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April 13, 2021

Call to end north coast cable-logging plan

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A cable-logger in action. Photo acltimber.com
A cable-logger in action. Photo acltimber.com

Environment groups on the north coast are launching a campaign to stop a trial of ‘cable logging’ around mid-north coast catchments.

The North Coast Environment Council (NCEC), the North East Forest Alliance (NEFA), the Bellingen Environment Centre and the Nambucca Valley Conservation Association are working together to stop the proposed catchment destruction.

The Nature Conservation Council of NSW (NCC) has also thrown added its voice to the call.

The NSW Government and the Forestry Corporation plan to use cable logging to get to steep areas of the Upper Nambucca, Macleay, Bellinger, Orara and Coffs Creek catchments.

‘Cable logging is a technique where logs are dragged up a slope on a cable. The limited information supplied so far by the NSW Government suggests it will be intensive and extensive,’ said NCEC spokesperson Ashley Love

‘In 1992 NEFA found a landslip at Mt Killiekrankie caused by steep land logging. It was our blockade that forced the logging to stop and an investigation to occur. We can’t go back to the bad practices of the past. Catchment protection is more vital now than ever before,’ Mr Love said

‘Not only will it lead to serious hydrological changes in the catchments it is also likely to lead to soil erosion, downstream pollution, increased flood event impacts. This region is know for heavy rainfalls and that is predicted to get more intense with the climatic changes we are seeing already,’ he added

‘Forestry Corporation are desperate for logs at any cost. They don’t have to deal with the damage, that cost is borne by the community and the environment. If this goes ahead no forested part of the steep land of the north coast will be safe.’

NCC CEO Kate Smolski said, ‘Logging on slopes over 30 degrees was abandoned years ago and must not be allowed to return to our forests – the environmental costs are simply too high.’

She added that, ‘In the Upper Bellinger Valley, 80,000 tonnes of soil washed into the river during as single logging operation on steep slopes in the early 1990s.’

‘As a result of the community outcry and a damning Land and Environment Court judgment, State Forests were subsequently required to prepare environmental impacts statements before logging, and steep lands were effectively removed from forestry operations.

‘Now, quite incredibly, the Forestry Corporation is preparing to pillage steeply sloping forests in this region once again, this time a controversial and costly technique called cable logging.

‘These areas are currently in very good condition, with lots of mature trees that contain hollows that are essential as nesting sites for many species,’ Ms Smolski said.

‘These precious areas must not be destroyed for short-term financial gain.’

The region’s struggling koala population, which is under intense pressure from habitat fragmentation, disease, and inbreeding, would be further threatened by this proposal.

‘Sightings and other records show koalas use these steeply sloping forest areas for feeding and as corridors between colonies, which allows separate populations to mingle and avoid inbreeding,’ she said.

‘We are calling on the Baird government to abandon this reckless plan, and for all candidates standing for seats on the north coast in next year’s state election to declare where they stand.’

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