In just over 5 years Greater Gliders are going from vulnerable to endangered under federal legislation, and are also set to be listed as endangered in Victoria. A new study shows threatened species laws are failing to stop the decline of wildlife like the Greater Glider, an article published in the Conversation says "The greater glider is edging towards extinction, but there is still no recovery plan for this iconic marsupial."
In Victoria, so-called protections for the Greater Glider announced by the Dan Andrews government in 2019 allows logging where gliders are found and weakens existing protections in East Gippsland, which were already failing to stop decline of the species.
For years we've been hosting citizen science camp to survey for gliders in forests scheduled for logging. Sign up to our email list to get updates on our next survey camp to be part of the campaign to save these precious critters.
Greater Glider found in forests scheduled for logging in Errinundra
According to the new research despite being listed, "the amount of greater glider habitat logged in Victoria remained consistently high, with a total of 4,917 hectares logged before listing compared to 4,759 hectares after listing. And of all forest logged in Victoria after listing, more than 45% was mapped as greater glider habitat by the federal government".
Even after the devastating impacts of the bushfires on glider populations in East Gippsland, and declines from logging, there are still hundreds of coupes scheduled for logging in critical refuge areas for the glider. A study last year showed that climate change is significantly impacting the suitability of habitat. Climate refugia in Errinundra, Bendoc, and Cottonwood areas in East Gippsland, some of the few remaining areas which were left untouched by the bushfires, are slated for logging.
Source: Wagner, B., et al (2020), Climate change drives habitat contraction of a nocturnal arboreal
marsupial at its physiological limits
More than a third of the Greater Gliders habitat in East Gippsland was impacted by the 2019/2020 bushfires. Our report with VNPA, After the fires; Protecting our forest refuges, shows that there is a higher percentage of unburnt habitat for the Glider available for logging, than there is in reserves outside the fire extent. Studies have shown glider populations have declined more than 80% in the last 30 years.
GECO has been surveying for Greater Gliders in East Gippsland forests for more than a decade. Even in areas where there were once substantial populations their numbers are dwindling. Gliders need large hollow-bearing trees to den in, and have a relatively small home range which leaves them vulnerable to localised extinction when their habitat is logged.
Greater Gliders are facing a very uncertain future from habitat destruction, bushfires, and climate change. Urgent action is needed to protect all remaining glider refuges in Victoria.
GECO surveys in Greater Glider habitat up for logging, Cottonwoods