Climate change and other human threats to koalas

During yesterday’s detailed and timely Fours Corners program on koalas 
climate change was referred to as a threat to koalas in the western part of their range in NSW.

I say timely because it’s a welcome addition to the Native vegetation/koala review submission and what is happening to the koalas on the ‘fertile soils’ around Gunnadah is pretty well exactly what happened to high density koalas in the Bega Valley almost exactly one hundred years ago.

The difference is of course, that there wasn’t much talk of climate change back then, so it’s difficult to attribute the loss of koalas and their primary habitat to the weather alone. Regrettably, with the Bureau of Meteorology predicting another ‘el nino’ event in coming months, the chance of extensive canopy dieback making a return becomes a fifty/fifty bet.

While the last thing I want to see is the forests turning brown, again, it may be a case of third time lucky, such that other stakeholders start to acknowledge the issue and that logging is simply being imposed on declining forests.

If not, the contribution to atmospheric greenhouse gas levels forest make when they turn brown may not be seen as a result of human mis-management and the brief window of opportunity to do something about it may be lost.


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