News - 09 May 2019

Abandoned: Australia’s forest wildlife in crisis

This report exposes the logging crisis our unique forest wildlife is facing and those most threatened by extinction. The good news? Logging is one problem we can fix immediately in order to help our Aussie animals survive. Unlike other threats such as climate change, it is something that can be solved here and now.

Our report reveals the 48 forest-dwelling vertebrate fauna species listed as threatened which live in forests subject to logging operations under the 10 Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs) in NSW, Victoria, Tasmania and WA.

The report shows that many of the species—including the Swift Parrot, Leadbeater’s Possum, Western Ringtail Possum and Regent Honeyeater—are heading towards extinction in our lifetime if current trends continue.

Meet some of the threatened animals

After 20 years of state government-run logging operations in forests covered by RFAs:

  • 12 forest vertebrate fauna species have been up-listed [moved to a higher category of threat under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC Act)] to the ‘Endangered’ or ‘Critically Endangered’ categories.
  • Zero threatened forest vertebrate species have been down-listed.
  • More than one in four federally-listed forest dependent species that were listed when the RFAs were signed are officially closer to extinction now than they were 20 years ago.
  • 15 forest vertebrate fauna species have been listed for the first time as threatened since the RFAs came into effect.
  • 21 forest vertebrate fauna species in total are now listed as Endangered or Critically Endangered.
  • The EPBC Act list now has a record high number of threatened forest-dwelling fauna (vertebrate/invertebrate).

Logging (and logging-associated roading and burning) have been recognised as key threats to these species. The official recovery plans (or conservation advices) for the four fauna species listed as ‘Critically Endangered’, and 16 of 20 species listed as ‘Endangered’, identify logging operations as one of the threats to their survival.

As the report points out, unlike other threats such as climate change or invasive weeds and feral animals, logging is one direct impact we can immediately address in order to help these species survive.

The growing list of threatened forest species being impacted by logging (and logging-related activities) highlights the failure of the twenty-year-old Regional Forest Agreements, which give state logging agencies a free pass from federal environmental assessment.

Making matters worse, many of the federally-listed threatened species have no Federal (EPBC Act) Recovery Plan in place—and even where such plans exist, the state-run logging operations are not legally required to comply with them.

The report further strengthens calls for an overhaul of federal environmental laws, more rigorous environmental assessments and the creation of new, effective and independent regulatory bodies. As part of this, existing exemptions for logging operations from federal environmental laws must end and the RFAs subject to comprehensive reassessment.

Tens of thousands of Australians have now joined the chorus to demand new national nature laws to end extinction, and an independent body to enforce these laws.

Learn more about our campaign to change Australia's nature laws.

Small, speedy & on the brink of extinction

Most people have never seen a Leadbeater's (Fairy) Possum in the wild. And now, these tiny marsupials are in danger of being lost forever.