14 November 2023

Tallaganda logging halted yet again over alleged failures to protect Southern Greater Glider dens

| Claire Fenwicke
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Southern Greater Glider

The EPA has found 89 Southern Greater Gliders and 20 den trees in areas marked for logging since the original Stop Work Order in parts of the Tallaganda State Forest. Photo: WWF Australia.

A Stop Work Order on logging in parts of Tallaganda State Forest has been extended yet again due to alleged “deficiencies” from previous orders to search for and protect den trees of the endangered Southern Greater Glider.

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) originally ordered Forestry Corporation of NSW (FCNSW) to halt operations in August, after officers inspected several active logging areas of the forest and found a dead glider near harvest operations.

The order was previously extended until 13 November, however, that deadline has been shifted yet again for another 40 days until 20 December.

EPA executive director operations Jason Gordon said since August, officers had found 89 endangered Southern Greater Gliders and 20 den trees in areas subject to the order which were also earmarked for harvesting by FCNSW.

“Den trees are critical for food, shelter and movement of gliders and FCNSW is required to protect them and implement 50-metre exclusion zones around them,” Mr Gordon said.

“Our glider surveys confirm that more can be done to protect and conserve this species by identifying and protecting glider den trees and these Stop Work Orders are necessary to ensure that work is done.”

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Mr Gordon said the EPA was also investigating other alleged breaches detected in Tallaganda State Forest.

The inspections had originally been started following community complaints.

The investigations include a range of alleged non-compliances with the Coastal Integrated Forestry Operations Approval (CIFOA), such as alleged damage to the habitat of threatened species and/or ecological communities, alleged damage to environmentally sensitive areas and alleged failure to retain trees in accordance with the CIFOA.

“The EPA has a strong compliance and enforcement program for native forestry, and we will continue with our investigations and take appropriate regulatory action where required,” Mr Gordon said.

“The EPA expects FCNSW to meet the requirements in the CIFOA to protect Southern Greater Gliders.”

Separately, the EPA has also begun discussions with FCNSW to strengthen the survey requirements in the CIFOA to ensure the future protection of Southern Greater Glider habitat.

Failure to comply with a Stop Work Order can attract a maximum court-imposed penalty of up to $1.65 million and a further $165,000 for each day the offence continues.

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Philip in Narooma10:21 am 16 Nov 23

This coupe in Tallaganda SF has been logged 3 times in the last 110 years. It appears that logging within this coupe has been beneficial to the biodiversity and greater glider population if so many GG’s are found here. Why hasn’t the adjacent Tallaganda National Park been surveyed (by South East Forest Rescue) for greater Gliders? Is it because the lack of forest management by NPWS has been detrimental to their numbers?

NSW Forestry looks after the roads, infrastructure and provision of rehabilitation to forests after fire and logging operations within 1.8million hectares of NSW State forests (excluding 225,000 hect. of pine and 35,000hect of hardwood plantation). This cost NSW Forestry about $14/hectare over two years. Which was recouped from overall earnings. In most years the NSW Government pays NO funds to NSW Forestry corp. To say that they run at a loss is a complete furphy.

For an interesting look at the annual reports from NSW Forestry: Forestry Corporation – Forestry Corporation of NSW Annual Report 2021-22 . As can be seen the overall benefit of NSW Forestry corporations stewardship of NSW State forests is beneficial to the whole ommunity.

Compare this to the expenditure of NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service. The budget is about $550 million PER YEAR from the public purse to meet similar operating costs to manage national parks. This equates to $72/hectare to manage the seven million hectares of NSW national parks.

The business of logging and the consequent provision of hardwood for saw logs as well as chip earns south east NSW about $60million per year. If the timber industry closes in NSW then towns like Eden and Bombala will be severely affected. But this matters nought to the extreme green community who care nothing about the community and mouth platitudes like ‘a just transition away from the timber industry ..’ without even knowing what that means.

The timber industry has to be supported against the relentless diet of extreme green misinformation. How about hearing from academic proponents of forestry for a change?

This is absolutely unforgiveable by the NSW Government, FCNSW and I beg the Commonwealth to do what it can to intervene. Anyone with their finger in this abhorrent “pie”, needs to be held accountable. This is such a disgrace, and ee must do all we can to protect these helpless gliders!

patricia gardiner4:01 pm 15 Nov 23

Congratulations and thank you to those vigilant community members who keep a watchful eye on forestry proceedings and report non compliance issues to the EPA.
The sooner native forest logging ceases, the sooner our native species will not have to ‘battle’ to survive.
And the sooner WE will not have to subsidise a failing destructive industry.

Philip in Narooma4:08 pm 14 Nov 23

The logging coupe is 250hectares within Tallaganda State Forest, which is 5,700 hectares.

Tallaganda SF is surrounded by 160,000hec of National Parks, and logging is ordered to stop by the EPA yet again as “officers had found 89 endangered Southern Greater Gliders and 20 den trees in areas subject to the order which were also earmarked for harvesting by FCNSW”.

The EPA complains it does not have enough staff – just which ‘officer’ actually investigated the area and found these gliders. 80% of EPA Field Officers are based in metropolitan areas. It is hard to imagine these ‘officers’ are attuned to the Tallaganda State forest or even know what a den tree looks like.

If there are that many gliders, koalas and so on in Tallaganda State Forest then it sounds as though they are thriving, and logging every thirty or 40 years is beneficial to their numbers. What are the numbers in the surrounding National Park (managed in NSW at a cost of $74/hectare to the NSW taxpayer)

At some point Australia will have to realise that this mad rush to ban every resource use because of the ‘environment’ will have a detrimental effect on our future. Any pragmatic look at the NSW Forestry, in SE NSW, shows it is carbon neutral and sustainable – it has been operating for 160 years!!

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