The WWF has released an updated ‘koala habitat conservation plan’ for NSW and south east Queensland. Not surprisingly much of the focus is on logging, as opposed to the management required to keep koalas when logging isn’t a threat.
The recent term ‘logging dieback’ is used to describe Bellminer Associated Dieback(BMAD), which is due to an overabundance of particular insects. However, logging dieback or BMAD seems to be confused with dieback associated with dry weather and drought, that is caused by a lack of water, brought about by reducing both animals and insects.
Exactly what criteria has been employed isn’t clear, but three areas are proposed as being important for koalas on the south coast. Along with the Murrah Flora Reserves areas of Yurrammie, that is now totally logged and Tantawanglo, where koalas are said to have become extinct 1996, are proposed. In addition, areas of Nullica SF, also totally logged and where forestry translocated koalas for ‘radio-collaring’ studies, is also included. Of course we can’t expect a distant organisation to be fully aware of regional issues and local details. So while it is a bit disappointing that no local conservation groups provided input to the plan, given the majority ignore dieback , it may be better that way.
A document produced by Chris Allen in 2010, is referred to in the plan, but not his statement -” . . . Although dieback may be a significant threat in the long-term, currently we are in a remission phase, and this should assist surviving Koalas access suitable browse at least in the next few years.” Mr Allen’s understanding of dieback doesn’t appear to have improved over the years and there is no evidence to demonstrate the management, he has implemented, has helped koalas.
A surprise email arrived last week from Chris Allen titled ‘Proposed local koala strategy steering group’, pasted below. After reading the intro ‘Dear friends and colleagues’, I assumed that my email had been included on the mailing list by mistake.
It appears Allen and some of the people he likes, will be working with a David Newell to set up a ‘steering group’. While the tacit admission that Allen doesn’t really know what direction he his heading in may be reassuring. I think it’s reasonable to be concerned that the proposed group may not be any more effective than all the other groups, Allen has set up over the years.
I did ask Allen about the availability of some information he referred to at the Bega workshop, but it hasn’t been provided. I expect the majority of people invited to be involved are in a similar position, but probably don’t care.
The test for the group will be what strategies it supports to address the acknowledged threats keep koalas alive in the wild, for more than a few years.
Dear friends and colleagues
OEH have agreed to fund David Newell (Campfire Co-op) to facilitate the initial phase of establishing a local Koala Strategy steering group. This was one of the proposals that came of out of the Feb 19 workshop in Bega. Along with those who were involved in that initial conversation, I have invited a few others to add diversity to a small design team who will be working with David to develop a framework for enabling the start-up of a steering group.
This design stage will reflect the spirit of the Feb 19 workshop proposal, that it be a non-partisan, collaborative, community-based endeavour – open to anyone who wants to have input.
In this initial design phase, options for the group’s structure, meeting and internal and external communication processes will be developed, with the aim to hold the first community-wide steering group meeting in mid-June. At this meeting, people will be able to give feedback as to the direction of the group, and work on developing collaborative actions.
At this stage looks as though the group will be established under the Far South Coast Landcare Association umbrella. In that position it can work with, but be independent of government agencies.
Dave will keep you informed as the group’s establishment proceeds.
Thankyou for the support you have given koala conservation over the years -I hope this initiative makes an important, long-term contribution to the conservation of koalas in the SENSW coastal and escarpment forests.