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Young conservationist takes to the tall trees of Toolangi to stand against extinction

Tomorrow, Sunday 10 November, the Little Red Toolangi Treehouse will be launched.

Hannah Patchett is so concerned about the loss of Victoria’s native forests, and the plight of the Leadbeater’s Possum, she has moved into the treetops.

Living suspended from a towering Mountain Ash tree 50 metres above the ground, Hannah is calling for an end to logging in forest that is habitat for the critically endangered Leadbeater’s Possum.

“I’ve chosen to stay in the Little Red Toolangi Treehouse because I want to real action taken to save the Leadbeater’s Possum from extinction,” says Hannah.

“Removing clearfell logging from these forests is the first step.”


What: Launch of the Little Red Toolangi Treehouse

Photo opportunity: Little Red Toolangi Treehouse from the ground, or assisted ascend to tree platform

When: From 12 noon, Sunday 10 November

Where: Toolangi State Forest – contact Steve Meacher for directions 0447 330 863

For interview:

Little Red Toolangi Treehouse, Hannah Patchett 0403 563 653

The Wilderness Society, Amelia Young 0404 074 577

Hannah’s concerns echo those of Professor David Lindenmayer, who has called for an end to clearfell logging by December 2013.

“The world’s leading expert on the Leadbeater’s Possum says the state government is simply ‘managing the species to extinction’. Clearfelling of Leadbeater’s habitat must be stopped by the end of this year,” says Hannah.

The State Government has established the Leadbeater’s Possum Advisory Group to recommend how to assist recovery of the animal. The Group is expected to hand down its recommendations to forestry Minister Peter Walsh and environment Minister Ryan Smith, by Christmas.

“It’s critical that management of our state forests is rebalanced so that the conservation needs of the Leadbeater’s Possum are met,” says Victorian Campaigns Manager for the Wilderness Society, Amelia Young.

“Like Hannah, we’ll be very interested to see what recommendations the Leadbeater’s Possum Advisory Group extends to the Napthine government,”

Areas of the Toolangi state forests were unburnt in the tragic 2009 bushfires. Today, they are targeted for logging, mostly for pulp for paper.

The controversy around logging in the Toolangi state forest has escalated over the past three years, with many in the local community strongly opposed to the environmental and economic failings of logging green, unburnt forests.

The Little Red Toolangi Treehouse is sited at the boundary of the logging coupes at the heart of the MyEnvironment Sylvia Creek Court Case, currently under appeal.

“The future of this area of forest is hanging in the balance. From the Little Red Toolangi Treehouse, Hannah and her supporters will watch over this forest as important decisions are made about the remaining tall trees of Toolangi,” says Amelia.

“These forests have amazing potential for the future. If left alone, they could become the tallest trees in the world, as they once were,” says Hannah.

“I want people to come and see these amazing forests for themselves.”

The tree platforms Hannah is calling home for the remainder of 2013 measure just 14 square metres.

“Clearfell logging must stop if the critically endangered Leadbeater’s Possum is to avoid extinction. Victorians aren’t just losing their animal emblem, Melbourne’s water catchments are being logged and it’s all coming out of tax payers’ pockets,” concludes Hannah.