Greater Glider photobombs Wills MP over continued logging in Victorian Native forests at Fawkner Festa

October 24, 2022 at 1:58 am Leave a comment

A Greater glider puppet photobombed Federal MP Peter Khalil (Wills) and Kathleen Matthews-Ward – (Broadmeadows ALP candidate) at the Fawkner Festa. Climate activists argue that Logging of native forests is criminal in a climate emergency. The science is clear: Stopping native forest logging is key to getting to net zero argue Australian National University Scientists.

Sometimes you need to be a little cheeky to get a point across. 

The Greater glider is a threatened species living in the old growth native forests of Victoria. They would like logging of native forests to end by 2024 at the latest, not 2030. Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek up-listed the southern and central Greater Glider species as endangered in a determination reported 9 July 2022. 

The Victorian Labor Government has set an end to logging in native forests at 2030, but scientists and activists argue this needs to happen as soon as possible and no later than 2024. According to the science, forest ecosystems are facing collapse, species are facing rapid decline and possible extinction. This is an active issue in the Victorian state election which the Labor Party is not addressing. On a Federal level, review and updating the EPBC Act is important for ensuring logging has to go through the same threatened species assessment as other industries and dump the Regional Forestry Agreement process.

The recent State of the Environment report highlighted a number of Australian ecosystems on the edge of collapse, and many species threatened with extinction. Professor Lindenmayer has argued that continued logging could result in a landscape trap of a permanent change to mountain ash forest ecosystem (1,2) which would have cascading consequences on a range of species. Such as the Greater Glider. Read the key findings and recommendations of the 2021 Facsheet: Fragmentation of mountain ash and alpine ash forest, for its implications on species and species biodiversity (4)

“Our analyses revealed a significant decline in greater glider site occupancy over the past two decades. Site occupancy declined almost 80%, from approximately 60% in 1997 to less than 15% in 2018. We found that the loss of hollow bearing trees, fire and logging are all drivers of decline for this species.” reported Lindenmayer  in the 2021 Factsheet: The conservation of greater glider populations in the Victorian Central Highlands

Transition programs for workers in forestry and local communities to plantation timber and to native forest conservation and tourism are needed.

There is a global biodiversity crisis and here in Victoria it is important to conserve the high carbon dense native forests which will sequester CO2 and nurture many unique species. For our children and grandchildren.

The Greater Glider puppet enjoyed meeting all the children at the Fawkner Festa. These gliders live in Central highlands mountain ash forests subject to logging just 50-60km north east of Melbourne.

Climate Action Merri-bek stall at Fawkner Festa

This is the science:

Stopping native forest logging key to getting to net zero (ANU 14 October 2022) (3)
https://science.anu.edu.au/news-events/news/stopping-native-forest-logging-key-getting-net-zero

Leading researchers are calling for a cease to native forest logging if Australia wants to meet its net zero targets in coming decades.

The researchers, from The Australian National University (ANU) and Griffith University, say only native forests can remove carbon from the atmosphere at the rapid rate required.

The Federal Government has legislated a 43 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 2005 levels by the year 2030.

Professor Brendan Mackey from Griffith University said carbon emissions need to be reduced by around 15.3 megatons each year for the next nine years if the government’s target is to be met.

“This is about the same as the annual net carbon emissions generated by logging our native forests,” Professor Mackey said.

“Protecting and restoring native forests is a critical mitigation action if Australia is to meet its net zero emissions targets.”

Each year around two per cent of Australia’s native forests are logged. The other 98 per cent of forests are growing and provide a powerful mitigation through the natural removal of atmospheric carbon.

Some of Australia’s forest types are among the most carbon-dense in the world.

Data shows ceasing logging in native forests in Tasmania would have an estimated equivalent emissions saving of taking 1.1 million cars off the road every year.

Another recent study found Tasmania delivered negative carbon emissions due to a large and rapid drop in native forest logging.

Professor David Lindenmayer from ANU said reducing native forest logging would not only be good for emissions reductions but also help reduce the risk of “catastrophic bushfires”.

“Stopping native forest logging is essential to decreasing fire risk,” Professor Lindenmayer said.

“Forests are more flammable for up to 70 years after they are logged and regenerated, with the increased fire risk adding further to carbon emissions.

“Stopping logging in our native forests will help address elevated fire severity problems created by logging which greatly endanger people’s lives and property.”

Dr Heather Keith from Griffith University said there were also clear economic gains from ending native forest logging, including a wide range of ecosystem services.

“The economic value of native forests for carbon storage is greater than the value of forests for woodchips and paper production,” Dr Keith said.

“Switching to a long-term carbon storage role for native forests will still require a major skilled workforce in rural and regional Australia. This workforce will be needed to manage carbon stocks, including regular measurements to quantify change in carbon storage levels over time.

Local Merri-bek activists discuss protection of forests with Professor David Lindenmayer

On 6 September Australian Conservation Foundation North by North West community Group (Facebook) conducted a discussion on zoom with Professor David Lindenmayer on the state of Victorian forests and the need for their protection.

“Prof Lindenmayer AO outlines the state of our native forests and explain the drivers of forest and species loss and the increase in fire threat. This discussion will raise issues of the role of government and VicForests in the ever increasing threat to our iconic native flora and fauna and most important ecosystems. A rare opportunity to hear Australia’s leading expert in forest conservation.”

The economic case for transition is clear. Economic activity and jobs in environmental tourism is 10 times that of native forestry logging. The Carbon sequestration value is 4 times that of logging native forests. Forest conservation and tourism also provides employment to first nation people on country.

References:

Entry filed under: election, Just Transition, news, Victorian Government. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

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