News - 09 May 2019

Koala (NSW/Vic)

Photo: Meg Bauer

Karbor, Koolah, Kur-bo-roo or Phascolarctos cinereus

Conservation status: VULNERABLE (EPBC Act)

Uplisted since RFA commenced? YES; in 2011/12

EPBC Act recovery plan? NO; “recovery plan required”—Commonwealth Dept of Environment


The Koala is listed nationally as Vulnerable, yet the recovery plan due to commence in 2014 has yet to be prepared. Both the Commonwealth's Conservation and Management Strategy and NSW recovery plan have effectively expired, though their thrust for both public and private lands is to identify and protect important habitat areas, identify improved and standardised survey methods, and monitor and review the effectiveness of mitigation measures. 

The current Koala prescriptions for public lands require the identification and exclusion from logging of Koala High Use Areas, and the retention of 5 Koala feed trees per hectare in "intermediate use" habitat. In practice, few areas are identified as Koala High Use Areas, with only some 200 hectares identified in 15 years… Under the new NE NSW Coastal IFOA there will be no requirement to search for Koalas ahead of logging to identify Koala High Use Areas or even to assess trees for use by Koalas when identifying feed trees to be retained. (Pugh, D. 2018)

The new ‘intensive harvesting zone’ on the NSW north coast contains 40% of mapped high quality Koala habitat in state forests on the NSW north coast. A March 2019 report by the North East Forest Alliance, Forestry Corporation Logging of OEH Koala Hubs, found: 

“This review found that of the mapped Koala Hubs on State forests in north-east NSW, 2,546ha has been logged over the 4 year assessment period 2015-2018, which is an average of 636ha logged per annum within Koala Hubs… It is essential for the future of Koalas that a moratorium be placed on all remaining OEH Koala Hubs on State Forests, along with potential habitat within one kilometre, while further ground based assessments are undertaken to delineate the full extent these "highly significant" resident populations which, based on current records, are the highest priority for protection on public lands.”

Map 1: Sample of the planned NE NSW logging areas 2019-2020 likely to impact this species
Map 2: Koala distribution NSW (EPA NSW)

Full NSW logging plan maps

Next: Forest Red-tailed Black Cockatoo (WA)

Our forest wildlife in crisis: Red-tailed Black Cockatoos were first listed as Vulnerable in 2008, but their actual conservation status is likely far more serious.