week I attended Extinction Emergency, an event hosted by Greens Senator RichardDi Natale about the increasing biodiversity crisis happening in Victoria's
backyard, in the forests of the Central Highlands.
The event saw a range of inspiring speakers
talk to a packed RMIT Storey Hall about the crisis our State faunal
emblem, the Leadbeater's Possum, is facing due to lack of habitat.
|What an inspiring group of people, from left to right:|
Tim Flannery, Prof David Lindenmayer, Bob Brown,
Sarah Rees, Adam Bandt and Janet Rice.
also outlined a vision for the future, one that is good for jobs, good for the
environment, good for climate change, good for water supply and good for
biodiversity, the creation of the Great Forest
National Park spanning the forests of the Central Highlands of Victoria.
Flannery spoke about the extinction crisis in this country and said it was the
eleventh hour for the Leadbeater's Possum, concerned that we will be the last
generation to see this species alive. He went on to say that if we do act we
can prevent decline of species.
|Professor David Lindenmayer has been studying|
the Leadbeater's Possum for over three decades.
He says we need to start rethink the management
of public assets for the public good.
for the public good
David Lindenmayer, renowned expert on Leadbeater's Possum, said the plight of
the possum was emblematic of the failure of government policy and legislation
to protect a species and that industrial scale logging was setting the possum
on a path to extinction. He talked about the Mountain Ash forests of the Central
Highlands and their carbon carrying capacity, these are the most carbon dense
forests in the world (read more here).
He went on to highlight that only 1.16% of old
growth Mountain Ash forest is left, whilst only 0.37% of Alpine Ash forest
remains and we continue to log our water catchments explaining in detail the
enormous pressure our forests are under.
talked about the science that shows that logging makes these forests more fire
prone and how critical it is to have old trees left in the forests to provide
habitat for Leadbeater's Possum (among other species). He raised concerns about
logging and the prescriptions that guide not only how but how much gets logged and
the urgent need for them to change.
Lindenmayer explained the creation of a Great Forest National Park would
address the lack of habitat available to the Leadbeater's Possum as the current
reserve system in place is not nearly enough to ensure the survival of the
species. Prof Lindenmayer went on to
talk about the wealth of opportunities a Great Forest National Park would
up was Bob Brown, long time campaigner and advocate for the environment, now
heading up the Bob Brown
Foundation, an organisation which aims to help front-line environmentalists
wherever they face the imminent destruction of Australia’s wild and scenic
heritage. Bob spoke of the magnificence of these forests only an hour or so
from Melbourne. He spoke with great passion
about the world's tallest flowering tree, the mountain ash, and the opportunity
for the Leadbeater's Possum and a Great Forest National Park if 4 million
Melburnians got behind it.
Adam Bandt, Greens MP (and candidate) for
Melbourne announced that the Greens were 100% behind the push to create a Great
Forest National Park.
Sarah Rees, Healesville based environmentalist and Director of My
Environment, spoke of how critical it was to diversify the local economy of
the region. She went on to say that MyEnvironment
are in talks with the local timber industry to talk about transition plans out
of the industry and into new jobs.
Giant walk in Toolangi is a great example of ecotourism in these
magnificent forests, imagine the potential with the Great Forest National Park.
|Part of the Extinction Emergency included vox pop|
interviews by Rob Gell. I talked to Rob about my concerns
about diminishing habitat for endangered species in
was a great event, with these inspirational speakers highlighting a vision for
the future that protects not only the environment and habitat of a range of
species including threatened species like Leadbeater's Possum and the Powerful
Owl, but has benefits for water supply to Melbourne and carbon storage as a way
to mitigate climate change.
encourage you to have a look at the Great Forest National Park website and
start to talk to friends, family, work colleagues and politicians about the
issues, it's the only way we'll ever see the change we want to see. I also
encourage you to visit these magnificent forests, they are truly special places
and far too precious to lose to logging.
Labels: bob brown, cr samantha dunn, extinction emergency, leadbeaters possum, logging, Prof David Lindenmayer, tim flannery, yarra ranges