This morning I went along to an information session, organised by the NSW government, about the new flora reserves. Held at the Tanja Hall, the poorly advertised session was essentially about burning and drumming up volunteers for more koala surveys. For me, it was difficult to see a strong connection to saving our species. Thankfully, my presence was based on the expectation that there will be no real change to management and at least in that regard, I wasn’t disappointed.
However, the session did provide an answer to one question, stemming from the “Corridors and core habitat for koalas’ project, about the proposal to translocate koalas from the Strzelecki ranges in south Gippsland to forests at Tantawangalo. It appears that this proposal has been ditched, apparently because the source koalas are too diseased and trying to move them would probably lead to poor outcomes. Given these circumstances I expect no-one would want to take responsibility for deliberating putting these koalas at greater risk.
Consequently, It seems most likely that the failure of this proposal is the major reason for the flora reserve decision.
As for learning more about the new reserves, I was slightly hoping to see evidence of LiDAR mapping, also funded through the aforementioned project. Regrettably, no such mapping was evident at the information session.
Similarly, information on the alleged “vegetation assessment to assess the effectiveness of the regrowth and vegetation in the area for the benefit of the koala population and the broader forest values”, wasn’t evident.
Apparently the idea is to undertake more koala surveys and then they will decide how to proceed. I expect, if it isn’t before then, they’ll all be reaching for the matches in their pockets to ‘protect koalas’. Coincidently, attending the session was former forester Vic Jurskis, known for his belief that burning makes forests healthy and gets rid of koalas.
Also this week I spoke to the EPA regarding Forestry Corporation’s requirement to undertake koala surveys in Glenbog SF. The EPA, like me, were not happy with Forestry’s response and indicated they will be sending a letter. It seems unlikely this will do much to change forestry from doing pretty much what they want. After all if the OE&H can do what they like, why can’t forestry?