A forest a day! July 24: PC085A, Picton Valley

Image by Nishant Datt

Some areas of tall eucalypt and old growth forests in the Picton Valley have been intensively logged for many years. However, significant large tracts of these world heritage value forests remain, and their urgent protection from ongoing logging practices will ensure their globally unique values be spared from the chainsaw.

The tall eucalypt forests in the Weld, Picton and Middle Huon Valleys are collectively part of the largest single tract of tall eucalypt forest ecosystem extant in Tasmania.[i]

In the Picton Valley now, there is one area of verified high conservation value forest that is being logged, and three large areas of verified high conservation value forests that remain under imminent threat. All of these forests were left out of the promised conservation agreement that could have provided interim protection for these ecosystems.

One such area is logging coupe PC085A. Located on West Picton Rd, this old growth forest borders the Picton River. This forest has not had logging operations commence as yet, though logging is scheduled to start at any time. The company that is driving the logging of these forests is Ta Ann.[ii]

Image by Nishant Datt

This 62 hectare coupe is within the core range of the Tasmanian masked owl (Tyto novaehollandiae castanops) and contains significant habitat for this species.[iii]  The Tasmanian masked owl is an endangered species[iv] dependent on hollows in mature eucalypt trees, and is endemic to Tasmania. The Tasmanian masked owl is the second largest nocturnal raptor in Australia.[v]

The Tasmanian masked owl has been listed as endangered in Tasmania since 1995.[vi] Threats to the masked owl include habitat clearing and fragmentation (including forestry activities). Between 1996 and 2009, approximately 142 000 hectares of native forest in Tasmania have been converted to monoculture plantation or agricultural land (FPA, 2009). This has resulted in the loss of nesting habitat (large tree hollows) and an increased level of threat to the endangered masked owl.[vii]

Reports to the Independent Verification Group recently stated that the availability of mature eucalypt habitat is important for a range of hollow-dwelling and hollow-dependent vertebrate species that rely on these features for facets of their life cycle.[viii] Loss of hollow bearing trees is widely recognised as a threat to the survival of a wide range of Australian vertebrate fauna, and has statutory recognition as a threatening process in New South Wales and Victoria. However, information on the specific habitat requirements for a large proportion of hollow dwelling species is lacking.[ix]

If protected, Tasmania’s southern forests, including the Picton Valley, will make a significant contribution to the additional protection of the ranges of hollow-using birds. Three hollow-using species of birds that are priority forest species have core range (swift parrot & masked owl) or known ranges (forty-spotted pardalote) that intersect with proposed ENGO proposed reserves.[x] Coupe PC085A is within the eastern breeding range of the swift parrot,[xi] also an endangered species, and supports high density nesting habitat for this species.[xii]

Preserving these old growth forests for the species that rely on them for habitat and life-cycles is critical. The protection of endangered species habitat outside the ENGOs’ proposed new reserves is also critical.

CLICK HERE to take action now for the magnificent forests of the Picton Valley and other crucial threatened species habitat across Tasmania.

For more information about the ‘A forest a day’ project, which is a collaboration between Huon Valley Environment Centre, Still Wild Still Threatened, The Last Stand, Markets for Change and Code Green, please click HERE.


[i] Hitchcock, P, (2012) Verification of the Heritage Value of the ENGO-Proposed Reserves, IVG Forest Conservation Report 5A. [ view online ] p. 77

[ii] Hoffmann, O. & Williams, D. Report  Of Independent Expert Schedulers Appointed Under the Tasmanian Forests Intergovernmental Agreement, 12th October 2011

[iii] Forestry Tasmania, Forests Practices Plan, 23 February 2012

[iv] Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment.  Threatened Species List. http://www.dpipwe.tas.gov.au/inter.nsf/WebPages/SJON-58K8WK?open

[v] Tyto novaehollandiae castanops (Tasmanian population) — Masked Owl (Tasmanian), http://www.environment.gov.au/cgi-bin/sprat/public/publicspecies.pl?taxon_id=67051

[vi] Tyto novaehollandiae castanops (Tasmanian population) — Masked Owl (Tasmanian), http://www.environment.gov.au/cgi-bin/sprat/public/publicspecies.pl?taxon_id=67051

[vii] Tyto novaehollandiae castanops (Tasmanian population) — Masked Owl (Tasmanian), http://www.environment.gov.au/cgi-bin/sprat/public/publicspecies.pl?taxon_id=67051

[viii] Knight, R.I. & Cullen, P.J. (2012). Preliminary assessment of reliability indicators for predicting mature eucalypt habitat in Tasmania. Report to the Independent Verification Group for the Tasmanian Forests Intergovernmental Agreement, February 2012. Natural Resource Planning, Hobart. P 7.

[ix] Knight, R.I. & Cullen, P.J. (2012). Preliminary assessment of reliability indicators for predicting mature eucalypt habitat in Tasmania. Report to the Independent Verification Group for the Tasmanian Forests Intergovernmental Agreement, February 2012. Natural Resource Planning, Hobart. P 7.

[x] Independent Verification Group (2012) Validation of the ENGO proposed reserves for the conservation of priority fauna species on public forest. Unpublished report of the Independent Verification Group for the Tasmanian Forest Agreement, Hobart. P13.

[xi] Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment.  Threatened Species List. http://www.dpipwe.tas.gov.au/inter.nsf/WebPages/SJON-58K8WK?open

[xii] Forestry Tasmania, Forests Practices Plan PC085A, 23 February 2012

Posted on July 24, 2012, in A Forest A Day, Videos. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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