Good things in trees

Hinterland welcomes move to place Ferny Forest in safe hands

MOUNTAIN bike riders and conservationists alike are celebrating the decision to safeguard 2,548 hectares of former State Forest, including Ferny Forest in the Sunshine Coast hinterland from logging, grazing, and mining.

State Parliament last week approved the revocation of the current land tenure classification of these parcels of land including 129 hectares of Ferny Forest.

Queensland Conservation Council spokesperson, Nicky Moffat, commended the Palaszczuk Government’s commitment to fulfilling its promise of ceasing native forest logging in the region, and expanding Queensland’s protected areas network to encompass 17 per cent of the state.

“This is a critical first step for the conservation of endangered greater gliders, koalas, and numerous threatened species reliant on these forest ecosystems,” Ms Moffat said.

The move was also hailed as a triumph for mountain bike riders and local residents, who have long cherished the natural beauty and recreational opportunities offered by the Ferny Forest.

Cameron Gibson (top right), a devoted mountain biker from Narangba, said it was a great outcome for outdoor enthusiasts.

“Ferny’s protection is fantastic news,” he said.

“The local tracks here are a haven for mountain biking enthusiasts, offering a great opportunity for kids to connect with nature.”

He highlighted the diverse wildlife inhabiting the area, emphasising its ecological significance and the need for its preservation.

The newly designated protected areas include the Wickham Timber Reserve, now integrated into the Plunkett Conservation Park, and the Beerwah State Forest, which encompasses Ferny Forest, now rebranded as the Mooloolah River Conservation Park.

Similarly, the Deer Reserve State Forest, West Cooroy State Forest, Luttons State Forest, and Mount Mee State Forest have been incorporated into various existing conservation parks, further enhancing the state’s conservation efforts.

The Government said it was a first step in its “commitment” to transfer 20,000 hectares of state forest to the protected areas estate under the Native Timber Action Plan.

“(This will) enable its future classification as a conservation park, supporting the protection of threatened species, including central greater glider, koala, glossy black-cockatoo,” the government stated.

Environment Minister, Leeanne Linard, said it is a first step in stronger protections for native species.

“The motion passed in State Parliament is the first stage of transferring more than 2,500 hectares of land currently declared as timber reserve and state forest into our protected areas estate as either national park or conservation park,” she said.

“This will afford stronger protections and enhanced management for crucial habitat for threatened species, including our iconic koala.

“The Government acknowledges the invaluable contribution protected areas and forests provide for Queensland.

“Our protected area estate is also a major contributor to Queensland’s economic prosperity that attract over 50 million visits per year,  including visitors from around the world.”

Image courtesy of Patrick Woods