Positive Progress For Leadbeater’s Possum Recovery Efforts

Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Water, Lisa Neville, and Minister for Agriculture, Jaala Pulford, today released the Supporting the Recovery of the Leadbeater’s Possum: Progress Report, and launched an interactive map that provides the public with up-to-date information on possum colonies and protected habitat.

The report details a number of Leadbeater’s Possum recovery milestones delivered over the past twelve months.

Key achievements and actions include:

  • A total of 116 Leadbeater’s Possum colonies detected in the Central Highlands, including 71 new Leadbeater’s Possum colonies in State Forest
  • DELWP and VicForests working together to protect the newly identified Leadbeater’s Possum colonies from timber harvesting operations, via the introduction of 200m buffer zones
  • Delay of timber harvesting in areas where there is greater than 65% probability of Leadbeater’s Possum occupancy, resulting in 14,800ha being deferred from harvesting to enable targeted surveys for Leadbeater’s Possum to be carried out in those areas.
  • Leadbeater’s Possum recorded at 50 out of 113 sites surveyed (44%) in targeted surveys conducted by DELWP
  • VicForests’ introduction of Regrowth Retention Harvesting (RRH) in place of traditional clearfell methods, within the possum’s habitat range. Fifty per cent of ash forest harvested within the range over a three-year period will be harvested using RRH methods
  • Initial monitoring has found Leadbeater’s Possums nesting in artificially created hollows, constructed by specialist arborists. Leadbeater’s Possum nests were also found in 60 nest boxes, an occupancy rate of 25%

In addition to recommended recovery actions being undertaken in the Central Highlands, extensive work to support Leadbeater’s Possum survival has also been carried out at Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve.

Those efforts are focused on a small lowland-forest population of Leadbeater’s Possums. To improve habitat for the Yellingbo possum colonies, more than 300,000 stems have been planted, and cattle grazing is being phased out on stream fronts adjoining the Conservation Reserve.

Coinciding with the release of the report is the launch of the Leadbeater’s Possum Interactive Map, that provides public access to up-to-date information, including confirmed colonies and the surrounding Special Protection Zones, areas where there is a modelled probability of occupancy by Leadbeater’s Possum, and areas where DELWP has undertaken targeted surveys.

Footage of Leadbeater’s Possum using artificial hollows, and the interactive map, can be viewed at delwp.vic.gov.au/leadbeaters

Quotes attributable to Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water Lisa Neville

“It is pleasing to see the progress being made in implementing the Advisory Group’s recommendations though a collaborative effort across government and with the community.”

“Monitoring is vital in providing us with a clearer picture of possum numbers, and the detection of 116 Leadbeater’s Possum colonies in State forests and national parks across the Central Highlands is encouraging.”