We conducted a spotlighting survey in the Cottonwood range on Tuesday night and recorded twenty two protected greater gliders. The survey was conducted in a VicForests logging coupe where logging was due to commence any day. Where more than 10 greater gliders are found in 1km or more than 2 greater gliders per hectare of forest, the law requires 100 hectares of habitat to be protected from logging.
We submitted a report to the Department who must now implement the legally required protections and prevent logging from occurring.
The forest of the Cottonwood range is a stronghold for greater gliders. Extensive logging operations are planned throughout the range in greater glider habitat and old growth forest. Many areas have been logged already and a lot of the habitat that remains is on isolated islands of large old trees within a devastated landscape.
We've conducted several surveys in the Cottonwood range and authored a number of reports documenting high densities of greater gliders throughout VicForests planned logging areas.
You can read our Cottonwood greater glider reports at these links
VicForests surveyed this area but failed to find a single greater glider!
Logging here was about to commence in breach of the law as VicForests had failed to detect and protect the gliders. Why would a logging company want to find protected species that could stop them logging? Once again citizen scientists have had to step in to protected our threatened species from VicForests lawless logging regime and the dysfunctional regulatory system governing their operations.
Several areas of logged forest in the Cottonwood range is failing to regenerate. The Cottonwood range is a high altitude environment, 1000 meters above sea level. Regeneration in these high altitude forests often fails. Even with successful regeneration it can take over 100 years for trees to form hollows suitable for greater gliders. Logging forests on 50 year rotations means these the habitat never recovers.
Greater gliders are now listed on the federal threatened species list as vulnerable to extinction and are listed as rare on the Victorian threatened species advisory list. Logging is a key threatening process that is accelerating their decline. They need old growth forests with hollow bearing trees for nesting. The same old growth forests that VicForests want to log are also favored habitat for the species. With dodgy pre-logging surveys carried out by logging companies with vested interests and a dysfunctional and weak regulatory system, it's no wonder logging in East Gippsland has wiped out so much of their habitat in the past.
In 2016 we have conducted several greater glider surveys that have resulted in protected areas for the speceis. Since January we've saved over 300 hectares of greater glider habitat that was scheduled for logging. Once the Department verify this survey it should also result in another protected area.
We need your help to continue our citizen science work and hold VicForests accountable.