Location of every Greater Glider detection recorded during this study.
As part of our Strathbogie Forest Citizen Science Project we conducted 42 hours of spotlighting, along 27 km of forest tracks, surveying approximately 161 ha of forest. Most of these community surveys occurred in April and May 2017 and ran twice per week – Monday and Friday evenings. Twenty-five different people took part in the spotlighting surveys. All fauna detected during the surveys were recorded, but the focus was on three species- Greater Glider (Petauroides volans), Yellow-bellied Glider (Petaurus australis) and Powerful Owl (Ninox strenua).
During these surveys, Greater Gliders were detected 202 times, Common Ringtail Possums 46 times, Koalas 27, Mountain Brushtail Possums 16 and Sugar Gliders three times. There were no detections of Yellow-bellied Glider. We detected Southern Boobook Owls on 10 occasions, Powerful Owls four times and Tawny Frogmouth and Owlet Nightjar once each. Continue reading
A Strathbogie Forest Greater Glider – threatened by fire and logging.
In reply to Vicforests comments reported in last week’s Euroa Gazette article.
Following their contentious logging of Parlour’s coupe late in 2016, Vicforests stated that it had no plans for further logging in the Strathbogies (Vicforests Feb 2016 media release & Shepp. News). Indeed, Vicforests provided even more detailed plans to DELWP as part of a Ministerial briefing to the Environment Minister, the Hon. Lily D’Ambrosio, in January this year, as reported in the previous post (FOI document, Min023780 Item. 11):
“Once harvesting in Parlour’s coupe is complete … Vicforests has advised they have no plans to harvest further coupes in the Strathbogie ranges within the next two years.”
The community welcomed this position and saw it as providing some breathing space to consider management options for the forest and Greater Glider protection. The Greater Glider is Australia’s largest gliding possum and has recently been listed as vulnerable to extinction by both the Australian Government (link) and Victorian Government (link).
So, it came as a total shock when, last week, Vicforests announced it does have plans for more logging – this year! We know that Government agencies and corporations, like Vicforests and DELWP, choose their words very carefully, particularly when briefing a Minister.
If, as Vicforests now insists, it has always had plans to continue logging in the Strathbogies, then the advice provided to DELWP clearly had the effect of misleading not just the community, but also DELWP and the Environment Minister! Continue reading
A Greater Glider in ‘Tattoo’, a coupe next to Parlour’s that also has lots of big, old trees with hollows.
Such is the advice VicForests have given DELWP and the Environment Minister, the Hon. Lily D’Ambrosio. In May this year, DELWP released documents under FOI about Ministerial correspondence relating to Greater Glider conservation. In that correspondence, signed by the Minister 3 Jan. 2017, DELWP advise the Minister that:
“Once harvesting in Parlours coupe is complete … Vicforests has advised they have no plans to harvest further coupes in the Strathbogie ranges within the next 2 years.” (MIN023780 Item 11; page 17 of the FOI)
Logging of Parlour’s coupe finished in January 2017. VicForests’ statement is indeed good news and suggests it acknowledges the importance of the Strathbogie forest for Greater Glider conservation. Importantly, there is now breathing space to allow consideration of how best to manage this important Greater Glider habitat.
The FOI documents make for extremely interesting reading, as they repeatedly mention the Strathbogie Ranges and both the fauna survey and advocacy work undertaken by the SSFG. But there are also very disturbing revelations in the FOI documents. Continue reading
This Greater Glider (Petauroides volans) was 25 m up in a Mountain Gum (Eucalyptus dalrympleana).
Our night-time surveys are revealing a forest rich in wildlife. And the stable, clear Autumn weather has been ideal for working in the forest at night. Though the Strathbogie Forest doesn’t have the tallest of trees, craning one’s neck to look up into 30-40 m canopies can take its toll.
We document all our sightings : time of the observation, species ID, latitude and longitude, species of tree the animal was in, height of the animal in the tree and the number referencing to the photo of the animal. For example: Continue reading
Dates: generally Monday and Friday, with some exceptions – read on.
May: Mon. 1, Tues. 9, Fri. 12, Mon. 15, Frid 19 (Cancelled – rain), Mon. 22, Fri. 26;
June: Frid. 2 (last chance!)
Times: 6.30 to 9.30 pm, or part thereof. Continue reading
Logging straight through a drainage line.
We have just learned that Vicforests’ logging of Parlour’s Coupe has finished. The news came via a media release that found it’s way to us via a third party. At least Vicforests is being consistent in the way it treats this local community – as an afterthought.
On the 11th November 2016, with logging of Parlour’s Coupe underway, Vicforests announced: “Once operations have commenced, we are planning on inviting community members to view the operation in progress. This is likely to be mid December, though that is weather dependent. An invitation will be sent out via email.” Suffice to say, we’re still waiting for the invite! Though there’s little point and no community appetite to continue playing Vicforests’ games.
Most of the timber cut from Parlour’s coupe has become firewood for the domestic market. Yes, there were probably a few sawlogs in there, though we seriously doubt that much was turned into “high quality timber flooring and furniture”. At $85/cu m for firewood (retail), the contractor (who also has a large, local firewood business) has every incentive to use the wood he’s cut down, for his own business – who can blame him. Without a doubt the community pressure that resulted in the shift from clear-fell to selective logging is an improvement. But the devil, as always, is in the detail and more on that another time. Continue reading
What a great way to spend the Australia Day Weekend and enjoy the natural wonders in these ranges – and the weather was perfect!
We camped in a stand of magnificent Messmates, among them some of the biggest trees in the Strathbogies; we enjoyed a bushwalk exploring a part of the Parlour’s Creek catchment that we’ve not previously visited; enjoyed a community dinner of tasty curries; had long discussions over beverages; went spotlighting amongst towering Mountain Gums and Messmates and devoured crepes covered in lemon juice and sugar (or jam) for breakfast. Continue reading