Leadbeater's Possum - ACF, logging and forest wildlife

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Discussion



Description:
In September 1981, the Colac Times published an article claiming that the Fisheries and Wildlife Division has stated that many of the forest animals once thought to be extinct or close to extinction were now increasing in numbers. The ACF wrote to the Fisheries and Wildlife Division to check if the claims were correct. H.Memery, Director of the Conservation Department replied that the statements were incorrect.

Record Citation: PROV VPRS 11559/P1/410
Record URL: http://www.access.prov.vic.gov.au/public/component/daPublicBaseContainer?component=daViewSeries&entityId=11559
Agency: VA 551
Agency URL: http://access.prov.vic.gov.au/public/component/daPublicBaseContainer?component=daViewAgency&entityId=551
Date: 21/9/1981
Record Type: Correspondence
Event Type:
Language: en
Copyright URL: http://prov.vic.gov.au/copyright
Related Resource URL:
Thumbnail URL:
User Tags: long-footed potoroo, regent honeyeater, helmeted honeyeater, leadbeater's possum, j.g. mosely, acf, t.r.brabin, h.memery, victorian sawmillers association, john w.walters, ian penna




Image Transcript Margin Notes Body of Transcript
ACF logging and wildlife 1981 P1.jpg Australian Conservation Foundation

IP'DB

September 21 1981


672B Glenferrie Road

Hawthorn Victoria

Australia 3122

Telephone (03) 819 2888

ACF


The Director

Fisheries and Wildlife Division

Ministry for Conservation

240 Victoria Parade

East Melbourne 3002


Fisheries and Wildlife Division

Registry

RECEIVED

28 SEP 1981


Dear Sir


Logging and Wildlife


In the latest edition of "TREES and Victoria's Resources" (Vol. 23 No. 3) published by the Natural Resources Conservation League, Mr T R Brabin of the Sawmillers Association, wrote (page 24);


"There is no evidense that any species of wildlife is threatend by logging. In reverse, the Fisheries and Wildlife Department has recently stated that many forms of forest-dwelling wildlife once thought to be extinct or near extinction are increasing in numbers".


I would be grateful for your department's opinion on this statement. In particular, could you please tell me your department considers any species of Victorian forest wildlife is threatened with extinction; if so which ones and why?


As well, could you please send me copies of any statements made by the Department or its officers which convey the message that near extinct wildlife species are increasing in numbers.


As this matter is critical I would be grateful for a quick response.


Yours sincerely


J G Mosley

Director


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ACF logging and wildlife 1981 P2.jpg


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ACF logging and wildlife 1981 P3.jpg Mr Dempster


Our ref 93-1-41

8 October 1981


Dr J. G. Mosley

Director

Australian Conservation Foundation

672 B Glenferrie Road

HAWTHORN VIC 3122


Dear Dr Mosley


LOGGING AND WILDLIFE


I refer to your letter (IP'DB) of 21 September 1981 and thank you for drawing my attention to the statement in an article by T. Brabin.


I have been unable to relate the claim to any statement made by this Division and in any case I do not believe there is any evidence to support such a statement.


I attach a copy of a letter which I have written to the Sawmillers Association which will make my position on this matter clear and I will defer any further acting untill the Association has had an adequete opportunity to respond.


It is difficult to answer your question about the numbers of threatened forest wildlife species in any brief yet clear way. Opinions vary widely about the criteria which should be used to identify threatend species, and the extent to which a species may decline before it is considered to be at serious risk.


In a recent review undertaken by this Division it was concluded that ten species of vertebrates are endangered in Victoria of which four could be considered forest animals in the generally accepted sense.


Eleven other species are regarded as vulnerable to change but only two of these are primarily associated with forests.


A further thirteen species are rare or have a restricted distribution but are not in immediate danger. Four of these are primarily forest or woodland species.


..2..


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ACF logging and wildlife 1981 P4.jpg 2


THe four endangered forest animals in the first category are Leadbeaters Possum, Long-footed Potoroo, Regent Honeyeater and Helmeted Honeyeater.


The immediate threat to Leadbeaters Possum is from ecological disturbance by man. Recent recommendations by the Land Conservation Council appear to provide an adequate physical frameworik within which active conservation of the species could be undertaken but limited information on the ecology of the species and high demand for the production of valuable hardwoods make the development of adequate management prescriptions difficult.


The classification of the Long-footed Potoroo is related mainly to the paucity of information available. It was only described in 1980 and is known from only three localities. All records come from areas designed by the LCC primarily for the biology of the species we are unable to recommend appropriate forest management techniques.


The Regent Honeyeater appears to have declined throughout its range. It is a nomadic species which follows the flowering of eucalypts and banksias and is likely to be adversely affected by the progressive floristic simplification of commercial forests.


The Helmeted Honeyeater is now generally conceded to be a subspecies of a much more widely distributed and secure taxon.


Nevertheless, the subspecies is morphologically distinct and is represented by only a few hundred individuals along the margins of a few creeks at Yellingbo.


The main dangers to the species are the possible genetic inadequacy of the remaining small population to sustain itself, and the continuing clearing of farmland adjoining the reserved creek frontages.


Yours sincerely


H. MEMERY

Secretary


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ACF logging and wildlife 1981 P5.jpg Mr J.K. Dempster


Our Ref: 93/1/41 JKD:CA

7 October 1981


The Secretary

Victorian Sawmillers Association

180 Whitehorse Road

BLACKBURN VIC.3130


Dear Sir,


I refer to an article entitled "No need for conflict" written by Mr T. Brabin, representing your Association which appeared in Trees and Victoria's Resources Vol. 23 : No. 3.


