As reported on the Let Tanja Forest live facebook page, the OE&H survey team recently sighted a koala. This is the first sighting by the team/s since the flora reserve announcement.
Speaking later on ABC radio, observer Rob Summers indicated he’d been involved in tree species preference surveys since 1997. He now works as a contractor for the OE&H and is also one of the community representatives on the flora reserve committee.
While this level of involvement could, at least for some, raise some issues. It may not be as important as the bias that propels the surveys forward. As OE&H koala survey person, Chris Allen reaffirmed, in a recent video for a commercial tourist group, he believes koala numbers are increasing.
However, if that were the case and a lack of logging was the reason, surely koalas in the Southeast NP would not be extinct and there would be more local sightings.
He goes on to suggest management over the next ten years will be really important for koalas, seemingly confirming his general denial about threats that may prevent koalas lasting that long.
On management issues, one of the works program priorities in the interim working plan for the reserves (Apppendix 4, 2) is ‘Habitat Restoration’. The idea is to “. . . Assess areas dominated by thick allocasuarina regrowth to determine habitat restoration options. Implement habitat restoration trials over a number of the sites. If successful these may be applied more broadly within the affected areas.”
There is no doubt the occurrence of black forest oak (Allocasuarina littoralis) has greatly increased over the past twenty years. The question is what sort of trials are being proposed and whether these will account for long term changes to soils.
Ideally, information from the recently released catchment management reports, would help inform management in that regard. As indicated in the graphic above, highlighting land degradation and probable poor regeneration, within the reserve in Cuttagee catchment.
The only issue would seem to be that while soil landscape mapping can be found in the reference list in both the interim reserve working plan and the catchment report. There appears to be no reference to soil landscape mapping in the main body of either document.
On a positive note, these omissions may confirm the EPA has an ongoing role in the koala issue, if only to keep logging going elsewhere.