This valley in Toolangi was largely protected by a few local volunteer groups after surveys and court cases identified critically endangered wildlife. Still, the Lyrebird Track was left out and is currently only spared by a temporary injunction granted by the Supreme Court.
If the group loses its case, this forest is gone forever.
For 23 years, I have lived in these forests trying to figure out ways to keep them standing in the face of industrial exploitation. By forming partnerships and creating organizations, we have saved what we could. Sometimes with success, sometimes not. In 2007, we achieved permanent protection of 5,500 hectares of some of the most beautiful mountain ash forests left on earth, across the south face of Mt. Baw Baw—we also saved the Baw Baw frog from extinction.
Our court case created protections for the critically endangered Leadbeater’s possum and in 2019, we achieved a protected area for Victoria’s Central Highlands exceeding 10,000 hectares.
Still, it’s not enough to slow extinction trends. We have lost a lot more than we have saved.