Impacts of planned burns on the Southern Greater Glider

This planned burn scorched the canopy, collapsed habitat trees and burnt through gullies

Importance of Strathbogie State Forest for the Greater Glider

The 24,000 ha Strathbogie State Forest in north-east Victoria was declared an Immediate Protection Area (IPA) by the Victorian Government in November 2019 on the basis of its state-wide importance as habitat for the nationally endangered Southern Greater Glider.  This declaration formed part of the recommended conservation actions in the Action Statement prepared for this species under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act to help ensure its survival (DELWP 2019). 

2023 Greater Glider surveys

Areas scheduled for burning in 2023 are known to contain critical habitat for Greater Glider (see full report below), however Greater Glider occupancy in some of these areas prior to 2023 was poorly known. We have conducted nocturnal surveys in several of the burn areas.

Results of these surveys re-emphasize the importance of this forest for the long-tern conservation of the Greater Glider and two of the burn units have glider populations at least has high as anywhere else in the Strathbogie Forest. Even the western-most unit, Strathbogie South-Ruoaks Rd, contains a glider population with detection rates far in excess of most other forest areas in Victoria (DCCEEW 2022).

Summary table of Greater Glider detections in the blocks planned for burning 2023. *Numbers from the Victorian Biodiversity Atlas are approximate given the location accuracy of some records in relation to burn unit boundaries

Available evidence shows that the Strathbogie Forest currently contains high densities of Greater Glider and a high population overall. There is considerable evidence that planned burns in the Strathbogie Forest have an overall degrading effect on the ecological health of the forest.

That several of the burn areas are designated Special Protection Zones where management aims to minimize disturbance, underscores that these planned burns are incompatible with Greater Glider conservation objectives.

Based on evidence from other studies and our own surveys, the planned burns in these five blocks will cause significant loss of suitable habitat for the Greater Glider, resulting in direct mortality during the fire and subsequent mortality post-fire (Legge et al. 2021). We estimate that this season’s planned burns are likely to kill approximately 450 Greater Gliders, perhaps many more.

We call on the Victorian Government to:

  • Cancel these burns while a thorough, evidence-based assessment of the impact of planned burns on Greater Glider in the Strathbogie Forest is undertaken.
  • Refer these and all scheduled burns in the Strathbogie Forest to the EPBC impact assessment unit.
  • Develop a transparent regulatory framework, or an independent arbiter/process, to assess the impact of planned burns on biodiversity assets such as threatened species and their habitat. 

Download the full report below

2 responses to “Impacts of planned burns on the Southern Greater Glider

  1. Why do they have to keep f*cking with nature. When it is time for a burn it will burn. Who do these “experts” think they are? God? Around here the state forests are supposed to be sanctuaries for wildlife, yet now I see they are allowing “timber management” as well as the controlled burns. Trees are sitting ducks and critters who live in them are by proxy. Leave the trees and their critters alone!

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