Australia: save the koalas’ forest!

Koala on tree Koalas are under special protection, yet their habitat is being destroyed. (© wallpaper.net)

Australia’s koalas need help: the recent loosening of environmental laws has led to a surge in land clearing and habitat destruction. The state of Queensland does not even require permits in many cases. The rampant deforestation needs to stop NOW.

Call to action

To: The government of Queensland, Australia

Queensland must stop the destruction of forests and grasslands crucial to the survival of threatened wildlife.

Read letter

In Queensland, a state in northeastern Australia, land clearing is at a ten-year high. Habitat loss is threatening a dozen plant and nearly one hundred animal species, including Australia’s iconic koala and the cassowary – a large, flightless bird.

The number of koalas has plummeted from an estimated 100,000 to 40,000 in only five years. Once at home in lush forests, many now have to cope with scattered patches of woodland and suburban sprawl. To change trees in sparsely wooded areas, koalas are forced to come down to the ground – where they are vulnerable to attack by dogs or meet their end as roadkill.

“Queensland has once again become a global land-clearing hotspot after its vegetation laws were torn up by the previous state government,” notes biologist April Reside.

In many cases, “self-assessable codes” apply to land clearing, meaning that landholders don’t need a permit – they simply send in the bulldozers and inform the authorities later. While large-scale land clearing for “high-value agriculture” does require a permit, it's questionable whether such clearing is subject to effective oversight.

The state of Queensland will be electing a new government on November 25th. Now is the time to build international pressure and strengthen the position of Australian conservationists.

Please call on Australian policymakers to stand up for the protection of koalas and other iconic species and stop the destruction of their habitat.

Back­ground Letter

To: The government of Queensland, Australia

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Queensland has once again become a global land-clearing hotspot in recent years. Forests and grasslands are disappearing at an alarming rate.

In many cases, landowners take advantage of “self-assessable codes” that give them a free hand. As a result, conservation authorities have little idea which species are threatened and where they are losing their habitat. Furthermore, large-scale land clearing that does require a permit is not consistently monitored, making effective conservation work difficult or impossible.

Australia is spending billions of dollars to mitigate climate change through a variety of projects, yet is defeating its own efforts by allowing unchecked land clearing and the vast carbon emissions that this entails.

Queensland must curb the destruction of forests and grasslands crucial to the survival of threatened wildlife.

Yours faithfully,

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