheduled for harvesting. There is still time to stop this ecological disaster – if we act now.

Continue reading “There is still time to protect the Little Dargo”

Forum: Threatened species and fire recovery

Upper Ovens Landcare are hosting a one day forum with the focus of ‘sharing stories from the Upper Ovens Valley’ about species recovery after fire. It will be held at  Dingo Dell, Mt Buffalo national park on Saturday 30 April 2022.

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National Threatened Species Day 2021

Every year on September 7, National Threatened Species Day is commemorated across Australia to raise awareness of plants and animals at risk of extinction.

There are currently 457 species of fauna and 1348 species of flora listed as vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered under Australia’s Environment and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). Many of these are found nowhere else in the world.

This is a summary of some of the threats facing mountain species.

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Threatened Species and Fire Recovery: a special community event

Endangered snow leopards or mountain gorillas? Not in Australia – but we do have native animals and plants threatened with extinction, right here in the Upper Ovens Valley.

The Upper Ovens Valley Landcare Group is hosting a special community event on Saturday June 19 to explore the ecology of some of these very special local species, why they are at risk and what can be done about it.  

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Good news for the Mountain Pygmy Possum

The mountain pygmy possum (MPP) is a small animal of The Australian high country. Since, 2008, it has been declared by the IUCN Redlist as Critically endangered. Population estimates totalled less than 2000 individuals from the three combined isolated populations in 2000.

They are reliant on Bogong Moths to build up reserves for winter and for successful breeding. The lack of moths has had a significant impact on breeding in recent summers. But there is some good news from the 2020/21 summer.

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New species of rare frog discovered, threatened by logging

Goongerah Environment Centre (GECO) based in far East Gippsland has long been working to protect remaining forests in that part of the state. Working with allies like the Flora and Fauna Research Collective, they have led citizen science projects which have frequently found threatened or endangered species in areas scheduled for logging, then used the law to gain protection of the habitat these species rely on.

Now GECO is warning that a population of the vulnerable  Large Brown Tree Frog is threatened by logging and that a Special Protection Zone placed around the logging is insufficient.

Continue reading “New species of rare frog discovered, threatened by logging”

Remembering the mountain pygmy-possum on National Threatened Species Day

 National Threatened Species Day happens on 7 September.  It is a day to consider native plants, animals and ecosystems that are under threat and how we can protect them into the future. 

It is held annually to commemorate the night of 7 September 1936 when the last Tasmanian tiger died in Hobart Zoo. With the death of this animal the thylacine species became extinct. 

This year we thought we would focus on the mountain pygmy-possum.

Continue reading “Remembering the mountain pygmy-possum on National Threatened Species Day”

Salvage logging in Alpine Ash forests

Last summer’s fires devastated huge sections of Eastern Victoria, and disrupted regional economies in the east of the state.

They burned 1.4 million hectares, much of it forested public land. They destroyed more than 50% of the habitat for 185 rare and threatened Victorian plants and animals. They pushed already critically endangered species like the greater glider, smoky mouse, others perilously close to extinction. They also impacted large areas of Alpine Ash forest, which the government now intends to log.

Continue reading “Salvage logging in Alpine Ash forests”

Parliamentary Inquiry into tackling the extinction crisis in Victoria

We rely on healthy ecosystems for our survival. Victoria is the most cleared state in the country and natural ecosystems have faced centuries of land clearing, logging, invasion of invasive species and other threatening processes. The mountains that we love are already under threat from climate change: as fire seasons become longer and more intense, and as winter snowpack declines.

Now the Victorian parliament has announced an Inquiry into Ecosystem Decline. This is an important opportunity to show that the community wants to see ecosystems restored and species protected from extinction.

Please read on for ideas on how to write a submission to the Inquiry.

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What mountain species were impacted by last summer’s fires?

We know how devastating last summer’s fires were on local economies across the country. The ecological impact becomes ever more clearly understood, although some on ground research has been slowed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In February 2020, the Federal Environment Department released an initial list of threatened ecological communities which have more than 10% of their estimated distribution in areas affected by bushfires in southern and eastern Australia between 1 July 2019 and 11 February 2020. What are the known impacts in mountain environments?

Continue reading “What mountain species were impacted by last summer’s fires?”

Leadbeater’s Possum found in active logging site near Baw Baw

Recently, members of Wildlife of the Central Highlands (WOTCH) observed a critically endangered Leadbeater’s Possum within an active logging coupe (480-509-0013, called ‘Desilijic’) in the Central Highlands to the east of Melbourne. Habitat just 100 metres away had already been clearfelled – well within the buffer zone triggered by this Leadbeater’s Possum detection.

Now WOTCH have heard that an interim protective buffer zone has been established surrounding the Leadbeater’s Possum detection.

Yet again, this highlights the value of citizen science in ensuring endangered species are protected.

Continue reading “Leadbeater’s Possum found in active logging site near Baw Baw”

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