March 22, 2010
Support the protection of Inland Grey Box Woodland
In late 2006 Humane Society International (HSI) nominated the Inland Grey Box Woodlands to be listed as a threatened ecological community under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act 1999 (EPBC Act). The original decision deadline for this nomination, after it had been assessed by the Department of Environment Protection, Heritage and the Arts and the Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), was September 30, 2009, but was extended by Environment Minister Peter Garrett until March 31, 2010.
Now we are in this vital final stage of the nomination assessment, it is essential that we take the opportunity to let the Environment Minister know that he has support from both conservation groups and the public for the listing of Inland Greybox Woodlands as a threatened ecological community.
Inland Grey Box Woodlands provide habitat for an abundance of animal species. This includes an astonishing 150 bird species, 88 of which are listed as threatened species either nationally and / or in South Australia, Victoria or NSW. The community is also home to a number of threatened mammals such as the black-striped wallaby, eastern long-eared bat, spotted-tailed quoll and squirrel glider.
The continuing threats acting on Inland Grey Box Woodlands are so great that in 2007, the NSW Scientific Committee made the determination to list the community under NSW's Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 (TSCA). The Scientific Committee recognised the ongoing impacts of land clearing and agricultural development, and the extreme decline already evidenced by the community. The Committee noted the highly fragmented nature of community remnants in NSW, and the historic impact of cropping, grazing, exotic species introductions and the addition of fertiliser. While the cumulative assessment of regional values of declines gave an overall decline of 85% since European settlement, in some areas of NSW, this decline has been much more extensive, with a 97% decline evidenced in the central Lachlan region, and the Riverina and Cobar Peneplain Bioregions. The NSW extent of the community has thus been gravely reduced from anthropomorphic impacts, and the Scientific Committee noted that land clearing remains a continuing threat.
This community is largely under-represented in conservation reserves, and as it extends across three States, it follows that national protection under the EPBC Act is its best chance for long term recovery and survival.
Further information on the listing of threatened ecological communities under the EPBC Act can be found at: www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/communities.html.
Send your comments in support of the listing of Inland Grey Box Woodlands as an endangered ecological community under the EPBC Act to The Hon. Peter Garrett AM MP, Minister for Environment Protection, Heritage and the Arts, Parliament House, Canberra, ACT 2600 Australia, through email to Peter.Garrett.MP@aph.gov.au, or by fax to (02) 6273 6101.
Please send us copies of any responses you receive.
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