EPA Boosts NSW Glider Protections: New Rules Explained!

Nature NSW has vowed to practice "civilian science" in the absence of EPA and FCNSW protections.

Thu 08 Feb 24


Harvesting will resume in NSW forests tied up in several stop-work orders connected to surveys of Greater Gliders in coups.

Wood Central understands a resolution between the Forestry Corporation of NSW (FCNSW), the NSW government-owned forest manager, and the NSW Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) was reached last week.

Under the agreement, FCNSW and the EPA have agreed on an amendment to the site-specific conditions of the Coastal IFOA, which, in effect, recognises landscape protection of Greater Glider dens.

It will, however, not have to do nocturnal surveys of trees looking for Greater Glider dens – which has sparked outrage from the Nature Conservation Council of NSW.

Wood Central spoke to a spokesperson from Timber NSW, the representative for the state’s native hardwood industry, who said, “The resolution demonstrates that the native forest industry has, and always will be prepared to protect native fauna and flora while still carrying out sustainable operations.”

The changes will come into effect from tomorrow (9th of February) and will, according to the EPA, ensure the endangered Southern Greater Gliders will have greater protection under NSW law.

According to the EPA’s Tony Chappel, the changes significantly protect gliders and other native animals reliant on hollow-bearing trees, such as possums, owls and parrots.

“This change means that instead of depending on unreliable point-in-time surveys to find the habitat of the gliders, we will assume the species is present and conserve their habitat,” Mr Chappel said.

“This ensures the critical habitats of some of our most endangered and much-loved native animals are protected,” before adding, “We have reviewed extensive research, sought expert views and believe this change strikes the right balance, resulting in significant ecological and regulatory improvement to the current arrangements.”

However, the changes have left the Nature Conservation Council of NSW incensed. 

According to Clancy Barnard, the NCC spokesperson, “The EPA seems to have agreed that surveying for nocturnal gliders during the day is ineffective, and rather than mandate nighttime surveys, they have simply removed the requirements to look for them altogether.”

“This decision will mean this beautiful animal will continue the fast glide towards extinction,” before adding, “It will now be up to citizen scientists to do the work the EPA and Forestry Corporation won’t and identify the hollow-bearing trees that are vital sanctuaries for endangered species like the greater glider.”

The new CIFOA requirements include:
  • A 50-metre exclusion zone around known recorded locations of greater glider dens.
  • Protection of extra greater glider trees in addition to existing hollow bearing and giant tree requirements:
    • Six trees per hectare greater than 80cm in diameter in high greater glider density areas, in addition to the eight hollow-bearing trees currently required to be protected.
    • Four trees per hectare greater than 50cm in diameter in lower-density areas, in addition to the eight hollow-bearing trees currently required to be protected.
    • The retention of additional hollows and future hollow-bearing trees in areas where greater gliders are less likely to occur.
  • Greater glider trees must prioritise hollows (especially ones with evidence of use) where they exist.
  • Undertaking of a monitoring program to ensure the ongoing effectiveness of these new rules for greater gliders.
  • A new map that shows where these different greater glider areas occur.


  • Jason Ross

    Jason Ross, publisher, is a 15-year professional in building and construction, connecting with more than 400 specifiers. A Gottstein Fellowship recipient, he is passionate about growing the market for wood-based information. Jason is Wood Central's in-house emcee and is available for corporate host and MC services.


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