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Byron Shire
August 2, 2021

Bentley prepping for another fight

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Bungabbee Forest near Bentley under threat from logging. Photo supplied.

Bungabbee Forest sits midway between Lismore, Casino and Kyogle – right near Bentley. Bungabbee is a little known environmental gem of the Northern Rivers.

Bungabbee is home to many threatened species. It forms part of the Mackellar Wildlife Corridor, connecting to the World Heritage Border Ranges. It is an area of outstanding biodiversity value in an extensively cleared landscape.

If this place is so wonderful, why is the  NSW Forestry Corporation are planning to conduct logging here in April 2021?

Twenty-seven threatened species

Twenty-seven threatened species have been previously recorded from this vicinity, including Koalas, Glossy Black Cockatoos, Powerful Owls, Yellow Bellied Gliders, Squirrel Gliders, Greater Gliders. Parma Wallabies and Red-legged Pademelons. As well as the critically endangered Scrub Turpentine, and three endangered flora species: Rainforest Cassia, Tinospora Vine, and Native Jute.

The North East Forest Alliance (NEFA) recently organised a weekend survey by botanists and zoologists that additionally revealed the previously unknown presence of two vulnerable animals – Long-nosed Potoroo and Marbled Frogmouth – and the Critically Endangered Native Guava, along with localities of 175 threatened plants.

NEFA Spokesperson Dailan Pugh said finding a large unknown outlying population of the regionally endemic Marbled Frogmouth is exciting. ‘This is one of only a handful of species that the Forestry Corporation is still required to protect additional habitat for, though in this case there is no requirement to look before they log.

‘Luckily we did.’

Scrub Turpentine and Native Guava unlikely to regenerate

Mr Pugh said that it was particularly disturbing to find significant populations of the Critically Endangered Scrub Turpentine and Native Guava. ‘The very survival of these species is threatened by the introduced fungus Myrtle Rust, they are unlikely to regenerate and now the Forestry Corporation are intending to bulldoze over the survivors.

‘Our results clearly demonstrate the need for pre-logging surveys to identify the presence and locations of threatened species so they can be appropriately protected”

‘More surveys are required to identify other threatened species and their localities.’ 

Mr Pugh said that Bungabbee is of significant recreational value and is utilised by bush walkers, horse riders and mountain bike riders. ‘The proposed rail trail passes within a few kilometres of Bungabee, which would provide a cluster of trails perfect for those seeking more challenging cycling experiences,’ he said.

Renata Phelps has been working with a team of locals to share information and organise future actions. ‘The local community is strongly opposed to the logging and are taking a pro-active stance lobbying against the proposed actions,’ she said.

Residents feel a residual sense of affinity to Bentley

‘Bentley is an area that many Northern Rivers residents feel a residual sense of affinity to, after our iconic community win against CSG drilling in 2014.

‘With an increased emphasis on local tourism post COVID, Bungabbee is far more valuable as a forest, accessible to the public, than as wood chip. We should focus on enhancing the environmental, recreational and tourism potential of this area, not destroy it.

‘Recent bushfires, drought, and land clearing have greatly impacted our region. Now, more than ever before, it is essential we preserved key wildlife habitats such as Bungabbee,’ said Ms Phelps.

A Petition against the logging can be signed online or in person at the Lismore Environment Centre, Goolmangar and Cawongla Stores, Rock Valley Post Office, Night Owl in Lismore and other locations.

Interested persons are also encouraged to join the Facebook Group, Bungabbee Forest Friends or subscribe to the email list.

NEFA’s Preliminary Assessment on Bungabbee can be read online.


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4 COMMENTS

  1. What do they mean ‘More surveys are required to identify other threatened species and their localities.’ ?
    EYES, EARS. I have those. You have those. Can everyone not clearly see and hear this forest teaming with precious life ?
    Look at our country from a plane. What percentage of red-desertland Australia is still fortunate enough to have a natural, diverse, wild zone of treed habitat ?
    Especially after billions of animals, birds, insects, and plants perished from the devastating, never before on such a grand scale, very unnaturally unquellable, still recent fires.
    Do they not know that forests are needed to precipitate rainfall?
    The MSM keeps pushing “man-made climate change” down our throats because we dare to breathe out CARBON dioxide EMISSIONS. Are not trees vital to replace the oxygen and restore the balance?
    Why does our “government” not vehemently oppose and STOP such destruction and murder of the biodiversity?
    Can they not see the forest for the trees?
    Is this about something as shallow, short-sighted, and moral-less as money and profits?
    Are we under occupation of a self-serving corporatocracy?
    Do they have no shame?
    No compassion?
    No brain?
    Spare the forest you bloody thieves. You murderers. You MORONS.

  2. It is a shame these gems are not looked after and open to tourism etc instead of being preserved by green politicians until the burn in the next fire.

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