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TitleNational Recovery Plan for Leadbeater's possum
LanguageEnglish
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Total Pages101
Table of Contents
                            FIGURES
TABLES
1.  SUMMARY
	Background
	Recovery Plan context
	Long-term recovery objective
	Recovery Objectives, Actions and Performance Criteria for the lifetime of this Plan
2. INTRODUCTION
	2.1. Current (2016) conservation status of Leadbeater’s possum
	2.2. About this Recovery Plan
	2.3. Urgent need and emergency response
	2.4. Significance of Leadbeater’s possum
	2.5. Consultation
3. BACKGROUND INFORMATION INFORMING RECOVERY ACTION
	3.1.  Description of the species
	3.2. Distribution
		3.2.1. Former distribution
		3.2.2. Current distribution
		3.2.3. Tenure and land use of the current distribution
		3.2.4. Recent decline in distribution
		3.2.5. Future range
		3.2.6. Survey techniques and effort
	3.3.  Population size
		3.3.1. Estimates of current population size
		3.3.2. Rates of current and projected population decline
		3.3.3. Subpopulation structure and genetic variation
		3.3.4. Population monitoring
	3.4.  Habitat
		3.4.1. Key habitat features
		3.4.2. Montane ash forest habitat
		3.4.3. Decline in habitat extent, suitability and connectivity: montane ash forest
		3.4.4. Sub-alpine (snow gum) woodlands
		3.4.5. Decline in habitat extent, suitability and connectivity: sub-alpine snow gum woodlands
		3.4.6. Lowland swamp forest
		3.4.7. Decline in habitat extent, suitability and connectivity: lowland swamp forest
		3.4.8. Habitat augmentation
		3.4.9. Habitat critical to survival
	3.5.  Diet
		3.5.1. Foraging and diet
		3.5.2. Food supplementation
	3.6.  Social structure
	3.7.  Demography and breeding biology
		3.7.1. Demography and reproduction
		3.7.2. Captive breeding and translocation
		3.7.3. Causes of mortality
4. THREATS
	4.1.  Historical causes of decline
	4.2.  Current threatening processes
		4.2.1. Impacts of severe fire and changes in fire regime
		4.2.2. Timber harvesting
		4.2.3. Reduction in the abundance of hollow-bearing trees
		4.2.4. Eucalypt dieback and altered hydrology (for lowland subpopulation)
		4.2.5. Population fragmentation
		4.2.6. Climate change
5. LEGISLATIVE, POLICY AND PLANNING CONTEXT
	5.1.  The legislative and the policy environment
	5.2.  National threatened species policy
	5.3.  Victorian state policy and planning
	5.4.  National forest policy
	5.5.  International agreements and obligations
	5.6.  Implications for this Recovery Plan
6. CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT HISTORY
	6.1.  Existing conservation measures
	6.2.  Other previously proposed conservation initiatives
7. Recovery objectives and actions
	7.1.  Context
	7.2. Recovery objectives, actions and performance measures
		7.2.1. Long-term recovery objective
		7.2.2. Recovery objectives, actions, outcomes and performance criteria for the lifetime of this Plan
8. PLAN IMPLEMENTATION
	8.1. Implementation schedule and costs
	8.2. Monitoring, evaluation and adaptation of the Recovery Plan
		8.2.1. Monitoring and review
		8.2.2. Variation and adaptation
	8.3. Potential benefits and impacts associated with implementation
		8.3.1. Broader biodiversity benefits
		8.3.2. Social and economic considerations
	8.4. Affected interests
		8.4.1. Role and interest of Indigenous groups
9. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
10. ACRONYMS AND DEFINITIONS
	10.1. Acronyms
	10.2. Definitions
11. REFERENCES
                        
Document Text Contents
Page 1

Draft only


National Recovery Plan for
Leadbeater’s possum (Gymnobelideus
leadbeateri)



February 2016

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© Copyright Commonwealth of Australia, 2016.


The National Recovery Plan for Leadbeater’s possum (Gymnobelideus leadbeateri) is licensed by the
Commonwealth of Australia for use under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence with
the exception of the Coat of Arms of the Commonwealth of Australia, the logo of the agency responsible
for publishing the report, content supplied by third parties, and any images depicting people. For licence
conditions see: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

This report should be attributed as ‘National Recovery Plan for Leadbeater’s possum (Gymnobelideus
leadbeateri), Commonwealth of Australia 2016’.

The Commonwealth of Australia has made all reasonable efforts to identify content supplied by third
parties using the following format ‘© Copyright, [name of third party] ’.



The Species Profile and Threats Database pages linked to this recovery plan is obtainable from:
http://www.environment.gov.au/cgi-bin/sprat/public/sprat.pl

Cover photo: Tamara Leitch and Claire McCall







https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
http://www.environment.gov.au/cgi-bin/sprat/public/sprat.pl

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5.2. National threatened species policy

In 2015, the Australian Government released the Threatened Species Strategy, which
committed to a new actions-based approach to protecting and recovering Australia’s
threatened plants and animals. The Leadbeater’s possum was identified in the Strategy as a
species requiring emergency intervention to avert extinction. Targets to measure success
included 20 threatened mammals with improved trajectories by 2020, including the
Leadbeater’s possum.

