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Threatened species legislation and the Swift Parrot

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Allchin, R (2010) Threatened species legislation and the Swift Parrot. Honours thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

Swift Parrots (Lathamus discolour) are an endangered migratory species that breed only in Tasmania. The foraging habitat available for the species is fragmented and in decline, and continued tree loss is reducing already diminished food resources. The species has been listed as threatened under the Federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC Act) since 1999, and the Tasmanian Threatened Species Protection Act since 1995. The aims of this thesis was to assess how Federal and State threatened species legislation acts to protect the habitat of the Swift Parrot in Tasmania, how effective it is at achieving this outcome, and to make suggestions on possible improvements to the system. This was achieved through three case studies examining the removal of key foraging habitat of the Swift Parrot, E. globulus woodland and forest. The first case study, focusing on forestry operations in Tasmania through an examination of the Wielangta case, found that the Tasmanian Regional Forestry Agreement offers scant protection to threatened species. The second case study looked at a property development in Sandy Bay, which demonstrated the management of threatened species habitat is too onerous a task to be taken on by a local planning authority. The third case study of two associated infrastructure upgrades in south-east Tasmania referred to Environment Australia, demonstrated that the removal of 1000 trees crucial to a threatened species does not constitute a “significant impact” under the EPBC Act, so long as the loss is offset. Additionally the number of large E. globulus removed since the enactment of threatened species legislation in Tasmania was measured from remote sensing imagery. Four hundred and ninety four trees were found to have been removed in the study area, with 87% of the loss in Kingborough and 75% in Hobart due to urban development. Recommendations include removal of the exemption provided to RFA from the EPBC Acts assessment and approval process, and reform to the definition of “significant impact” on threatened species to ensure developments are assessed appropriately. Additionally it is recommended that a regional planning authority be establishment to alleviate part of the burden on local councils of threatened species management. Finally improvements should be made to the regulatory system to prevent unnecessary tree removal in urban areas.

Item Type: Thesis (Honours)
Date Deposited: 02 Mar 2011 23:20
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 04:13
URI: http://eprints.utas.edu.au/id/eprint/10229
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