Lose, lose, lose

BirdLife Australia CEO Paul Sullivan and BirdLife Tasmania Convenor Dr Eric Woehler today described the Tasmanian Government’s push to open existing forest reserves for logging as a “Lose, Lose, Lose” scenario for Tasmania.

“Some of Tasmania’s most threatened species such as Swift Parrots, Masked Owls and Wedge-tailed Eagles lose more of their habitats to forestry operations, Forestry Tasmania will lose any hope of FSC accreditation, and Tasmania loses any realistic claim to being ‘clean and green,’ Mr Sullivan told the Tasmanian MLCs this morning during an invited briefing.

“Habitat loss from forestry operations in Tasmania have been identified as the single greatest threat to the survival of Swift Parrots, and here we have a government determined to log Swift Parrot habitat and push the species towards extinction”, Dr Woehler said.

“Logging Swift Parrot habitat also increases the predation of Swift Parrot adults and nestlings by the introduced Sugar Glider, accelerating the loss and magnifying the impacts of forestry operations in Tasmania,” Mr Sullivan added.

“Tasmania’s future is in tourism, and especially eco-tourism. Eco-tourism globally is increasing dramatically and Tasmania is well placed to be a global destination for its remarkable birds “.

Much of south-eastern Tasmania, including Bruny Island, was identified to be of international conservation significance in 2009, when international criteria were applied to identify Important Bird Areas. These areas, now known as Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs), are critical for the conservation of global biodiversity.

“South-eastern Tasmania is a Key Biodiversity Area – recognised internationally for its significant contribution to global biodiversity,” Mr Sullivan said, adding that, “any impacts to the South-east Tasmania and Bruny Island KBAs will have national and international impacts on global conservation efforts.”

The Swift Parrot and the Orange-bellied Parrot are the only species of migratory parrots in the world, and both are listed as Critically Endangered.

“It beggars belief that a government would deliberately destroy the habitat of a Critically Endangered species in the 21st century,” Dr Woehler concluded.

Image: Swift Parrot by Chris Tzaros