Australia — An endangered possum species that was devastated by the Black Saturday bushfires will face more trauma if logging of its habitat goes ahead, a court has heard.
The bushfires halved the population of Leadbeater’s possums to only 2000, a barrister for an environmental group told the Victorian Supreme Court on Monday.
The 2009 fires destroyed 45 per cent of the habitat of the possum, which is Victoria’s faunal emblem, barrister Kristen Walker told the court.
As Victorians prepare to mark the third anniversary of Black Saturday, lawyers for the group My Environment began a court battle with state-owned timber company VicForests to halt logging of the possum’s habitat in forest near Toolangi, northeast of Melbourne.
The small nocturnal possum is found only in the mountain ash forests of the area.
In her opening address, Ms Walker told the court that in the areas devastated by the fires there were no possums.
She said evidence would show that once a habitat was logged it took more than 100 years before it was again suitable for Leadbeater’s possums to live in.
“The plaintiff’s case, Your Honour, is that logging forever changes the forest and the landscape, and that has consequences not only for the trees, but the species that depend on that landscape,” Ms Walker said.
Barristers for VicForests will give their opening address when the trial before Justice Robert Osborn continues on Tuesday