Koala numbers have plummeted by 33 per cent over the last twenty years and experts are now warning that they are likely to be driven to extinction. In NSW the decline of koalas and other native wildlife is being driven by inadequate state laws regulating both private land clearing and logging.
The National Parks Association of NSW (NPA) is calling on the NSW government to ‘abandon its draconian logging plans and chart an exit out of native forest logging, and for the federal government to rethink its commitment to signing new Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs),’ said Ms Alix Goodwin, NPA CEO.
They’ve based their call on the recent study by three University of Canberra academics for Forest & Wood Products Australia (FWPA) reported recently in the Sydney Morning Herald that showed a strong majority of people oppose native forest logging.
‘The study found that urban and rural votes broadly share the same strong disapproval of logging – putting the lie to claims that only urban dwellers care about the environment – and that logging is unpopular even where the remnants of the industry persist,’ said Ms Goodwin.
‘The results are in line with polling conducted in the NSW electorates of Lismore and Ballina in December 2017 that showed 90 per cent support for protecting forests for wildlife, water, carbon stores and recreation.
‘This is the latest piece of evidence that clearly demonstrates how far the NSW government’s plans to intensify logging, abandon species protections and open protected forests up for logging are removed from public expectation,’ she said.
North Coast koala blitz
A hard-hitting multi-media campaign is being launched on the NSW North Coast to raise awareness about how new deforestation laws are driving koalas to extinction.
‘These ads are shocking but not as shocking as the truth about deforestation and the death of koalas across NSW,’ Wilderness Society National Director Lyndon Schneiders said.
‘Koala numbers are plummeting in NSW. It is estimated they fell from 31,400 to 21,000 in the two decades from 1990–2010, and their numbers are continuing to decline in most parts of the state.
‘Deforestation rates have escalated in NSW and eastern Australia is now a global deforestation hotspot. We need new laws to turn this around.
‘We want people to understand that koalas face extinction unless we stop destroying their homes, which means ending deforestation and the bulldozing of habitat.’
NSW Nature Conservation Council CEO Kate Smolski said: ‘In one district in the northwest of the state, more than 5,000 hectares of koala habitat were bulldozed in just 12 months.
‘Trees in that region were bulldozed at a rate of about 14 football fields a day, and that’s just one part of our state.
‘We know what the solution is. We need strong new laws to end deforestation and start restoring degraded habitat so wildlife like koalas can thrive.
‘That’s why we are advocating for law reform to protect high-conservation-value forest and bushland, and to set up a biodiversity and carbon fund to pay landholders to restore degraded areas.