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Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

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endangered species

Threatened Species and Fire Recovery: a special community event

Endangered snow leopards or mountain gorillas? Not in Australia – but we do have native animals and plants threatened with extinction, right here in the Upper Ovens Valley.

The Upper Ovens Valley Landcare Group is hosting a special community event on Saturday June 19 to explore the ecology of some of these very special local species, why they are at risk and what can be done about it.  

Continue reading “Threatened Species and Fire Recovery: a special community event”

Good news for the Mountain Pygmy Possum

The mountain pygmy possum (MPP) is a small animal of The Australian high country. Since, 2008, it has been declared by the IUCN Redlist as Critically endangered. Population estimates totalled less than 2000 individuals from the three combined isolated populations in 2000.

They are reliant on Bogong Moths to build up reserves for winter and for successful breeding. The lack of moths has had a significant impact on breeding in recent summers. But there is some good news from the 2020/21 summer.

Continue reading “Good news for the Mountain Pygmy Possum”

New species of rare frog discovered, threatened by logging

Goongerah Environment Centre (GECO) based in far East Gippsland has long been working to protect remaining forests in that part of the state. Working with allies like the Flora and Fauna Research Collective, they have led citizen science projects which have frequently found threatened or endangered species in areas scheduled for logging, then used the law to gain protection of the habitat these species rely on.

Now GECO is warning that a population of the vulnerable  Large Brown Tree Frog is threatened by logging and that a Special Protection Zone placed around the logging is insufficient.

Continue reading “New species of rare frog discovered, threatened by logging”

Remembering the mountain pygmy-possum on National Threatened Species Day

 National Threatened Species Day happens on 7 September.  It is a day to consider native plants, animals and ecosystems that are under threat and how we can protect them into the future. 

It is held annually to commemorate the night of 7 September 1936 when the last Tasmanian tiger died in Hobart Zoo. With the death of this animal the thylacine species became extinct. 

This year we thought we would focus on the mountain pygmy-possum.

Continue reading “Remembering the mountain pygmy-possum on National Threatened Species Day”

Salvage logging in Alpine Ash forests

Last summer’s fires devastated huge sections of Eastern Victoria, and disrupted regional economies in the east of the state.

They burned 1.4 million hectares, much of it forested public land. They destroyed more than 50% of the habitat for 185 rare and threatened Victorian plants and animals. They pushed already critically endangered species like the greater glider, smoky mouse, others perilously close to extinction. They also impacted large areas of Alpine Ash forest, which the government now intends to log.

Continue reading “Salvage logging in Alpine Ash forests”

Parliamentary Inquiry into tackling the extinction crisis in Victoria

We rely on healthy ecosystems for our survival. Victoria is the most cleared state in the country and natural ecosystems have faced centuries of land clearing, logging, invasion of invasive species and other threatening processes. The mountains that we love are already under threat from climate change: as fire seasons become longer and more intense, and as winter snowpack declines.

Now the Victorian parliament has announced an Inquiry into Ecosystem Decline. This is an important opportunity to show that the community wants to see ecosystems restored and species protected from extinction.

Please read on for ideas on how to write a submission to the Inquiry.

Continue reading “Parliamentary Inquiry into tackling the extinction crisis in Victoria”

What mountain species were impacted by last summer’s fires?

We know how devastating last summer’s fires were on local economies across the country. The ecological impact becomes ever more clearly understood, although some on ground research has been slowed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In February 2020, the Federal Environment Department released an initial list of threatened ecological communities which have more than 10% of their estimated distribution in areas affected by bushfires in southern and eastern Australia between 1 July 2019 and 11 February 2020. What are the known impacts in mountain environments?

Continue reading “What mountain species were impacted by last summer’s fires?”

Leadbeater’s Possum found in active logging site near Baw Baw

Recently, members of Wildlife of the Central Highlands (WOTCH) observed a critically endangered Leadbeater’s Possum within an active logging coupe (480-509-0013, called ‘Desilijic’) in the Central Highlands to the east of Melbourne. Habitat just 100 metres away had already been clearfelled – well within the buffer zone triggered by this Leadbeater’s Possum detection.

Now WOTCH have heard that an interim protective buffer zone has been established surrounding the Leadbeater’s Possum detection.

Yet again, this highlights the value of citizen science in ensuring endangered species are protected.

Continue reading “Leadbeater’s Possum found in active logging site near Baw Baw”

A journey from the Headwaters

From the Great Forest National Park:

“There has been a little snow falling up on the Baw Baws recently. This tranquil spot called the montane fens is the headwaters of the largest water supply to Melbourne – the Thomson river. And over the next few days we’ll follow this river to your kitchen.

This relatively small stream emerges from a large soaking fen, alive with frogs and birds. But once upon a time this place wasn’t safe and was set to be logged. After a strong battle, in 2008, this unique ecosystem was finally recognised as a site of significance, named a ‘montane fen’ and logging was stopped from ring barking it’s surrounds due to the efforts of scientists and conservationists. This campaign took three years and in securing this spot we also saved the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species critically-endangered Baw Baw Frog.

We must give a big shout out to campaign and science leaders Professor Jean-Marc Hero, Dr Chris Taylor, Sarah Rees, @wilderness_aus, amphibian citizen-scientist David Black, Dr Greg Hollis and all the Zoos of Australia that backed the conservation efforts. Special thanks to folks that gathered on the steps of Parliament, signed petitions and wrote to MPs. Gratitude to Liberal ex-MP Phil Honeywood for raising it in parliament and thanks to Labor ex-MLC Gavin Jennings for delivering its final protection last year in a second conservation covenant under the Immediate Protection Areas.

You can walk the fens in a short circuit and there are some stunning picnic spots just waiting for you as soon as the lockdown is lifted”.

Photo: ChrisTaylor

https://www.facebook.com/ChrisTaylorEnviroPhotography/

You can follow the journey from the headwaters to the city via the Great Forest National Park facebook page in coming days.

You can find out more about the proposal for the Great Forest National Park here.

Leadbeater’s Possum Rediscovery Day Picnic

The Leadbeater’s Possum is a critically endangered possum largely restricted to small pockets of alpine ash, mountain ash and snow gum forests in the Central Highlands of Victoria.

Each year the Friends of Leadbeater’s hold a ‘Possum Rediscovery Day Picnic’ to mark the day this species was rediscovered. In 2020, it will happen on Sunday, 5th April.

“Commencing at 11am we will indulge in our annual picnic at the usual Cambarville location, close to where Eric Wilkinson rediscovered the possum on 3 April 1961”.

Continue reading “Leadbeater’s Possum Rediscovery Day Picnic”

Victorian government protects Old Growth forests

In a major announcement, the Andrews government has stated that it will ‘immediately’ protect all remaining old growth forest on the east of the state as part of a plan to phase out native forest logging and protect 96,000 hectares of forests. The old growth areas amounts to 90,000 hectares of mountain and foothill forests.

Environmental groups such as Goongerah Environment Centre (GECO) and Friends of the Earth (FoE) have welcomed the announcement and also called for the release of extra detail and maps to ensure the announcement results in lasting and effective protection.

This outcome is especially good news for the heartland of remaining old growth – the hill country of East Gippsland.

Continue reading “Victorian government protects Old Growth forests”

The Mountain Pygmy Possum recovery program gets ready for a tough summer

Each spring for thousands of years, tens of millions of bogong moths (Agrotis infusa) have migrated more than 1,000 kilometres from their breeding grounds in southern Queensland, north and the western slopes of New South Wales, and Victoria, to caves in the Australian Alps.

Continue reading “The Mountain Pygmy Possum recovery program gets ready for a tough summer”

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