White-throated needletail at rest. Picture: TREVOR PESCOTT
White-throated needletail at rest. Picture: TREVOR PESCOTT

Tassie’s forests added to threatened species list

Around 17,000ha of key habitat for Tasmania's endangered swift parrot has been added to the national list of threatened species.

Ms Ley announced on Friday afternoon that the state's forests and woodlands dominated by black gum or brookers gum would be listed as critically endangered under Australia's Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

Around 17,000ha of the woodlands - which are found on Tasmania's North Coast and East Coast - have been added in the list along with one Tasmanian bird species, the white-throated needletail.

Tom Allen, acting campaign manager for the Wilderness Society Tasmania has cautiously welcomed the listing.

Wilderness Society campaign manager Tom Allen. Picture: CHRISTOPHER TESTA
Wilderness Society campaign manager Tom Allen. Picture: CHRISTOPHER TESTA

 

Swift parrot. Picture: SUPPLIED
Swift parrot. Picture: SUPPLIED

"Wilderness Society Tasmania has three words to say to Sussan Ley: "Thank you, but..."

Mr Allen said although the listing is on the whole positive, groups including Tasmanian farmers and forestry group Sustainable Timbers Tasmania remain worringly exempt from the Act.

"Listing is one thing, but monitoring and enforcing is another," he said.

Mr Allen said the national Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act has failed in the past to stop animals, plants and wilderness locations from rapid decline.

"We continue to see a host of species that despite their listing continue to decline in numbers," said Mr Allen. "And although this listing is very welcome there are now some very hard decisions that need to be made to make sure this listing actually saves these species."

The black gum or brookers gum woodlands provide vital habitat to 30 animals and 32 plants listed as nationally threatened, including the swift parrot, Tasmanian devil and spotted quolls.

Eric Woehler, convener of Birdlife Tasmania said the news came as a "double-edged sword".

"The woodlands community's listing as critically endangered basically means it's on its last legs and is one step away from extinction," he said.

"It means that we're not managing our landscape appropriately."

Dr Eric Woehler from BirdLife Tasmania at Hobart. PICTURE CHRIS KIDD
Dr Eric Woehler from BirdLife Tasmania at Hobart. PICTURE CHRIS KIDD


Dr Woehler said along with the white-throated needtail he believes a further 10-15 species of birds would potentially meet the criteria for listing as a threatened species, but without reliable data it was difficult to make the recommendation for protection.

The listing comes despite the woodlands being eligible for protection for years.

In the announcement the Federal Government added 34 species and three ecological communities to Australia's protected list. A further nine species had their listing status either upgraded or downgraded and removed six species.

susan.oong2@news.com.au