29 October, 2010

Road to extinction

Jill Sanguinetti, Narbethong
The Age (letter), 29 October 2010

ENVIRONMENT Minister Tony Burke's newly released biodiversity plan (''Biodiversity plan to lock up land'', The Age, 27/10) is woefully inadequate given the biodiversity crisis upon us.

The UN Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 report released in May found that the target set by the UN in 2002, to significantly reduce the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010, was not met. In fact, the rate of extinctions and habitat loss has significantly accelerated since 2002. The report calls for urgent, direct action to reverse a projected dramatic loss of biodiversity in the next 10 years.

If Tony Burke is listening he will call for an immediate halt to clear-fell logging in remaining pockets of ecologically mature, mixed-age forests that are home to vulnerable and culturally valued species.

In the central highlands of Victoria, species such as spotted quoll, Leadbeater's possum, greater glider and sooty and powerful owl are facing local or absolute extinction; floral species are being lost to clear-felling and monocultural plantation; and the habitat of iconic species such as superb lyrebirds and wallabies is being erased at an unprecedented rate. A five-year plan to meet biodiversity targets is way too slow.

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