“Elusive parrot not a flight risk”

Copyright: Abby Berryman/DPaW
Copyright: Abby Berryman/DPaW

We asked researchers from ECU’s School of Natural Sciences about some of their favourite Australian wildlife. In this piece PhD student Tim Doherty talks about his choice, the Kyloring or the western ground parrot (Pezoporus flaviventris).

Why would a bird perfectly capable of flying decide to spend most of its life on the ground?

It’s a question you could ask a western ground parrot, however locating one of these critically endangered birds could prove a challenge – it’s estimated there are less than 110 left in the wild.

Read more at ECU news

 

“No parenting award for malleefowl”

Malleefowl in northern Wheatbelt, Western Australia. T Doherty
Malleefowl in northern Wheatbelt, Western Australia. T Doherty

We asked researchers from ECU’s School of Natural Sciences about some of their favourite Australian wildlife. In this piece PhD student Tim Doherty talks about his choice, the Malleefowl (Leipoa ocellata).

If awards were given out for the best parents in the animal kingdom, it’s unlikely the malleefowl (Leipoa ocellata) would make the cut.

Read more at ECU News

WA forest management 2014-2023

Karry Smith http://www.redbubble.com/people/pradu/works/4275366-boranup-forest-karri-trees
Karri forest. source: Karry Smith http://www.redbubble.com/people/pradu/works/4275366-boranup-forest-karri-trees

This week I attended a discussion forum on the protection of forests in the south west of Western Australia, organised by the Conservation Council of WA and the WA Forest Alliance. This event saw the launch of a position statement from 36 international scientists regarding the 2014-2023 Draft Forest Management Plan currently under review by the EPA.

The forests are under unprecedented environmental pressures and continued disturbance from industrial-scale logging. These pressures include the spread of forest pathogens, soil compaction and erosion, destruction of threatened species habitat, uncontrolled fires, and fragmentation. The magnitude of these pressures may be exacerbated by current and future climatic changes. The new FMP must acknowledge and reduce these pressures in order to protect ecosystem services and integrity.

In the statement the authors recommend a list of measures to be incorporated into the plan, including, but not limited to:

  • protection of critical habitat for threatened species
  • additional corridors linking refuge areas
  • improved protection of areas free from dieback
  • valuing the forests as a carbon store

Much of the discussion focused on big issues like forest thinning, water catchment management, prescribed burning and wildfire. A/Prof Mike Calver from Murdoch University discussed the history of forest management, highlighting that the preservation of forest integrity has always come second to social pressures and the economy of forestry.

It is therefore pertinent to ask: will the new FMP provide the south west forests with sufficient protection from increasing environmental and climatic pressures?