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Thousands of hectares of state forests to be added to protected areas estate

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More than 12,000 hectares of state forests on the Sunshine Coast and surrounds will be dedicated as national and conservation parks.

The process, which started in state parliament this month, is part of the state government’s commitment to transfer 20,000 hectares of state forest to the protected areas estate under the Native Timber Action Plan.

The land being protected includes parts of Jimna State Forest, Peachester State Forest, Squirrel Creek State Forest, Bellthorpe State Forest, Beerburrum West State Forest, Deer Reserve State Forest, Elgin Vale State Forest, Luttons State Forest, Yabba State Forest, Delaneys Creek State Forest, Yurol State Forest and Ringtail State Forest. Scroll down for more details on each one.

The Minister for the Environment Leanne Linard said the government was focused on protecting and expanding areas of high environmental importance.

“Dedicating more than 12,000 hectares of state forest as national and conservation parks reflects our government’s proactive approach to environmental protection,” she said.

“This includes affording protection to our famous and threatened species, unique cultural heritage, ensuring vital forest resources are managed sustainably, offering unforgettable tourism experiences and providing Queenslanders with their most treasured recreational opportunities.

“Our protected area estate is a major contributor to Queensland’s economic prosperity and growing our protected are estate is essential for not just the environment but also the economy.”

Do you have an opinion to share? Submit a Letter to the Editor at Sunshine Coast News via news@sunshinecoastnews.com.au. You must include your name and suburb.

Queensland Conservation Council Protected Areas campaigner Nicky Moffat welcomed the move.

“It’s great to see the vital habitat these forests create being protected for future generations and for the conservation of threatened plants and animals,” she said.

There will be more protection for koala habitats. Picture: Shutterstock.

“Community on the Sunshine Coast region will be overjoyed to see the vision for a connected swathe of protected forests around the Yabba State Forest come closer to fruition.

“Wildlife need large connected patches to thrive, so it is wonderful to see large areas of the high conservation value Yabba State Forest as well as the nearby Jimna and Elgin Vale state forests on track for protection.

“We would support a high level of investment in community consultation around the best management of these forests and hope the Kabi Kabi, Butchulla, Jinibara and any other Traditional Owners in the area are meaningfully involved in decisions about ongoing forest stewardship.”

There are, typically, stronger protection measures in place at national and conservation parks, compared to state forests, which can be utilised for sustainable resource extraction and broader recreational activities.

The land being protected includes:

  • About 843 hectares of Jimna State Forest for dedication as part of the existing Wrattens National Park, supporting several threatened species including the tusked frog, glossy black-cockatoo and koala.
  • About 657 hectares of Peachester State Forest for dedication as part of the existing Glass House Mountains Conservation Park, containing core koala habitat and providing significant ecological and recreational values for the broader community.
  • About 6462 hectares of Squirrel Creek State Forest for dedication as the new Squirrel Creek National Park, containing endangered and of-concern regional ecosystems and riverine wetlands that provide important habitat for vulnerable species including the plumed frogmouth and black-breasted button-quail.
  • About 479 hectares Bellthorpe State Forest for dedication as part of the existing Bellthorpe National Park, forming part of a bioregional corridor containing important lowland forest ecosystems and including habitat for species of conservation significance including the tusked frog, koala and cascade treefrog.
  • Two areas totalling 1119 hectares of Beerburrum West State Forest for dedication as part of the existing Glass House Mountains National Park, providing connectivity and management benefits for the protected area estate in the Sunshine Coast. It also contains significant conservation values including habitat for species such as the glossy black-cockatoo and tusked frog.
  • About 100 hectares of Deer Reserve State Forest for dedication as part of the existing Deer Reserve Conservation Park, containing significant conservation values including the presence of koala and rib-fruited malletwood.
  • About 212 hectares of Elgin Vale State Forest for dedication as part of the existing Wrattens National Park, containing an of-concern regional ecosystem that will increase protection of habitat suitable for several threatened species including the koala.
  • About 119 hectares of Luttons State Forest for dedication as part of the existing Glass House Mountains Conservation Park, containing significant conservation values including the Coochin Hills grevillea and habitat for threatened fauna such as the central greater glider and koala.
  • About 576 hectares of Yabba State Forest for dedication as part of the existing Wrattens National Park, supporting several threatened species including the tusked frog, glossy black-cockatoo and koala.
  • About 289 hectares Delaneys Creek State Forest for dedication as the new Delaneys Creek Conservation Park, forming part of a bioregional corridor that contains habitat for unique flora and fauna including the hairy hazelwood and Richmond birdwing butterfly.

The following other areas of state forest will be dedicated under the Yurol Ringtail Conservation Project:

  • About 479 hectares of Yurol State Forest for dedication as part of the existing Tewantin National Park, which will enhance the natural ecosystems and deliver conservation and recreational opportunities for the community, including providing habitat for koalas.
  • About 889 hectares of Ringtail State Forest for dedication as part of the existing Tewantin National Park, which will enhance the natural ecosystems and deliver conservation and recreational opportunities for the community, including providing habitat for koalas.

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