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Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

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endangered species

You’re invited to a Wildlife Tour of the Central Highlands

You probably have heard about the campaign to create the Great Forest National Park. You may be aware that logging in the Central Highlands, to the east of Melbourne, threatens precious forests and endangered wildlife.

This is a great chance to get into these forests to see for yourself what’s going on.

Sunday December 10.

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Mountain Ash forests in VIC face ‘almost certain collapse in the next 50 years’

Mountain Ash (Eucalyptus regnans) is the ‘signature’ tree of the damp montane forests of south eastern Australia. Generally growing in temperate areas receiving over 1,200 millimetres rainfall a year on deep loam soils, this species is the tallest flowering plant on earth.

They have been heavily logged for well over a century, and massive areas have been burnt in wildfire. Now climate change and extreme fragmentation of habitat is driving Mountain ash forest in south-eastern Australia towards ‘almost certain collapse in the next 50 years’, according to an assessment by researchers from the ANU.

The key message in this research is:

Researchers “modelled 39 different scenarios and found there was a 92 to 99.99% chance of collapse of the mountain ash forest in Victoria’s Central Highlands by 2067”.

It is also important to understand that there is still a “critical window where we can act to prevent the loss of the mountain ash forest ecosystem”.

Continue reading “Mountain Ash forests in VIC face ‘almost certain collapse in the next 50 years’”

Threatened species protected on Toorongo Plateau

Mt Toorongo is a magical spot: it is a mountain in the Central Highlands to the east of Melbourne. If you drive to the Baw Baw ski village from Noojee, it is the steep dark mountain that fills the skyline above you as you head through the last of the farming country at Icy Creek.

Not many people go there. It’s a bit off the track, but is accessible quite easily via a number of dirt roads. As I understand the ecology of the mountain, it was burnt twice in close succession (in the 1920s and the infamous 1939 fires). So the eucalypt forest on the summit was replaced by a remarkable ‘cloud forest’ of what are normally understorey species. The summit itself is a long ridge which offers wonderful views of the Baw Baw Plateau, the Latrobe Valley and distant Strzelecki Ranges to the south.

Continue reading “Threatened species protected on Toorongo Plateau”

Kuark forest protected through Court injunction

The Kuark forest is located in far East Gippsland, Victoria. This magnificent forest is home to rare rainforest and endangered animals. Sections of it are currently on logging schedules and could be cut at any moment. An access track has been cut into the first coupe.

In response, campaigners have set up a camp in the forest to oppose logging. In response, the Victorian government announced it would increase the protection given to old growth forests, but activists are not prepared for any of the coupe to be logged.

On Wednesday November 1st, a Supreme Court injunction has prevented logging from starting in the forest. Campaigners are celebrating this temporary protection.

Further information is available on the GECO website.

Kuark forest old growth about to be logged

Kuark forest is located in far East Gippsland, Victoria. This magnificent forest is home to rare rainforest and endangered animals.

Logging of Kuark forest has previously destroyed the habitat of endangered forest Owls, Potoroos and Gliding possums. It’s also impacting on unique rainforest types, found nowhere else on earth. Kuark, which is just south of the Cool Temperate Forests of the Errinundra Plateau, contains stands of Warm temperate species which have evolved from tropical species that colonised Australia millions of years ago when the continent was joined to Papua New Guinea and Asia. These tropical like species slowly migrated down the east coast and East Gippsland is the most southerly extent of many of their distributional ranges (you can find additional information on the Kuark here and previous Mountain Journal stories are here).

VicForests is currently preparing to log some of the most spectacular old growth forest remaining in Victoria, wit logging equipment being moved into the coupe this week.

Continue reading “Kuark forest old growth about to be logged”

Spotted Tree Frog fighting back from extinction

In an excellent piece of news, the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage reports that attempts to reintroduce populations of the Spotted Tree Frog into Kosciusko National Park have been ‘surprisingly’ successful.

It appears that the introduced frogs have managed to avoid the Chytrid Fungus, which can wipe out populations of the amphibian.

A media release from the OE&H is available below.

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Second tunnel at Mt Hotham to link Mountain pygmy possums

Mountain pygmy possum populations separated by the Great Alpine Road in Victoria will soon have a new, specially-designed tunnel to help them meet a mate. There is already one tunnel on the slopes of Little Higginbotham. The new one will be at Cherokee Corner. The project needs $300,000 of funding to make the tunnel a reality.

The following article is from Nicole Asher of the ABC.

Continue reading “Second tunnel at Mt Hotham to link Mountain pygmy possums”

Citizen science survey camp

 

The Goongerah Environment Centre (GECO) in East Gippsland is running another ‘citizen science’ weekend.

There will be workshops and practical sessions on forest ecology, threatened species, survey techniques, remote fauna cameras, nocturnal spotlighting, Owl surveys, Frog surveys and rainforest identification, forest carbon accounting and more.

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A new protector of the Mountain Pygmy-Possum

The Mountain Pygmy-possum (Burramys parvus) is one of our iconic alpine species. It lives in rock screes and boulder fields, and is also the only Australian mammal restricted to alpine habitat. There are only three main populations remaining.

It faces a number of threats: habitat destruction, climate change and predators. The construction of ski resorts in the alpine regions in which the mountain pygmy possums inhabit has been one of the greatest factors attributed to population decline.

This recent story from the ABC by Lucy Barbour outlines an innovative program which aims to protect the species from feral cats.

Continue reading “A new protector of the Mountain Pygmy-Possum”

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