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Byron Shire
July 21, 2024

Are the forests, koalas, and wildlife worth saving? Red Rebels say ‘Yes’

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Red Rebels Northern Rivers were in Myrtle State Forest on Monday as part of the protests against the logging of fire ravaged forests in the area. Photo Chibo Mertineit.

Aslan Shand

Logging koala habitat that was severely burnt out during the recent and devastating Black Summer fires appears to be in opposition to the NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean’s statement that, ‘Koalas are the most iconic example of our mismanagement of the environment, and we’ve got to say “enough is enough”.’

Yet once again the NSW Forestry Commission is heading to burnt out forests with the intention to log. This time it is in the Myrtle State forest, that includes significant koala habitat, located 40km south of Casino, and Monday, 24 August is the start date.

‘Myrtle State Forest is part of 5,000 ha over three burnt State Forests within the Banyabba Area of Regional Koala Significance (ARKS) that the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) approved for logging last February,’ said North East Forest Alliance (NEFA) spokesperson Dailan Pugh.

‘The Banyabba ARKS was one of the worst affected by the 2019/20 bushfires, with 83 per cent of its modelled 71,000 ha of “likely” koala habitat burnt in the wildfires, with the apparent loss of 80–90 per cent of koalas from burnt areas. This was a huge impact on an already declining population.’

Bearing witness to both the devastation of the fires and to the future devastation that the planned logging will have on both the forest and the koala population Northern Rivers Red Rebels (NRRR) joined with other Australians last Sunday to mark their concern.

Fragile ecosystems

‘We were there to bear witness,’ said Cindy Lou Vallet of the NRRR .

‘We go in and are part of the forest; sending love and peace into the forest. We were there to make a statement about the [forest’s] importance and how needed these trees are. This forest has been logged and then ravaged by fire. There is so little left. We go in and walk in slow motion and express our feelings in the hope that some decisions will be changed.’

Marie Reilly from Extinction Rebellion highlighted how fragile the ecosystem in this area is as a consequence of the drought that was then followed by the unprecedented Black Summer fires.

‘With drought, bushfires and decades of logging – the Banyabba koala population is barely hanging in there. This forest desperately needs regeneration and care, not logging,’ she told The Echo.

‘It is reprehensible that the EPA approved this logging without first assessing the fire impacts on the Banyabba ARKS or the koalas within the logging areas,’ said Mr Pugh.

‘This population has been so badly affected that all surviving koalas are vital to rebuild it, they can’t afford to lose anymore.

‘Koalas are one of the many threatened species affected by both logging and wildfires that need our help to recover, not to be hit again with what could be a fatal blow.’

Ms Reilly says logging of all public native forests needs to stop so that the forests can recover and ‘continue to provide vital habitat, carbon sequestration, and water vapour cycles. This will help reduce climate chaos and lessen the likelihood of triggering climate “tipping points”,’ she said.

This Sunday, 23 August a group of concerned citizens will be returning to Myrtle State Forest to set up camp to ‘peacefully resist’ the resumption of logging in the area.

‘All those who want to give our koalas a future are welcome to come,’ Mr Pugh said.

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  1. Logging of Native forests is fools gold. Ecosystems
    are essential to life on the planet & these include
    human needs & understanding.

  2. THANK YOU SOOOOOO VERY MUCH RED REBELS…..we hope t be at the protest too.OMG everyone please come, the statement from Minister Matt Kean re Koalas are our iconic animals in trouble & we can’t allow this to go on….means nothing, absolutely nothing.In reality the obscene logging of unsustainable native forests for decades has continued unabated/on top of climate change & the recent horrendous fires…..YOU & Gladys the Koala Killer are disgusting. What else would it take for you to stop logging??THERE IS NOTHING LEFT>>>NO MORE PATHETIC EXCUSES>Our hearts & minds can not withstand your cruelty, dispassion and barbarism any longer.

  3. Logging must STOP…. Why bother to say
    ‘koalas are the most iconic example of
    our mismanagement of the environment’
    which turns into “double speak” when the
    NSW Forestry Commission has every
    intention of logging their habitat!!! Lies &
    more lies by the ‘fly-by-nights’.

  4. Brave Protectors all.
    10 Knitting Nannas went out to Myrtle Forest today to inspect the damage.
    . So sad to see the state of the trees. The whole area is starting to recover with little bits of greenery springing from apparently dead parts of trees. This forest needs time to recover. It is unbearable to think they will start logging again on Monday. The Knitting Nannas say “Think of the the kiddies (and koalas) – lets leave them a beautiful forest.

  5. Hey look in Byron back yard… & go do a drive by if the property at Kennedy’s Lane that has just been completely cleared of every tree to make an American looking film set for Nicole Kidman’s latest movie. Since due to cv the film can’t be shot in America. I think this unacceptable however someone approved it??


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