With logging resuming in Nambucca State Forest after devastating fires late last year, conservation groups and the Gumbaynggirr traditional custodians are calling on the NSW government-owned Forestry Corporation to instead protect ‘the last areas of unburnt forests on the state’s north coast’.
NSW Nature Conservation Council (NCC) claims that ‘over 50 per cent of state forests on the north coast burned, and more than 5,000 koalas perished, so we should stop logging until koala populations and their forests have had a chance to rebound’.
Its chief executive Chris Gambian said the timber company ‘intends to log 109 hectares of the small 312 hectares of prime wildlife habitat on the doorstep of the township of Nambucca Heads.
‘Trees that are habitat for a wide range of native animals, including the greater glider, sooty owl and koalas, will be cut down to make telegraph poles, pool decking and pallets’, Mr Gambian said.
‘Based on Forestry Corporation figures, we estimate logging intensity on the north coast has increased 200 per cent since the fires’.
Comments not refuted by FC
Echonetdaily asked Forestry Corporation to confirm the accuracy of NCC’s comments, particularly: has ‘logging intensity on the north coast increased 200 per cent since the fires?’
A Forestry Corporation spokesperson replied, ‘Forestry Corporation has greatly reduced the extent and intensity of timber harvesting in native forests in the months since the bushfires.
‘We are also implementing additional precautionary conditions to protect soil, water and wildlife in forests areas that were impacted by fire.
‘Wood supply is being maintained to the local north industry largely through increased hardwood plantation operations, as a short term measure, to ensure that sustainable timber products continue to be available for local wood processors.
‘Operations to harvest and regrow renewable timber take place in around one per cent of NSW state forests each year. In Nambucca State Forest, more than half of the area is set aside for conservation purposes and will be left untouched.
‘The areas that are selectively harvested are all regrowth forests that will regrow again, and continue to provide renewable timber products for the future’.
No assessment of fire impacts
Yet the NSW Nature Conservation Council is calling for a ‘full ecological impact assessment, and time for the forests to recover’.
‘We are driving our forest wildlife to extinction to make products that will end up in landfill, or rot in people’s backyards.
‘This is a disgraceful waste and must be stopped’.