The EPA told stakeholders it was ditching specific search requirements for glider den trees, which must currently be retained with a 50-metre logging exclusion zone around each one.
Instead, Forestry Corporation will have to keep more large, hollow-bearing trees a hectare – 14 instead of the current eight in high-density glider areas, and 12 instead of the current eight in low-density areas.
Experts are furious and say the change will fast-track the glider’s slide towards extinction, given each animal uses between six and 20 den trees, and also needs food trees nearby.
Andrew Wong, a greater glider ecologist with Wilderness Australia, said Forestry Corporation would be able to log right up to the base of retained trees.
He said the new rules would not leave behind useful habitat for gliders.
“Everyone you talk to is basically saying they are going extinct.”
The federal minister Tanya Plibersek moved the greater glider from vulnerable to endangered status after the black summer bushfires wiped out more than a third of its habitat.
She declined to comment.