Logging cessation needed in swift parrot habitat: Wilderness Society

Vica Bayley
Vica Bayley

An immediate end to logging in the swift parrot habitat is “urgently” needed following the discovery of impacted nesting trees in the state’s South, the Wilderness Society says.

Australian National University swift parrot researcher Dejan Stojanovic took to Twitter to share images of a flattened forestry coupe at Tylers Hill, south of Dover.

“We monitored swift parrot nest trees here for a decade,” he wrote.

The critically endangered bird has flocked to the state’s East Coast this year, where eucalypts are flowering most prominently.

Swift parrots feed on the nectar of gum tree flowers.

Sugar gliders prey on the bird, which is why a crowd-funding campaign was recently undertaken to raise money to build predator-proof nest boxes to protect the swift parrot.

In 2015, then Resources Minister Paul Harriss placed a moratorium on logging on Bruny Island, a known swift parrot habitat, prior to the publication of an evidence-based swift parrot management plan.

'The species ... cannot afford the loss of a single nesting or foraging tree,' Wilderness Society spokesman Vica Bayley said of the swift parrot.

'The species ... cannot afford the loss of a single nesting or foraging tree,' Wilderness Society spokesman Vica Bayley said of the swift parrot.

But Wilderness Society spokesman Vica Bayley is calling on the state government to go even further, saying the swift parrot “cannot afford the loss of a single nesting or foraging tree”.

“With just 2000 parrots left in the wild and the insidious problem of predation on nesting parrots by introduced sugar gliders, continued habitat loss is compounding the pressure facing the species,” he said.

“The loss of these nesting trees prompts an emphatic call on Environment Minister Elise Archer to immediately halt any further logging in this coupe and rule out logging in all known swift parrot habitat, before it is too late.”

Ms Archer said discussions between Sustainable Timber Tasmania and the Environment Department were “aimed at developing a strategic landscape approach to the management of the species”.

“STT is working with swift parrot researchers to develop this approach, and has indicated ...[it] may be completed by the end of 2017,” she said.

Resources Minister Guy Barnett said the coupe in question was within the production forest zone “which the Wilderness Society and the Greens signed off as being available for harvesting under the Tasmanian Forest Agreement”.