We know that the Strathbogie State Forest is the last stronghold for both the Powerful Owl (FFG Act) and the Greater Glider (EPBC Act) in the Strathbogie Ranges. More than 80+% of the native forest in the Strathbogies has been cleared and the remaining native forest is now isolated from similar forests to the east and south. This forest and the regional community it supports and nurtures are getting a raw deal from the Victorian Government.
The fact that both Powerful Owls and Greater Gliders are doing well isn’t just a coincidence. Despite enduring over a century of logging, there are still small parts of the forest that have good densities of big, old, hollow trees, like the 2.45 m DBH Messmate, pictured above. But this is changing.
These trees, some of them hundreds of years old, are the survivors of axe, chainsaw, tree-harvester and planned burning. In the context of our lifetimes, these trees are non-renewable resources. Where they still occur in numbers, like in the Parlour’s Creek forest, they are home to some of the highest densities of Greater Gliders known in Victoria! And in case you didn’t know, Greater Gliders are one of THE preferred food items of the Powerful Owl. Forests that have lots of Greater Gliders, in this part of the world, are bound to be core habitat for Powerful Owls; these forests not only have food-aplenty for the owls, but also big trees, with large hollows that the Powerful Owls use for nesting. Sadly, forests with big old trees are becoming very rare.
If the coupes being logged in the Strathbogie Forest were in East Gippsland, the logging currently underway would not be allowed to happen – forest management regulations would prohibit it! But in the Strathbogies, the Government is quite OK to let it’s logging business, VicForests, completely ignore these values. The Strathbogie Forest is receiving second-rate treatment from a Government that says it values regional Victorian’s and their natural environment, but then doesn’t back it up with action.
We have written repeatedly to relevant Ministers, Jaala Pulford and Lily d’Ambrosio, and senior bureaucrats, pointing out that the legal obligations on government to ensure the survival of these threatened species have simply not been met. We are waiting for someone in government to show leadership by insisting that the regulations, as they have existed for 15 years, are followed!