OPINION: Pause and cessation of native forests “not only advisable, but necessary”

DEAR News Of The Area,

I AM writing with deep concern for the continuing logging and intensive “harvesting” of mature and high-quality trees of native forests in Australia and, in particular, in the Conglomerate State Forest and Ellis State Forest in Dundurrabin.

Given that the assessment by the Australian government of the current state of the environment is not only sobering but downright alarming and that more and more iconic species in Australia are declared as endangered or even critically endangered, including the super-cute Glossy Black-Cockatoo, it is mystifying why the deforestation of Australia is still continuing apace and not stopped.

As part of my long-term research on Australian cockatoos and parrots, I have visited the said forests and have kept in close contact with residents.

In 2004, I was fortunate to watch a pair of Glossies feeding on cones of the Rose Sheoak (Casuarina torulosa) and in 2020 I saw characteristic cone debris that indicated that Glossies had done the same perhaps a year or two before.

The number of seasonal visits by Glossies in these shires has been declining as the numbers of Glossies have been declining on continental Australia for years because their only food source (she-oaks) has been decimated by unthinking landowners considering them “trash trees”.

The 2019-2020 bushfires have further destroyed substantial stands of she-oaks so that surviving Glossies turned up in unusual places for the first time in their desperate search for food.

Glossy Black-Cockatoos may well be indicator species for the state of native forests that harbor she-oaks.

Glossies are the most inoffensive cockatoos in that they do not damage cultivated plants and fields and feed only on the cones of she-oaks.

At a time when Australia is waking up to the fact that it is responsible for the great extinction rate of its native fauna in the world, a pause and cessation of the destruction of its remnant native forests is not only advisable, but necessary.

Prof. Dr. Dominique G. HOMBERGER,
Louisiana State University.

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