MEDIA RELEASE 4 December 2023
The North East Forest Alliance has called out the Environment Protection Authority for being negligent due to their refusal to make the Forestry Corporation search for and protect Southern Greater Glider and Yellow-bellied Glider den trees in active logging operations on the North Coast where NEFA have identified multiple records of both species, including den trees.
“When it comes to implementing the legal requirement to protect den trees of Greater Glider and Yellow-bellied Glider it is apparent that the EPA will apply the law for the south coast but not on the north coast”, NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh said.
Across both the south and the north the logging rules (CIFOA) require that den trees of Greater Glider and Yellow-bellied Glider must be searched for and 50m logging exclusions established around them.
The EPA placed stop work orders over logging in Tallaganda (1) and Flat Rock State Forests (2) on the south coast because “Den trees and their surrounding habitat are critical for the gliders’ feeding and movement and removal of habitat removes shelter and food, making the gliders vulnerable to harm” and “FCNSW has not conducted detailed and thorough searches necessary to identify all Greater Glider and Yellow-Bellied Glider den trees”.
“On the north coast the Forestry Corporation are not looking for gliders or identifying glider den trees and the EPA doesn’t care.
“From brief surveys NEFA have identified to the EPA locations of gliders and a few of their den trees in active logging operations where the Forestry Corporation have found none, and the EPA refuses to intervene to ensure all their den trees are identified and protected.
“On 20 November NEFA reported to the EPA records of eight Greater Gliders, including two den trees, and three Yellow-bellied Gliders we had found in a brief survey of compartment 13 of Moonpar State Forest (in the proposed Great Koala National Park), where the Forestry Corporation had failed to identify any recent records, and yet the EPA refused our request to stop logging while searches for additional den trees were undertaken.
“On Saturday we reported to the EPA records of 24 Greater Gliders, including three den trees, and an isolated population of Yellow-bellied Gliders found in a brief survey of Styx River State Forest, where the Forestry Corporation had failed to identify any recent records. We have requested a stop work order, though expect the EPA to once again refuse to enforce the logging rules.
“These are not isolated cases, in September NEFA identified that across the 85,000 ha of north-east NSW’s State forests currently being logged or proposed for logging this year there are 675 historical records of Southern Greater Glider, with only 24 being made by the Forestry Corporation since 2018, and not a single den tree identified.
“Despite Greater Glider and Yellow-bellied Glider being on the verge of extinction the EPA are knowingly making gliders vulnerable to harm on the North Coast by refusing to uphold the law and ensure their den trees are identified and protected”
“EPA CEO Tony Chappel needs to explain why he considers its okay to ignore the law and harm threatened gliders on the north coast of NSW but not on the south coast” Mr. Pugh said.
FOR MEDIA INQUIRIES: contact Dailan Pugh 0400 711 054
NEFA’s reports and correspondence with the EPA are at: https://www.nefa.org.au/audits
(1) For Tallaganda State Forest the EPA stated:
“Southern Greater Gliders are an endangered species and shelter in multiple tree cavities, known as ‘den trees’, over large distances,” Mr Orr said.
“Den trees are critical for the food, shelter and movement of gliders and FCNSW is required to protect them and implement 50 metre exclusion zones around identified den trees.
“The EPA has a strong compliance and enforcement program for native forestry, and we will take immediate action where warranted, including issuing stop work orders for alleged non-compliance.”
(2) For Flat Rock State Forest the EPA stated:
EPA Executive Director Operations Jason Gordon said the protection of the Southern Greater Glider and the vulnerable Yellow-Bellied Glider was especially important given the impacts of the 2019/20 bushfires.
“These glider species rely heavily on unburnt areas of forest after much of their habitat was impacted by the fires.
“The EPA alleges that FCNSW has not conducted detailed and thorough searches necessary to identify all Greater Glider and Yellow-Bellied Glider den trees within the Flat Rock State Forest compartment.
“Den trees and their surrounding habitat are critical for the gliders’ feeding and movement and removal of habitat removes shelter and food, making the gliders vulnerable to harm.
“This Stop Work Order is necessary to ensure required measures are in place to protect glider den trees.