A map shows where logging is currently occurring in greater glider habitat © WWF-Australia
WWF calls on NSW agency responsible to cease destruction of critical glider habitat
The World Wide Fund for Nature-Australia today expressed shock that the Forestry Corporation New South Wales is logging one of the last remaining strongholds for greater gliders, which were uplisted to endangered in July 2022.
In 20 years, greater glider numbers have declined by up to 80% in some areas due to land-clearing, logging, and climate change impacts including droughts, heat waves and more severe bushfires, ranking them among the Australian native mammals on the fastest trajectories towards extinction.
“This habitat is ground zero in the race to save this critically threatened species. We have written to NSW Environment Minister Penny Sharpe asking her to urgently intervene to stop the logging, and we are calling on the Federal Government to scrap exemptions for Regional Forestry Agreements that enable the continued destruction of such critical native habitats,” said WWF-Australia conservation scientist Dr Kita Ashman.
Bulldozers have been destroying trees in Tallaganda State Forest, which sits beside Tallaganda National Park, about 70 kilometres south of Canberra.
Dr Kita Ashman and other researchers have spent months in the Tallaganda forests.
“In two nights of spotlighting we recorded 96 greater gliders. It was incredible. It’s the only place I’ve ever seen where greater gliders were the dominant species. In most other places where greater gliders were once abundant they are disappearing. To know this habitat is being logged is extremely upsetting,” Dr Ashman said.
In the aftermath of the 2019-20 fires, WWF-Australia, working with experts, identified Tallaganda as a priority location for greater glider recovery and invested more than $300,000 into two research projects.
Collaborating with the Australian National University, specially designed nest boxes were installed in burnt forest in Tallaganda National Park to see if hi-tech homes could help increase greater glider numbers.
In Tallaganda State Forest, in partnership with the University of Sydney, GPS collars were attached to greater gliders in burnt and unburnt forest to discover how fire-damaged habitat alters glider behaviour.
Dr Kita Ashman releases a GPS collared greater glider in Tallaganda State Forest
“The GPS collars have now been removed but we don’t know if any of those greater gliders, who we watched and came to know, have been killed,” Dr Ashman said.
“We also don’t know if any of the greater glider families that moved into nest boxes have been harmed. These animals could easily be moving between the national park and the logging area.”
“Aside from directly impacting the local population of greater gliders, the logging threatens the viability of the research that has been underway to protect the species,” Dr Ashman said.
NSW ranked last on the Trees Scorecard recently released by WWF-Australia, with logging a major contributing factor to the poor result.
WWF-Australia is calling for NSW to phase out native forest logging by 2025, and follow the lead of states such as Western Australia and Victoria. WWF-Australia is also calling for the establishment of a federal environmental protection agency, and for urgent reforms of the federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act to remove current exemptions for native forest logging under Regional Forest Agreements.
People can sign WWF-Australia’s petition to help stop the destruction of greater glider habitat here: https://discover.wwf.org.au/wwf-tallaganda-logging