26 January, 2011

Numbers add up

Sarah Rees, Healesville
The Age (letter), 26 Jan 2011

IN THE article ''Minister challenges logging advice'' (The Age, 24/1), Forestry Minister Peter Walsh gives a welcome commitment to examine the status of endangered species in areas exposed to logging.

While the minister appears unaware of the Department of Sustainability and Environment's science up until his appointment, basic skills in maths should make light work of this investigation. Mr Walsh says he ''find(s) it hard to understand how such a small area of logging can have such a big impact''.

Some 70 per cent of the ash forests in this state - the wood the chippers are after and home to many of Victoria's endangered species - is available for logging. Logging is taking out between 2 and 3 per cent of these forests each year.

Given that intensive ash logging has taken place since the 1950s, how many years of logging will it take to reduce 70 per cent of the old ash forest to young saplings incapable of housing hollow-dependent mammals?

Couple this with fires in an average of 40 per cent of the ash forest in national parks and, bingo, you have an extinction crisis.

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