The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has issued Forestry Corporation of NSW (FCNSW) an immediate Stop Work Order to cease harvesting in parts of the Tallaganda State Forest.
Following a community complaint, EPA officers inspected several active logging compartments in Tallaganda on Tuesday 30 August and located a deceased Southern Greater Glider around 50 metres from forestry harvest operations. It is not yet known how the glider died.
EPA Acting Executive Director Operations, Steve Orr said the discovery of a deceased glider was extremely concerning given their increased reliance on unburnt areas of the forest following the 2019/20 bushfires and its proximity to active harvest operations.
“Southern Greater Gliders are an endangered species and shelter in multiple tree cavities, known as ‘den trees’, over large distances,” Mr Orr said.
“Den trees are critical for the food, shelter and movement of gliders and FCNSW is required to protect them and implement 50 metre exclusion zones around identified den trees.
“While community reports suggest around 400 Southern Greater Gliders may be living in the Tallaganda State Forest, FCNSW has identified only one den tree and we are not confident that habitat surveys have been adequately conducted to ensure all den trees are identified.
“The EPA has a strong compliance and enforcement program for native forestry, and we will take immediate action where warranted, including issuing stop work orders for alleged non-compliance.”
FCNSW has been ordered to immediately cease all harvesting, haulage operations, and any road and track construction work in the areas of concern in the Tallaganda State Forest. The order is in place for 40 days and can be extended.
FCNSW must immediately comply with the Stop Work Order. Failure to comply with a Stop Work Order is a serious offence and can attract a maximum court-imposed penalty of up to $1,650,000 and a further $165,000 for each day the offence continues. Similar penalties apply in respect of a breach of the Forestry Act.
The EPA’s investigation is ongoing.