Protect SEQ native State Forests
Queensland is a state rich in biodiversity, with more plant and animal species than anywhere else in the country. However, shockingly, it has the lowest percentage of land in protected areas compared to other states and territories in Australia.
Recent research, commissioned by QCC, has revealed that 70,000 hectares of State Forest in South East Queensland are home to a diverse range of plants and animals, and should be transferred to protected areas. These state forests provide crucial intact ecosystems that cannot be replaced, and are home to hundreds of threatened species. Protecting these forests is not only essential for the health of our environment but also for our own wellbeing. Check out the short video below!
These state forests are situated on the lands of the Gubbi Gubbi/Kabi Kabi, Jinibara, Dubgibara, and Wakka Wakka peoples, and include significant cultural sites, many of which have not been extensively surveyed or mapped. By transferring these state forests to protected areas, we can ensure the preservation of the ecosystems for generations to come and honour the cultural heritage of First Nations peoples.
State forests are public lands, but unfortunately, their primary purpose is for timber extraction rather than habitat and culture protection. This leaves them vulnerable to ongoing logging and other destructive processes, resulting in the loss of biodiversity and threatening the survival of already endangered species.
While the Queensland Government has made commitments to protect the unique plants and animals in SEQ, including ending logging of native forests in the lower half of SEQ (south of Noosa) by 2024 and transferring some native state forests to protected areas, this only covers 20,000 hectares. There are still 50,000 hectares of unprotected state forests without a plan for protection.
It's essential that the Queensland government commit to transferring all 70,000 hectares of native State Forest to protected areas before further logging takes place. The future of endangered species and the preservation of biodiversity depend on it.
How you can help
1. Send an email to the premier now - Send an email to the premier now to demonstrate your support for the protection of all 70,000 hectares of native forest in state forests before it is logged.
2. Sign up to volunteer - Get active to help build support and visibility in your community. Check out these campaign materials which you can share online or for local market stalls and events with other volunteers.
3. Join our Forest Watch Project - We are using citizen science to help highlight why these areas need protecting. Join our iNaturalist project and check out our Forest Watch guide. You can join our next bioblitz or organise your own with some friends.
Read more: Campaign to double Queensland's Protected Areas
National park proposals
Glasshouse Mountains National Park Expansion proposal
Home to the endangered greater glider, koala and other threatened species, three State Forests next to Glasshouse Mountains National Park would provide linkages in a rapidly developing landscape.
Luttons State Forest contains 183 ha of nationally threatened species habitat including known Greater glider habitat. We propose 183 of this 312 hectare State Forest is protected as a priority.
READ MORE: Glasshouse Mountains National Park expansion proposal in the media
Peachester State Forest contains 88% remnant vegetation identified as core koala habitat and is likely habitat for 24 nationally listed threatened species. Threatened species recorded on site include the endangered Giant Barred frog, vulnerable Richmond birdwing, Koalas, Tusked frog and Cascade treefrog. The 738ha forest is proposed for protection in its entirety.
Beerburrum West State Forest contains 2517 ha of remnant vegetation that is known habitat for 12 vulnerable species including the Tusked frog and Powerful owl. These non-plantation parts of the more than 9,000 ha State Forest are proposed for protection.
Recently, through the incredible work of local grassroots groups and the Sunshine Coast Environment Council we are one step closer! The Qld Government has confirmed there is no more logging for the above state forests. As well as this, most of Peachester state forest, Beerwah (Ferny Forest), parts of Luttons state forest and a small part of Beerburrum West have been announced for early transfer to National parks. This is a great step but still a long way to go before the whole area is transferred.
Image: Powerful owls have been recorded in SEQ including at Beerburrum West, Benarkin, Deongwar, Imbil and Jimna State Forests. They are listed as vulnerable and need this habitat to recover viable populations. Thank you photographer Lucy Parker Paul and Protect the Bush Alliance. Image reproduced with permission.
Conondales Complex / Yabba National Park Proposal
There has already been a proposal presented to the QLD government by Hinterland Bush Links, Conondale Range Conservation Association, National Parks Association Queensland and Sunshine Coast Environment Council, for Yabba state forest and surrounding state forests to be protected and transitioned to a national park, creating connectivity between Wrattens and Conondale National Parks.
READ MORE: Yabba National Park proposal on ABC
These protections will help secure the future of fifteen endangered and of concern regional ecosystems, and protect the habitat for at least sixteen threatened species including, Koala, Greater Glider and Black-breasted Buttonquail, Giant Barred Frog.
Benarkin National Park Expansion Proposal
Gazetted in 2006 is a little known and highly inaccessible national park on the northern end of Benarkin State Forest. The Benarkin National Park is currently only 218 hectares but contains endangered regional ecosystems and vulnerable species including black-breasted button-quail and brush-tailed rock-wallaby.
Surrounding this national park is a further 9 thousand hectares of diverse ecosystems including habitat for Koalas, Greater gliders, Yellow Bellied Gliders, rainforest and endangered vine thickets. These vine thickets are home to towering Qld Bottle Trees, and are a ecosystem underrepresented in protected areas with only 15% of there pre colonisation distribution remaining.
The area is a popular spot for regional tourism with the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail running through Benarkin State Forest. If Benarkin National Park was expanded, under strong management it could attract more visitors to the area.