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Byron Shire
May 18, 2024

What constitutes pristine rainforest?

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Carl Jung (1875/1961) once described the early 20 century as ‘The age of distraction’; I wonder how he would describe the current age; ‘The age of disinformation’, perhaps?

The current forest dispute unfolding in the Whian Whian State Forest has been described in your pages as being over the protection of ‘pristine rainforest’ and ‘old-growth Blackbutt forest’.

I would lay odds that not one in a thousand of your readers would be aware that the action is taking place in a forest that was specifically planted by NSW Forestry for the purposes of logging. Further, I would lay odds that not one in a hundred of your readers has ever ventured into the Whian Whian State Forest and viewed the plaques that designate the year in which the various blocks of forest were planted out for the ultimate purposes of logging.

I would be genuinely interested to know how many of your readers have actually walked the 8km Minyon Falls Loop, rather than simply observing from the lookout, and would therefore be aware of what a genuine ‘pristine rainforest’ looks like – and no doubt taken note of the fact, during their walk, that nature, whatever that may be, doesn’t intend anything to last forever in the fact that the lifecycle of the strangler fig favours its taking root in the forks of the very oldest and biggest trees in the forest and killing and supplanting them.

Lester Brien, Byron Bay

FYI Lester, the forestry is actually taking place on private land off Whian Whian Road under a contract with NSW Forestry Corporation and not in the Whian Whian State Forest as you suggest. – Ed


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  1. I want to take up a few points Lester made. Lester I have a disability that prevents me walking far these days but I have done the Loop walk previously about 20 years ago. Your inference that anybody that has not done the walk doesn’t know what they are talking about or deserve a say if forestry or threatened species management is ridiculous. You don’t have to be able bodied to have an opinion do you?

    The concept that native forests are for our utilization anyway we see fit and if they are not visited and enjoyed that they are valueless is equally misinformed. Google ‘Environmental Services’ and you will see forests are important for landscape health. In addition Australian Bureau of Statistics will inform you of Australia’s terrible record for mammal extinctions and the need to change how forests are managed. Without seeing the harvest plan I would say their are probably 20 or so threatened fauna species not being considered at all but known in that ecosystem.

    FCNSW would never have planted the Bopple Nuts or the flattened Bangalow Palms (rainforest sp.). I don’t know how you define rainforest but there are eucalypt species like Tallow Wood that are rainforest plants. Regardless as a threatened species they need to be considered in survey and and prescriptions applied to minimize impact to that species. As in this case the real problem lies with inadequate flora/fauna surveys and legally required prescriptions that are not applied.

    Glen Little
    Diploma in Applied Science
    Wildness, Reserves & Wildlife

  2. And even if what Lester was saying about the logging occurring on Whian Whian state forest instead of private land was true, that doesn’t detract from the fact that Blackbutt trees are a koala food tree. Koalas have no awareness of boundaries (private land here, plantation there). In Victoria thousands of koalas are being killed right now in plantations because they have wandered there in search of suitable habitat and met with a gruesome death.

    There is simply no justification for destroying habitat for our wildlife, especially threatened species, on private or public land for the sake of human economic benefit.

    And once again correct procedure has not been followed – this seems to be a common modus operandi these days that relies on people not standing up for them or not having the resources or time to fight in court.


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