A research team has discovered the greatest impacts of logging in the wildland ecosystem of Australia, with a number of species being affected.
The team found that timber harvest has increased the rates of wildland beetle and disease in many areas.
They also found the greatest damage to species living in forests was caused by the logging industry, with many species being impacted the most.
“This research shows that the impacts of timber harvesting are not limited to the timber industry but have an impact on many other ecosystems,” said lead researcher Dr Dan Geddes.
“We also found that the most damaging impacts of forest logging are also the ones that occur at the least productive stages of the forest life cycle.”
Dr Geddis said it was critical to understand the role of these other ecosystems in the global cycle of life.
“Understanding the impacts on biodiversity, particularly the health of ecosystems and the resilience of ecosystems to climate change is essential to protect the health and sustainability of the world’s forests,” he said.
“Our work shows that while logging impacts biodiversity, it has also been the greatest threat to the health, well-being and livelihoods of forests and ecosystems across Australia.”
Dr Paul Kavanagh from the Queensland University of Technology in Townsville said the study was “exciting”.
“The research clearly shows that logging impacts wildlife, plants and animals in remote areas and is the single greatest threat impacting wildlife in Australia,” he told ABC News.
“The key finding is that there is no single impact to wildlife that is not linked to logging.”
The team said logging impacted on the health systems of many species, including: deer, bighorn sheep, wild horses, elk, bison and ruminant.
The study found the number of diseases caused by logging was the most significant driver of mortality of many endangered species.
The impact on species living on the land was particularly detrimental to birds, including the koala and white-tailed deer, which were also affected by the timber harvest.
“What we see is that in a lot of areas, wildlife has already suffered in this industry and these changes to their lives have not been offset,” Dr Kavanah said.
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