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Possible logging bail out to save Leadbeater's Possum

ABC RN, April 23, 2015

The Victorian Government has given its strongest indication yet that it is open to ending clearfelling and closing down the hardwood timber industry in key parts of Victoria's Central Highlands to prevent the extinction of the Leadbeater's Possum.

But Lisa Neville, Victorian Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water has made it clear that she wants the Federal Government to help financially with any bail out.

Yesterday, Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt upgraded the protection of Leadbeater's Possum to 'critically endangered'.

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Victoria must stop clearfelling to save Leadbeater’s Possum

David Lindenmayer, The Conversation, April 23, 2015

The Leadbeater’s Possum, Victoria’s faunal emblem, has been formally recognised as critically endangered. In a media releaselate on Wednesday, Environment Minister Greg Hunt stated there was an “unequivocal need” to move the species from endangered to the critical listing.

The Minister’s announcement was based on detailed recommendations from a panel of nationally recognised biodiversity experts who comprise the Threatened Species Scientific Committee (that did not include myself) each of whom carefully appraised the large accumulated body of science on Leadbeater’s Possum.

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Experts urge an end to logging in Victoria's highlands to save Leadbeater's possum

Tom Arup, The Age, April 22, 2015

Logging should end in Victorian central highlands forests to save the state's disappearing animal emblem, the Leadbeater's possum, say the federal government's key scientific advisers on threatened species. 

The call came as the federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt on Wednesday signed off on recommendations that the Leadbeater's threatened species status should be increased to "critically endangered", considered one step before extinction.

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Victorian state emblem Leadbeater's possum pushed closer to extinction

Tom Arup, The Age, April 16, 2015

Victoria's state animal emblem, the Leadbeater's possum, is set to be formally recognised as being on the brink of extinction, leading to the Andrews government fast-tracking a program to identify more colonies of the species.

But the state government has again stopped short of backing a new national park to protect the Leadbeater's habitat, which conservationists and many scientists say is crucial to ensuring the species' survival.

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Forests can soak up a third of carbon emissions

Alex Kirby, Climate News Network, 11th of April, 2015

Report commissioned by Prince Charles’s charity says protecting tropical forests could enable them to absorb billions of tonnes of the Earth’s emissions of carbon.

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Forestry agreements need a full overhaul, not just a tick and flick

David Lindenmayer, The Conversation, 1st April 2015

For almost two decades, the management of forests in parts of Western Australia, Victoria, Tasmania and New South Wales has been underpinned by state and federal Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs), defined as “20-year plans for the conservation and sustainable management of Australia’s native forests”.

The broad aim of RFAs is to “provide certainty for forest-based industries, forest-dependent communities and conservation”. RFAs are now up for renewal, and it would certainly be in industry advocates' interest for them to be simply “ticked off”, without the critical scrutiny that is clearly warranted.

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Barnaby Joyce accused of pushing Leadbeater's possum towards extinction

Oliver Millman, The Guardian, March 13, 2015

The agriculture minister’s decision to choose paper sourced from forests logged in the possum’s habitat criticised by environmentalists.

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Letters

The Age, Jan 22, 2015

Let the trees grow

"Stopping logging in Victoria's central highlands would drive tens of millions of dollars into state coffers" (The Age, 21/1) versus millions of dollars of taxpayers' money propping up a forestry industry that is out of time.

VicForests spokesman David Walsh says wood is more carbon friendly than other building materials. However, only about 7per cent of the forest logged is used for building products, most of which is made into disposable transport pallets. The rest, if it is not left on the forest floor and burnt, is made into paper. Carbon stored in an ash tree is more than five times that of cut wood. By the time the carbon rots down, it is safely stored in the soil. This industry is no longer sustainable.

Karena Goldfinch, St Andrews

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Highlands logging halt would earn Victoria $30m a year in emissions reductions: report

Tom Arup, The Age, January 20, 2015

Stopping logging in Victoria's central highlands would drive tens of millions of dollars into state coffers if the move was included under the Abbott government's emissions reduction fund.

Fairfax Media has seen a confidential brief prepared for the federal environment minister, Greg Hunt, which found ending logging in the highland forests, north-east of Melbourne, would save about 3.2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year.

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Preventing the Extinction of an Iconic Globally Endangered Species – Leadbeater’s Possum (Gymnobelideus leadbeateri)

David LindenmayerDavid BlairLachlan McBurney and Sam Banks 

Abstract

Leadbeater’s Possum is an iconic but globally endangered species largely confined to the wet ash forests of Victoria, south-eastern Australia. The species is at risk of extinction as a result of widespread logging, recurrent wildfire, and the rapid decline of populations of large old hollow-bearing trees – the single most critical habitat element for Leadbeater’s Possum. We outline why recent strategies aimed at conserving Leadbeater’s Possum appear unlikely to be effective in preventing the species’ extinction. We outline what we believe to now be the only current viable approach to conserve this species. This is the rapid transition to a large protected forest reserve system where the primary process threatening the species – widespread industrial clear-felling – is removed.

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