Wildlife destruction by Fuel Reduction Burning, Portland Vic

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Subject: Wildlife destruction by Fuel Reduction Burning, Portland Vic
From: "Rob Farnes" <>
Date: Sat, 2 Apr 2005 09:04:48 +1000
Hi all,
It has been a disastrous autumn for wildlife in the Portland District with the Government (DEPT of SPARKS & EMBERS) stepping up their so called fuel reduction burning program.  These burns have become far to frequent to hot and to large and are completely decimating our wildlife and modifying our forests.

Last week a 400 hectare area was burnt scorched (no different than a wildfire) in the Cobboboonee State Forest. 

Here is the result of dead animals found in one area of 100m radius:

(128) yes 128 Common Ringtail Possums (major component of the Powerful Owl's diet in this district)
(2) Black Wallaby's
(8) Long-nosed Potoroo's (Endangered Species)
Photographic evidence will be published with an article in the Warrnambool Standard (today) and  hopefully the Portland Observer next week.
The forests here (like everywhere) have suffered in the past from fragmentation, over logging, ringculling (of the majority of old trees) and now to frequent burning.  The burning results in a lot of bulldozing of tracks and trees (including some of the few remaining large trees) also open forest areas are changed eventually resulting in a forest with a dense understorey. There were large areas of open forest in this district in the early 1900's.
In the past  25 years I have noted the alarming decline and contraction in the range of two species in particular the Spotted Quailthrush and Chestnut-rumped Heathwren.  These ground dwelling specialists do require some open forest to forage in and in my opinion the affects of frequent burning (along with predators such as cats and foxes) are the main contributing factors in their decline.   
The DSE to my knowledge (locally anyway) do not take into consideration these species (no action required) as they are not endangered, quailthrush is listed as been near threatened and heathwren vulnerable.  There have been nine regional extinction in the Portland district.
Regards Rob farnes 
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