The Australian and Queensland governments are addressing koala population decline through conservation strategies, as they confront threats like urban expansion, disease, habitat loss, vehicles, dogs, drought and fire.

Koalas are listed as endangered in Queensland under Queensland's Nature Conservation Act (1992) (NC Act) and the Australian Government's Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (1999) (EPBC Act).

Queensland's native timber harvesting is selective, where individual trees are chosen for harvest from across the available area, leaving some large trees for habitat purposes and leaving some areas unharvested. This ensures that suitable habitat for koalas is maintained in the remaining forest.

Forest harvesting operations on state-owned land must comply with state and commonwealth planning and policy provisions for koala protection, including:

Koala protection measures

There are many things we do to protect koalas during forest operations, including:

  • reviewing koala records on Wildnet and the Atlas of Living Australia
  • checking Queensland Government koala habitat mapping
  • applying practices as though there could be koalas on a proposed harvesting area, even if they aren't
  • conducting field habitat assessments (like searching for scats, tree markings and incidental sightings) to measure the presence and distribution of koalas
  • undertaking a significance assessment of proposed operations under the EPBC Act, and self-assessments of each proposed harvesting operation
  • identifying and protecting high-use koala trees, which are indicators of a koala's home range
  • training our staff and forest operators to spot koalas and ensure trees are inspected for the presence of koalas and any other wildlife before harvesting
  • conducting harvesting operations to maintain habitat links within the harvesting site and between the site and adjacent areas
  • temporarily stopping operations or moving to another part of the forest if a koala is found, until the koala moves.

Research shows that koalas will tolerate low levels of disturbance, such as the selective harvesting that we authorise (New South Wales Resource Assessment Commission), and they continue to occupy forests once harvesting is complete.

Also, there is no discernible change in koala density from pre-harvest to post-harvest periods in the control locations (national parks) or harvested state forests.