Environment Logging could lead to Leadbeater’s Possum extinction

Logging could lead to Leadbeater’s Possum extinction

This and other species will become extinct within about 30 years unless clear-fell logging stops in Victoria’s Mountain Ash forests.

Logging could lead to Leadbeater’s Possum extinction

Victoria’s faunal emblem – the Leadbeater’s Possum – and other species will become extinct within about 30 years unless clear-fell logging stops in Victoria’s Mountain Ash forests, new research has found.

Dr Chris Taylor from The University of Melbourne led the spatial analysis based on 30 years of monitoring the forests which identified the important areas for the Leadbeater’s Possum.

“The existing conservation reserves cover less than a third of the ideal habitat. On their own they are inadequate to conserve the species,” Dr Taylor said.

“Some important areas currently fall outside of conservation reserves and are open to logging. It is really important that these areas are brought in to conservation reserves.”

The 2009 Back Saturday bushfires destroyed 42 per cent of habitat and reduced the population of Leadbeater’s Possums from about 5,000 to 2,000 animals.

Researchers say that unless conservation areas are expanded to cover almost all remaining Mountain Ash forests the critically endangered species will become extinct.

The study is part of the Australian Government’s National Environmental Science Program and was carried out by researchers from The University of Melbourne and The Australian National University.

ANU’s Professor David Lindenmayer said that conserving the forests would benefit many species. “The best option for everyone, including forestry workers, is to immediately begin transitioning to all timber production coming from plantations,” he said.

Read more about this important research here. Story credit: Melbourne University newsroom.

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