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Byron Shire
October 16, 2021

Clearfelling north coast native forests illegal: NEFA

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Broadscale clearfelling in Kerewong State Forest, near Kendall under the guise of 'single tree selection' by NSW Forestry Corp in contravention of the rules. Photo Lyn Orrego, NEFA
Broadscale clearfelling in Kerewong State Forest, near Kendall under the guise of ‘single tree selection’ by NSW Forestry Corp in contravention of the rules. Photo Lyn Orrego, NEFA

Conservations are calling for a halt to the clearfelling of swathes of native forests across the north coast under the guise of so-called ‘single tree selection’.

The North East Forest Alliance also wants NSW Environment minister Mark Speakman to enforce the state’s logging rules and direct the NSW Forestry Corporation (FCNSW) to stop clearfelling.

NEFA spokesperson Lyn Orrego said the FCNSW was clearfelling huge swathes of forests in breach of the conditions of its logging approvals.

‘FCNSW  misleadingly call these large clearfelled areas – some over 100 hectares in size – “Single Tree Selection” (STS),’ Ms Orrego said.

She said a letter from the Environment Protection Authority on the minister’s behalf had acknowledged that clearfelling was not consistent with the definition and intent of STS in the Integrated Forestry Operations Approval (IFOA), and also went against FCNSW’s own silvicultural guidelines.

‘So we have an acknowledgement from the regulator that FCNSW is operating outside their approval conditions yet the minister will do nothing about it,’ she said.

‘The so-called solution put forward in the EPA letter is to wait for the new IFOA the state government is planning to put on public display at some time in the future.

‘We know the government’s intent is to authorise the clearfelling (with just a few trees to be retained) across 140,000 hectares of public forests between Grafton and Taree and to increase logging intensity elsewhere.

‘This just rewards FCNSW for their illegal logging practice and is an unacceptable “solution”’, she said.

North Coast Environment Council spokesperson Susie Russell said the lack of regulation in the forestry industry was ‘shameful’.

‘The impact of clearfelling on our forest dependent threatened species such as the koala is disastrous,’ Ms Russell said.

‘The number of koalas on the east coast of Australia declined by more than 40 per cent in the 20 years between 1990 and 2010. 

‘The Greater Glider, considered common when the Approvals were issued has now been listed as threatened with extinction. Logging is the main threat it faces.

‘Other impacts of clearfelling include soil losses, water pollution and the lost opportunity to store carbon by not keeping the public forest estate in a more mature growth stage as it used to be.’

Ecologist, David Milledge of Landmark Ecological Services, said clearfelling had a substantial adverse effect on biodiversity and on native animals.

‘This is evidenced by the high proportion of such species listed as threatened under the Threatened Species Conservation  (TSC) Act 1995.  It is diametrically opposed to Ecological Sustainable Development,’ he said.

Meanwhile, Ms Russell said the NSW Public was footing the $79 million bill subsidising the logging industry.

‘People only have to look on Google Earth and click on the history button to see that the state forests across the north coast of NSW are being hammered as they never have been before.  It’s vandalism pure and simple,’ she said.

‘This is why the North East Forest Alliance is campaigning for a transition out of logging of our public native forests. They need to be left to grow old and managed for public benefit, which includes increasing water supply and supporting the unique animals and plants that depend on them,’ she said.

‘Now that the EPA, writing on the minister’s behalf, has admitted that the clearfelling is “not consistent with” the IFOA the minister has no excuse to allow such intensive logging to continue.

‘He must order this illegal logging to stop now as it contravenes the law and the promise of Ecologically Sustainable Forest Management (ESFM) which the IFOA was written to deliver.’



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  1. OMG

    Are there no Courts to protect us from those that can act with such impunity of the law.

    Nothing has changed really so do as John Corkill did at Chaelundi etc and challenge them,

    • We would love to challenge them Al, but unfortunately laws have been passed since Chaelundi that take away the rights of citizens like ourselves to challenge any forestry activity conducted by Forestry Corporation in the public’s State Forests. Outrageous but true.
      Labor have promised to return those rights to legal challenge and the Greens support also… not surprisingly the Libs and Nats have not made a similar commitment.

  2. Everytime you close one door to the forest these parasites find another way in . Council what council ? 10 years jail minimum might slow them down.

  3. “Ecologically Sustainable Forest Management” is just a sick joke at the expense of Australia.
    This is comparable with the whimsical “Army Intelligence”,”police Integrity”or “industry Self-regulation” These terms are not meant to be taken seriously, and the very idea that sustainability can be applied to forestry,where the available resource has been given to mills many multiples of the actual forest available, is ludicrous and no-one in the industry or government is concerned or able to be held responsible.
    And so, the future welfare of Australians has been obliterated by ‘death by a thousand cuts’. These forests join The Great Barrier Reef ,the Tasmanian Tiger and thousands of species forced to extinction by Government policy.
    Luckily the people are too stupid, to know or care.

  4. Just goes to tell you what ciminal bastards out pollies and administrators are – they don”t give a shit about their own regulations, but fine us with $5500 if we try to protect the environment.
    There’s only one word that comes to mind: Nazis!

  5. So sad to see the death of our beautiful living forests which give us oxygen, life and sustainability. When will this madness stop !!

  6. The story talks of clear felling only which is just a portion of the cycle. There is no mention of the limited scale of harvest nor of the regeneration of the logged sites. Green groups neglect to put any balance in their commentary on harvesting of forests as their sole objective as stated clearly in their constitution of ACF is to prevent native forest management in any form anywhere. The description of species diversity losses is totally attributed to forest management as it is a convenient whipping boy. The comment that our beautiful forests give us oxygen, life and sustainability is a nice but meaningless claim. The regenerated forest also provides oxygen, improved water yields sustains a whole range of species and increases the variety of habitats in nature required for a wider range of species. Forest harvest and regeneration as carried out by forest managers does provide a much more sustainable supply of resources than coal mining. The implementation of a managed system of harvest and regeneration is never acknowledged by green activists as they dismiss these concepts out of hand and only see “preservation” as the only appropriate system of management.

  7. Instead of green groups going around saying that Forestry Corporation is clearfalling all native forests they should check their facts. The photograph above is taken of a plantation in Kerewong State Forest, NOT native forest as stated. Plantations are tree farms, they are planted to be eventually logged and then replanted.


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