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Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

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Mountain Pygmy Possum

Jaithmathang Senior Elders reconnect with their original Country

Jaithmathang Original Country elders are returning to the mountains to reconnect with their Yerto (meaning land/country high up). This story was produced by North East Catchment Management Authority and reproduced with their permission.

Jaithmathang Senior Elder, Loreman and Songman, Goengalla Jumma Myermyal Minjeke looks out over Yerto (meaning land/country high up) while standing on Mt Loch and reflects on a separation from Jaithmathang Original Country that has lasted generations. Mt Loch is within Shared Yerto of the GunaiKurnai and Jaithmathang Original Peoples’ Country. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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‘This is what climate change looks like’. Impacts on mountain environments

The Climate Council have released a report called This is What Climate Change Looks Like (available here). It has lots of good, albeit depressing, information about how climate change is already impacting on natural environments across the continent, including mountain environments.

Mountain Journal has covered these issues before – increased fire risk to Gondwanic remnant vegetation in Tasmania, threats to iconic species like the Mountain Pygmy Possum and loss of snowpack, but this is a succinct collection of stories about impacts on wild nature in Australia.

The report notes that ‘droughts, ‘dry’ lightning strikes and heatwaves are transforming many Australian forests’ including the alpine ash and snowgum forests that we know and love.

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‘Evidence of the impact of climate change on our country’s distinct flora and fauna is beginning to emerge’

Evidence about the impact of climate change on our country’s distinct flora and fauna is beginning to emerge. This is not ‘new’ news, this information is already widely available if you care to look for it. What is astonishing is that this growing body of information about the impacts of climate change on the land where we live doesn’t seem to compel more people to act to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Here are some recent examples of how climate change enhanced fire seasons are impacting on mountain environments:

In Tasmania, research has confirmed the trend towards more extreme fire seasons. It suggests that we reached a ‘tipping point’ sometime around the year 2000 and that, since then, there has been an increase in the number of lightning-caused fires and an increase in the average size of the fires, “resulting in a marked increase in the area burnt”.

As temperatures rise and the world’s climate rapidly changes, many plants and animals may not be able to relocate fast enough on their own, and habitats and species could be lost. In Australia warmer temperatures are expected to increase the length and severity of bushfire seasons, which will also cause changes in the distribution of many mountain species.

For instance, increased fire frequency may lead to the loss of alpine ash forests, unless there is human intervention aimed at keeping the species viable in the wild.

Now, a new article from Professor Ary Hoffmann, Nicholas Bell and Dr James Camac, at the University of Melbourne, looking at how we monitor the impacts of climate change on Australia’s terrestrial ecosystems has additional concerning news.

Continue reading “‘Evidence of the impact of climate change on our country’s distinct flora and fauna is beginning to emerge’”

National Threatened Species Day at Falls Creek

7th September.

The Mountain Pygmy Possum is on the endangered list and it lives here…

Come visit us at Falls Creek Cross Country and learn about the mountain pygmy possum and its vulnerabilities. And learn what you can do to help. We are offering FREE XC ski hire and $1 coffees for those who bring their own cup.

FALLS CREEK CROSS COUNTRY, located above the Windy Corner carpark.

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