South Sister St. Marys, Tasmania

Case against logging

View of South Sister
Photo highlighting the visibility of proposed logging coup from Germantown side of the Sisters.

reasons for creating reserve

1. Local Icon

South Sister is one of St Marys’ icons standing 831 m above sea level. It is majestic and seen from far and wide as one drives from St Helens, coming down Elephant Pass and driving up the Fingal valley

2. Water

Many local residents (German Town, Dublin Town, Gardiners Creek) draw their water directly from the South Sister via springs or small streams. The water is used for domestic use (including hydroelectricity) as well as for agricultural/horticultural use. St Marys’ town water supply is provided by a bore which has been drilled very close to a major fracture (Gould fault line) which runs directly through the proposed logging coupe. It is proposed that water flows from this coupe via the fault line to the St Marys bore.

Logging in this unstable area would lead to spring disturbances either by landslips destroying springs, changing water courses (removal of trees and other vegetation, snig tracks etc.) or after a few years, a reduction in groundwater (due to growing trees reducing the water table and therefore leading to drying up of springs). Reduction in tree canopy and understorey will result in increased run off (with subsequent erosion) as well as initial increases in groundwater (as canopy reduction will result in more rain hitting the ground initially and ultimately, as groundwater increases, landslide risk increases). The quality of water is also likely to be affected with increased turbidity due to increased run off/lack of ground cover leading to pollution of springs and streams.

3. Tourism

Many locals and tourists visit the South (and North) Sister to see the magnificent 360 degree views extending to Flinders Island in the north, Freycinet Peninsula in the south, Ben Lomond and Central Tiers to the west.

4. Recreation Activities

Many local residents use South Sister for recreational purposes on a regular basis e.g. rock climbing, bush walking, bird watching, horse riding, mountain bike riding.

5. Employment

6. Environmental reasons

Flora and Fauna:
South Sister has unique and varied flora and fauna. Numerous visiting scientists marvel at the biodiversity and consider it a 'biodiverse hot spot'. 96 floral species have recently been identified on the coupe with at least two being threatened and in need of protection. Eucalyptus brookeriana (protected species under Regional Forest Agreement) and Euphrasia collina ssp. deflexifolia (listed as rare on Tasmanian Threatened species list) are present on the coupe. Despite Forestry excluding E. brookeriana from the proposed logging (it forms the eastern steep coupe border) they will have to widen the road which will mean destruction of some of these trees. Euphrasia will also be sacrificed in various areas. There are an additional 13 floral threatened species found within a few hundred metres and up to a few kms of the coupe.

The area is also the habitat for the endangered Blind and rare Giant Velvet worms – both of which are only found in the northeast of Tasmania. The Blind velvet worm is found around Mt Elephant, St Patricks Head and South Sister area ONLY i.e. 159 square kms! The Giant Velvet worm has a larger habitat (600 sq kms) and is found on South Sister, through to Scamander and up towards the Blue Tier. The line of parapatry is a geographical line which demarcates the line between the two species. This line runs just north of the coupe and any logging may lead to destruction of this line. Parapatric lines are extremely rare with only four being known and identified in Australia and only a coupe of dozen in the world.

Five additional threatened species found in the area (some of which are on the coupe) include eagles, grey goshawks, spotted tailed quoll, eastern barred bandicoot and swift parrots.

In addition, 3 new recordings of moths have recently been identified as well as 6 moths not previously recorded in any Tasmanian National Park.

A new species of lichen has also been identified on South Sister with a new recording for Tasmania also found here. Two rare lichens rarely seen in Australia have been recorded and will be nominated for listing on the Tasmanian Threatened Species list.

Additional scientific studies are required to gain more information about the uniqueness of this area.

This area is geologically unstable with landslips having occurred in the past particularly after heavy rains. Intense heavy erratic rains are experienced in this area, further increasing the risk of landslides. Numerous consultants have expressed their concern that any disturbance of this land will lead to an increased risk of landslides and they recommend further assessment before any logging proceeds.
Rallings, van der Maesen,, Ingles, Stapledon 1, and Stapledon 2

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50419-13166 (3, 13, 30, 442)