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Byron Shire
May 26, 2024

Can’t see the koalas for the trees

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Victor Ian Pierce Eddy, Mildura

I read your article ‘NSW government’s recipe for koala extinction’ (3 October) with interest. You quote both Susie Russell and Dailan Pugh who have been at the forefront of campaigns to save the native forests of NSW. To date they appear to have been very successful.

I worked as a forester with the NSW Forestry Commission managing native forests for 23 years. Then I managed a private river red gum forest for 16 years till the NPWS bought it. That private forest and most of the state forests I managed are now National Park or conservation reserves.

Several of those forests in northeastern NSW had healthy populations of koalas.

The Regional Forest Agreement process converted most ‘high-conservation-value’ state forests on the NSW north coast into conservation reserves. How is it that those protected forests are no longer doing their job of conserving the wildlife like koalas that they were established to protect?

If Susie and Dailan are successful in getting these additional areas that you refer to in your article locked up, how can I have any confidence that these additional koalas will have any better chance of survival than the ones that Susie and Dailan have already saved but now seem to have disappeared?

Back in 1966 the blackbutt plantation in Whian Whian State Forest had developed a very healthy population of koalas. Could it be that koalas actually benefit from productive forest management? Have those koalas disappeared from Whian Whian since it became a national park?

If koalas do become extinct in NSW as Susie and Dailan predict, might it be because of their conservation zeal rather than in spite of it?

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