Tag Archives: habitat

Estimating the density of the Greater Glider in the Strathbogie Ranges

The report documenting the findings of the 2017 Strathbogie Forest Greater Glider surveys, conducted by DELWP’s Arthur Rylah Institute, has finally been released.

ARI report front cover

Main findings:

  • The Strathbogie Forest supports a large and regionally important population of Greater Gliders.
  • The Greater Glider population in the Strathbogie Forest has not suffered the declines that have occurred in the Central Highlands and East Gippsland, reinforcing the conservation importance of the Strathbogie Forest population.
  • Government data shows that many parts of the Strathbogie Forest support Greater Glider numbers that exceed the high-density threshold that would lead to forest protection in other parts of the state.

Summary of results (in italics):

  • Greater Glider population in Strathbogie Forest is ca. 70,000 individuals.
  • The detectability of individual Greater Gliders is low, suggesting that raw spotlight counts may greatly underestimate densities.
  • The three surveyed coupes (Barjarg Flat, Mr Hat and Tartan) have a Greater Glider population of ca. 500 Greater Gliders.
  • Greater Gliders in the Strathbogie Forest occur at densities of 2 to 4/ha. [Extrapolating, nine remaining coupes (370 ha) on the TRP have a Greater Glider population of 740 to 1480 individuals.]
  • Generally, hollow-bearing trees were larger in coupes (mean DBH 118 cm), than outside coupes (mean DBH 89 cm), [suggesting that logging coupes are targeting higher conservation value areas of forest].
  • Higher numbers of Greater Gliders were found on transects with large trees, particularly trees >100 cm DBH.
  • The results of the study indicate that higher quality habitat for Greater Gliders includes areas containing a high proportion of Blue Gum and Mountain Gum and with a high proportion of trees larger than 100 cm DBH.
DSCN0708 Greater Gliderv L. Williams a

Strathbogie Forest Greater Glider (Image Lance Williams)

 

Hey Dan Andrews – hands off Mr Hat!

And the other eight coupes due to be logged in the Strathbogie Forest – 369 ha in total.

Strathbogie Forest TRP coupes detail

The two coupes recently logged (underlined) and remaining nine coupes on the chopping block.

You’ve already logged some of the highest conservation value forest left in the entire Strathbogie Ranges and it looks like Mr Hat and Tartan coupes are next, yet both have been shown by government surveys to have high numbers of Greater Gliders. Scientific research has repeatedly demonstrated that healthy, intact, carbon-dense forests are one of the best and most cost-effective defenses available to avert dangerous climate change, yet native forest logging continues, here in the Strathbogie Forest and across Victoria.

Government policy on logging native forests is completely out of step with regional Victorian’s opinion and values. And that’s certainly true in the Strathbogies!

 

Mr Hat coupe is on the east side of Stan’s Tk in the Parlour’s Creek catchment, to the north-east of Parlour’s Creek coupe (logged in 2017). And it’s adjacent to Stan’s coupe, (logged in 2009). Government surveys found the equivalent of 20, 12 and 10 Greater Gliders per kilometer (equiv.) in the three survey transects – detection rates that protect  forest from logging elsewhere in Victoria! Continue reading

Vic Government to log Greater Glider stronghold

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At 3.5 m dbh, this Messmate is one of the oldest trees we’ve found anywhere in the forest!

The Victorian Government has given it’s commercial logging arm, Vicforests, the green light to log part of the Strathbogie forest that has the highest documented densities of Greater Gliders anywhere in Victoria, perhaps Australia. Good one Dan!

And as of 15 February 2018, logging is underway.

In late 2017 government ecologists undertook detailed surveys for Greater Gliders in the Strathbogie State Forest. This was a collaborative project, a welcome opportunity to share and build knowledge. It acknowledged the community’s involvement in forest management advocacy, as well as the citizen science surveys conducted in the last two years. A government report on the findings is being prepared. The project surveyed  a number of 500 m transects, both in coupes and in other areas of state forest. The survey detected 14 Greater Gliders in one of the 500 m transects located in Barjarg Flat coupe! These government surveys confirm what last year’s community surveys  found: that the Strathbogie State Forest is a Greater Glider hot-spot. The Greater Glider is a threatened species listed under both Federal and Victorian environmental legislation. Where such detection rates occur in other parts of the state, the government is obliged to create a 100 ha protection zone in that habitat. But here in the Strathbogies – zero, nothing!

Continue reading

Tree-top living, just don’t look down

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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

No Plan – “No Complications”

Logging straight through a drainage line.

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