The Australian Government Environment Minister also approved an ‘Action Plan’ for the
Leadbeater’s possum in August 2015
(https://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/leadbeaters-possum-
action-plan), which provided additional advice on conservation management for this species,
including commitments of on-ground funding to improve habitat, research initiatives, and the
development of a new Recovery Plan.



5.3. Victorian state policy and planning

The Leadbeater’s possum is protected under Victoria’s state policy and planning framework.
Although protection applies to both public and private land, the possum is found almost
exclusively on public land, with less than 1% of records on private land. As such, the
planning effort is greater for public land. Outlined below are the key policy, planning and
management elements relevant to the Leadbeater’s Possum, with further information on
existing and previous conservation measures provided in Section 6.1.

Land management agencies of the Victorian State Government use park and forest
management plans to provide for the balanced use of the public land which the possum
inhabits. Key current land planning documents include but are not limited to the Central
Highlands Forest Management Plan 1998 under the Forests Act 1958 (Department of
Natural Resources and Environment 1998), the Yarra Ranges National Park Management
Plan 2002 and the Baw Baw National Park Management Plan 2005 (both prepared by Parks
Victoria under the National Parks Act 1975).

The forest management plan creates the Forest Management Zone system. These zones
specify which areas are used as general management zones (GMZ) managed for a range of
uses and values including timber harvesting, special management zones (SMZ) which are
managed to retain specific features and in which modified harvesting is allowed, or special
protection zones (SPZ), areas in state forest managed for conservation. SPZs are included
in the CAR reserve system as ‘informal reserves’. SPZs and SMZs can be altered during a
zoning review.

Forest management zones are of particular importance to commercial timber harvesting
operations which intersect with the Leadbeater’s possum distribution in the Central
Highlands. Timber harvesting is permitted in GMZs and SMZs of state forest, subject to the
Allocation Order 2013 (as amended) and ensuring compliance with the regulatory framework
outlined in the Code of Practice for Timber Production 2014 (Department of Environment
and Primary Industries 2014b) and the associated suite of management standards and
procedures (Department of Environment and Primary Industries 2014c). These documents
contain specific regulatory requirements that must be complied with when undertaking timber

https://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/leadbeaters-possum-action-plan
https://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/leadbeaters-possum-action-plan

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harvesting activities and include actions to protect species like the Leadbeater’s possum and
its habitat.

VicForests, the state-owned government enterprise responsible for the commercial sale of
timber from state forests on behalf of the Victorian State Government must comply with
these regulatory requirements. VicForests undertakes coupe planning and applies additional
modified harvesting methods to further manage risks associated with potential impact to the
Leadbeater’s possum. Key initiatives include regrowth retention harvesting, pre-harvest
surveys and research into improvements to silvicultural practices.

The Victorian Government has established an independent Forest Industry Taskforce to
provide leadership and reach common ground on future issues facing the timber industry,
job protection, economic activity, and the protection of native flora and fauna and threatened
species, such as the Leadbeater’s Possum. The primary area of focus for the taskforce will
be on future use and management of state forests in eastern Victoria, including the Central
Highlands. The taskforce will seek to jointly achieve broad community and cross-
parliamentary support to adopt and implement the agreed outcomes. The taskforce is
working to provide recommendations to government by 30 June 2016. Further information
about the taskforce can be found at: http://www.dpc.vic.gov.au/.



5.4. National forest policy

The Native Forest Policy Statement (Anon 1992) described three complementary
mechanisms required to achieve nature conservation objectives:

“First, parts of the public native forest estate will continue to be set aside in dedicated
nature conservation reserve systems to protect native forest communities, based on
the principles of comprehensiveness, adequacy and representativeness. The reserve
system will safeguard endangered and vulnerable species and communities. Other
areas of forest will also be protected to safeguard special areas and to provide links
where possible between reserves or other protected areas. Nature conservation
reserves will be managed so as to protect their values. Second, there will be
complementary management outside reserves, in public native forests that are
available for wood production and other commercial uses and in forests on
unallocated or leased Crown land. Third, the management of private forests in
sympathy with nature conservation goals will be promoted” [p. 7].

The first (the establishment of a reserve system comprising dedicated conservation reserves
that will safeguard threatened species) and second components are especially relevant for
Leadbeater’s possum conservation, whereas the third component is largely irrelevant in this
case because little of the possum’s distribution occurs on private lands.

The National Forest Policy Statement is implemented in part through Regional Forest
Agreements (RFAs), which are 20-year agreements between the Australian Government
and state governments with an objective to provide a balance of environmental, social and
economic outcomes in the management of Australia’s native forests. They facilitate
development of an internationally competitive wood and wood products industry; develop
and implement ecologically sustainable forest management and use; promote the
conservation and management of privately owned forests, and establish a comprehensive,
adequate and representative (CAR) forest reserve system consistent with the ‘JANIS’

http://www.dpc.vic.gov.au/

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