16 September, 2010

Trees die, life stays

Chris Owens, Lysterfield South
The Age (letter), 16 November 2010

MAX Rheese's assertion (Letters, 14/9) that species could be pushed to the edge of extinction by current logging policies is ''drawing a long bow'', noting Leadbeater's possum was discovered in regrowth forest burnt in the 1939 bushfires.

Abundant research exists on this possum that reveals it requires hollows for shelter and nesting and, while the 1939 bushfire may have killed the trees, the stumps remained with their hollows to provide a habitat for this and associated hollow-dependent fauna.

Hollows have been proven to take between 100 and 200 years to develop. Current logging practice revolves around clearfell of coups that are logged on 30-to-40-years rotations and therefore hollow-dependent fauna are essentially permanently excluded from these areas.

After 150 years of logging, the remaining old growth and high-conservation-value forests are the last of the last where species such as Leadbeater's possum, sooty owl and spot-tailed quoll cling to existence. Given that this logging of a public asset occurs at a loss to the taxpayer and against the wishes of 80 per cent of the population and sufficient plantation resources exist, why do we not follow the precautionary principle and protect these areas?

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