Included among the comments ABCSE reported on the new flora reserves, were those from the OE&H’s Chris Allen suggesting ” . . . the new arrangement would allow for integrated management with national parks, and most importantly with the adjacent Biamanga and Gulaga National Parks that had been returned to the local Aboriginal people”.
Mr Allen went on to suggest ” . . . We’ll be reaching out to the local community who have been really the heart of the koala project, and hopefully that energy that has seen this outcome can flow through to the ongoing management of these areas,”
It is now some months since I wrote to Merrimans Land Council, a member of the Biamanga/Gulaga management board/s, suggesting two ways to integrate management for koalas.
The first being the creation of three additional fenced areas,as indicated in map below, providing one feral exclusion area approximately every 5,000 hectares of forest. The second aimed at the potential to create employment and reduce green-house gas emissions by changing the approach to fuel reduction.
Exactly what happened to my correspondence and whether it made it to the management boards is unclear. However, it seems sensible to keep lobbying for positive outcomes.
On the issue of ‘reaching out to the community’, reports from Tanja residents indicate the OE&H/NPWS have already had a meeting, although this was initiated by local residents employed on koala surveys.
Any other consultation, should it occur, is likely to be about a ‘Plan of Management’, the NPWS are apparently developing for the reserves. It seems likely the plan will have a strong focus on burning, given that’s pretty well all the NPWS do. On a positive note I understand the ‘koala contractors’ have expressed concerns about burning where there is evidence of koalas. So this may constrain the NPWS a bit.
While it would reassuring to think the NPWS/OE&H actually knew enough about koalas to plausibly argue the benefits of their management. This assurance is uncertain while, for example, these agencies are yet to provided a plausible explanation as to why the last koalas are constrained to these forests.
It is possible the plan may address such matters, although it may take some months for the NPWS to prepare it.