Illagl logging starts in endangered large brown tree frog habitat

Goongerah Environment Centre (GECO) has sent a report to the state government detailing illegal logging at Mt. Jersey in East Gippsland. GECO are concerned that logging is impacting on habitat for the Endangered large brown tree frog and protected rainforest.

The large brown tree frog (Litoria littlejohni) was thought to be extinct from Victoria until ecologist and GECO volunteer Rena Gaborov heard it calling in two locations last year. It was the first time the frog had been heard or seen in over 15 years.

Web_LLJ_2_IMG_3442_copy.jpg

The large brown tree frog (Litoria littlejohni) was thought to be extinct from Victoria until ecologist and GECO volunteer Rena Gaborov heard it calling in two locations last year. It was the first time the frog had been heard or seen in over 15 years.

Further surveys conducted by Ms. Gaborov and GECO volunteers have recorded four more locations that the endangered frog is occupying, all within the Goongerah area.

The commencement of logging operations within 550m of a recent sighting of the frog has angered environmentalists. GECO submitted a report to the Department of Environment Land Water and Planning and Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio yesterday detailing what they believe will be unlawful logging. The report also documented rainforest adjacent to the planned logging area that VicForests has failed to implement legally required protections for.

Web_LLJ_3_IMG_3441_copy.jpg

“VicForests has not conducted surveys in this area to identify threats to endangered species, this in breach of the laws they must adhere to,” said GECO spokesperson Ed Hill.

Senior research fellow at the University of Melbourne Dr. Graeme Gillespie is the lead expert on the large brown tree frog. Dr. Gillespie and Ms. Gaborov recently co-authored a scientific paper on the biology and status of the species in Victoria, recommending a careful review of the conservation status of the species due to its severe decline[1].

“There is a reasonable probability that this frog species occurs in the coupe areas. Surveys should be undertaken to evaluate this. However, based upon previous experience the 'pre-logging surveys' typically undertaken by VicForests or its subcontractors are inadequate to ascertain the presence of this species. Until a proper survey of the status and distribution of this species is undertaken with appropriate methods and expertise, these coupe by coupe issues will persist", said Dr. Gillespie

“All six sites that the frog has been seen in the last 15 years have been found by volunteers, Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio needs to resource her Department to carry out extensive surveys for this extremely rare species. Minster D’Ambrosio should certainly not be allowing logging of its habitat without evaluating the status and distribution of the species,” said Rena Gaborov

Web_Jersey_ferns_IMG_8928_copy.jpg

“East Gippsland is Victoria’s biodiversity stronghold, we have over half of all Victoria’s threatened species packed into just 9% of the state. If these species are to survive into the future we urgently need to stop logging their habitat and conduct more research,” said Rena Gaborov.

“It should not be up to the community to enforce the laws VicForests have to follow. Minster D’Ambrosio needs to make her Department lift their game and actually carry out their role as the regulator, they’ve sat on their hands for too long while VicForests has destroyed priceless ecosystems in breach of our environment laws,” said Ed Hill.

 



[1]Gillespie G.R., McNabb E., Gaborov R., The biology and status of the Large Brown Tree Frog Litoria littlejohni in Victoria, Victorian Field Naturalist, Vol 133 (4) 2016. P. 128 -138


Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.
Donate