Endangered listing of Southern Greater Gliders: more evidence of damage

Nature Conservation Council

The listing of the Southern Great Glider as an endangered species highlights the urgent need to ban native forest logging in New South Wales.

A Final Determination by the NSW Threatened Species Scientific Committee has found that the glider, which was once abundant on the Australian east coast, has undergone a large reduction in population size and area of habitat in recent years.

“The listing confirms that the Southern Greater Glider is hurtling towards extinction. Its yet another heartbreaking example of the destruction caused by logging in precious native forests,” Nature Conservation Council Chief Executive Jacqui Mumford said.

Greater gliders are among thousands of native species under threat of extinction, including the iconic koala which will be wiped out by mid century unless drastic action is taken to protect its habitat.

“Logging of native forests is a clear and present threat to all these species, which were struggling even before the devastating Black Summer bushfires in 2019-20.”

“The listing of the greater glider, the largest tree-dwelling mammal after koalas, is terrible news but sadly not surprising considering how our forests are being managed.

“The NSW Government kept on logging old growth forests that had been smashed by the Black Summer bushfires and those that became precious havens for koalas and gliders that fled the flames.

“The greater glider is an indicator species. If the greater glider is thriving, our forests are healthy. But if they are dying out, so too are our forests. We must take this warning seriously,” said Ms Mumford.

The Threatened Species Committee has declared that –

“the sensitivity of Southern Greater Gliders to timber harvesting has been well documented. Although some habitat across the species’ range is found in conservation reserves (Smith and Smith 2018; Wagner et al. 2020), prime habitat coincides largely with areas suitable for timber harvesting (Braithwaite 1984). There is a progressive decline in numbers of hollow bearing trees in some production forests, as harvesting rotations become shorter and dead stags collapse, and hollow bearing trees are not being replaced due to lack of recruitment.[1]”

The native forest division of the NSW Government’s logging company, Forestry Corporation, lost $20 million last financial year and $9 million this year.

“Effectively, taxpayers are subsidising the extinction of our koalas and gliders. It’s morally reprehensible, said Ms Mumford.

“The NSW Government could remove the most immediate threat to our forests and to the southern greater glider simply by phasing out native forest logging once and for all.”

References

[1] NSW Threatened Species Commission, Final Determination petaurides volans, P.4

Available: https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/-/media/OEH/Corporate- Site/Documents/Animals-and-plants/Scientific-Committee/Determinations/2022/final- determination-petauroides-volans- endangered.pdf?la=en&hash=5114D04E3B812FAA599E1CFA64717FE7B6CDB6B9

Photo credit: Nathaly Jones

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