Either blind or not looking: Analysis reveals Forestry Corporation ignores endangered gliders across NSW
17th October 2023
Analysis by the Nature Conservation Council of New South Wales (NCC), the state's leading environmental advocacy organisation, has today revealed that Forestry Corporation NSW is logging forests with the highest known numbers of the endangered southern greater glider.
Map: Dark blue are areas with the highest proportion of gliders in NSW, and red is forest that is being logged. Interactive map available here
Southern greater gliders are an endangered species, and a 50-metre exclusion zone is legally required around all glider ‘dens’ - the hollows that the iconic marsupial uses to nest and sleep.
“Our investigation has found that areas with some of the highest numbers of southern greater glider records in the state are being logged right now.” Jacqui Mumford, Chief Executive Officer of the Nature Conservation Council said today.
“We also found that Forestry Corp’s pre-logging surveys regularly identify no glider dens in areas we know to have some of the largest remaining populations of gliders in the state.
“Forestry Corporation admitted that they don’t do surveys for the nocturnal greater gliders at night! No wonder they aren’t finding any - they don’t want to find them, as it would seriously restrict their operations.
“We have alerted the EPA to a raft of potential breaches by Forestry Corporation, as well as to operations still in the ‘planning’ phase which will be within some of the richest glider forests in NSW.
“We called for an immediate suspension of approved and active operations in areas of high glider records, which include Riamukka, Styx River, Forest Land and Currowan state forests.
“We are also calling on the NSW Government to at a bare minimum mandate that any survey of a nocturnal animal is undertaken at night.
“This is just one species being pushed towards extinction by this joke of a survey. There is a whole host of other threatened species that they would be routinely missing, including koalas in the forest slated to be protected as part of the Great Koala National Park.
“What more evidence is needed that this rogue corporation cannot be allowed to run their own survey work any longer.
“The only way to ensure that the assessment process is genuine is to require independent ecological pre-logging surveys (Broad Area Habitat Searches)” Mumford said.
In August, the EPA was alerted to a possible breach by Forestry Corporation NSW in some of its active operations in Tallaganda State Forest, in southern NSW.
This area is one of the remaining strongholds of the endangered southern greater glider, with large numbers of sightings and records on the NSW Government’s Bionet database, which FCNSW must consult during harvest plan development.
Forestry Corporation’s “survey” identified just a single greater glider den tree in one of the last strongholds of the endangered species.
After being tipped off by local citizen scientists about the significant discrepancy between the data and their survey, an Environmental Protection Authority investigation found dead greater glider only 50m away from the active operation, triggering a stop work order.
Further investigations identified 89 greater gliders and 20 den trees in the remaining forest.
Southern greater glider on the south coast of NSW. Image available for use with NCC Credit
Southern greater glider. Credit Pavel German