On page 24 of the journal the two following sentences appear:


There is no evidence that an species of wildlife is threatend by logging. In reverse the Fisheries and Wildlife Department has recently stated that many forms of forest dwelling wildlife once thought to be extinct or near extinction are increasing in numbers.


Both those sentences are wrong but it is with the second one that I am particularly concerned because it appears to be attributed to this Division.


The statement is in fact quite irreconcilable with the known facts and I will ask the Editor of the Journal to refute it absolutely in a subsequent issue.


I have been unable to relate Mr Brabin's claim to any statement made by the division and I do not believe there is any evidense to support it.


However, before I write to the Editor of the Journal, would you please advise me where any published statement appears which might be attributed to this Division and which could be construed in the way Mr Brabin suggests.


I will then be able to make it clear to the Editor that no suggestion of misrepresentation of falsification should be imputed either to Mr Brabin or your Association.


Yours faithfully,


H. MEMERY

Secretary


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ACF logging and wildlife 1981 P6.jpg


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ACF logging and wildlife 1981 P7.jpg VICTORIAN SAWMILLERS ASSOCIATION

184 WHITEHORSE RD., BLACKBURN 3130. Phone: 877 2555 (4 Lines). Telegraphic Address: VICSAWMILL MELBOURNE

MAIL: P.O. Box 189, Blackburn, Vic. 3130

Fisheries and Wildlife Division

Registry

RECEIVED

3 DEC 1981


JWW:LMS

D.297


30th November, 1981.


The Secretary,

Fisheries & Wildlife Division,

P.O. Box 41,

EAST MELBOURNE, Vic. 3002


Dear Sir,


Re: Your ref: 93/1/41 JKD:CA


Further to your letter of 7th October, 1981, I wish to advise that Mr. Brabin has written to the Editor of Trees and Victoria's Resources requesting that the statement accredited by him to the Division be corrected in the next available issue.


The Association wished to record its apology to the Division for this unintentional error.


I consider that it would be worthwhile if ongoing communication between the Division and our Association on matters concerning logging and forest wildlife was arranged.


Accordingly, I would like to arrange a meeting with Mr. Dempster to discuss these matters.


Yours faithfully,


John W. Walters.

Director - Conservation &

Public Relations.


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ACF logging and wildlife 1981 P8.jpg Hand written text in red needs transcribing. Mr K. Dempster

Fisheries + Wildlife


Australian Conservation Foundation

672B Glenferrie Road

Hawthorn Victoria

Australia 3122

Telephone (03) 819 2888

ACF 4-12-81


Dear Mr Dempster


Enclosed is the recent Colac Herald article discussing Sawmillers claims that your division claims near extinct forest wildlife numbers are increasing


Yours sincerely

[Tom Pena?]


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ACF logging and wildlife 1981 P9.jpg Opposition is

"mistaken",

millers claim


It was time professional management and conservation efforts of the State's foresters were recognised, encouraged and publicated, rather than the mistaken and unfounded conclusions of sincere but misguided conservationists, a Victorian Sawmillers Association spokesman has claimed.


Writing in the Natural Resources Conservation League of Victoria publication, "Trees", Mr Tom Brabin denied that forests were being permanently damaged by forest product industries, particularly woodchipping.

"Claims are being made that our forests are being destroyed by the forest product industries; that wildlife is being eliminated, that erosion is speeded up - and so on.

"In simple terms these accusations are just not true," Mr Brabin said, "No conservationist has yet been able to name one area of Victoria where forests have been permanently eliminated by logging."

Too often people taking a conservation stance formed conclusions without the understanding and knowledge to form such conclusions, regardless of how sincere and genuine they might be, Mr Brabin claimed.

"What few people realise is that out forests are our major renewable natural resource and despite utilisation for production of timber and pulp products for 150 years, their productive potential is greater now than it was 40 years ago."

The cries against woodchipping were misleading, he said.

Unless the older trees were removed, they effectively shut out the light to the younger trees, supressing natural regeneration.

It had become obvious that natural nature used totally destructive fires to kill the old forests, thereby permitting full sunlight and creating a clean seed bed for the seedlings to grow and develop into forests.

Mr Brabin said some eucalypts had earned the description of fire climax species.

If they were not subjected to destrucrtive fires at least every 200 to 250 years, which was natures clearfelling method, or their regeneration was not fostered by man, they would die out.

The extensive myrtle and blackwood forests of Tasmania, where eucalypts were once the major species, was an example of this.

"It is doubtful if the critics of clearfelling realise that many of the ash forests they are arguing about are the result of clearfelling," Mr Brabin said.

"Much has been claimed concerning the damage to streams, wildlife and ecosystems as a result of logging," he said.

"It is true that there is disturbance. The aftermath of logging is unsightly for two or three years untill replaced by a regenerated forest.

"But only small well spaced pockets are felled at anytime, usually from 20 to 60 hectares.

Stream sides were left unlogged to protect water quality and preserve wildlife habitats, areas of special scenic significance were not logged, trees acting as homes for wildlife were retained and roads and tracks were constructed to minimise erosion risks.

Nutrients

What was most disturbing to forest managers was the spate of unfounded accusations frequently made against clearfelling.

"Nutrients are supposed to be lost by removal of logs," Mr Brabin said.

This was true, but what was not appreciated by critics was that the bulk of the nutrients absorbed by the tree during its lifetime were deposited in the leaves, which were not removed from the site.

There was also no evidence that any species of wildlife was threatened by logging.

"In reverse the Fisheries and Wildlife Department has said that many forms of forest dwelling wildlife, once thought to be extinct or near extinction, are increasing in numbers," he said.

"It is time the professional management and conservation efforts of our foresters were recognised, encouraged and pulicised rather than the mistaken and unfounded conclusions of sincere, but misguided conservationists, who have no professional training or experience, and no responsibility for the management and regeneration of our forests," Mr Brabin said.

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