The latest in a series of actions to save trees and habitat, native forest logging has been halted this morning by protests in Doubleduke state forest, between Grafton and Casino.
A protester at Doubleduke has been suspended in a tree-sit 25 m above three industrial logging machines. Protests have also stopped logging in the Manning and in the mid North coast.
Tree-sitter Andrew George, an engineer from Lismore says the appropriate response to people trying to chop down our forests is to stop them. ‘Our forests are essential to climate resilience and biodiversity yet their destruction in NSW is being actively subsidised by the taxpayer.
Mr George said that as an engineer he has seen the consequences for the community of the destruction of our natural ecosystems. ‘I have been professionally engaged in the expensive and disruptive process of rebuilding our communities after a climate cataclysm.
Destroyed carbon sinks
‘Caring for our community means caring for our forests. We cannot afford to allow our carbon sinks to continue to be destroyed at taxpayer expense.’
The Bungawalbin catchment is known as a stronghold for endangered population of coastal emu and other endangered species including Koalas, the Barking Owl, the Little Lorikeet and Brushed Tailed Phascogale.
Stop logging our public native forests
Sue Higginson MLC was on site this morning to support the protesters. Ms Higginson said that this morning logging was stopped in this very important public native forest. ‘Members of the community across all of New South Wales right now are calling on the New South Wales Government – the Forestry Corporation, to stop logging our public native forests.
‘Doubleduke State Forest (west of Woodburn), like many of our public native forests, was severely impacted by fires in the 2019/2020 bushfires. This forest is just recovering.
‘I am absolutely flabbergasted that I’ve come here today and whilst this forest is recovering, the forestry Corporation the New South Wales Government – is here destroying it. It is taking out the structure and the health of this forest.
‘This forest is home to some of our most threatened and unique animals. The coastal emu; the greater glider; the koala; the yellow-bellied glider, and of course the owls – the masked owl.
Ms Higginson said the forest is so valuable to us standing. ‘This forest is a carbon sink. We need to protect these forests in our frontline defence against the changing climate. Logging our forests causes greenhouse gas emissions. Protecting them draws down emissions.
Saving forests the most important climate action
‘Saving forests right now is the most important climate action we can be taking. Right now members of the community are calling on the New South Wales Government to end this practice. Last year it costs the New South Wales Government and the taxpayers $9 million to log our public native forest. There is no sense doing this and we call on the government right now, put a stop to this barbaric, insane practice – end the logging of our precious public native forests.
Spokesperson for the Save Banyabba Koalas group, Sean O’Shannessy said that over the past several years the NSW State Government has invested in research on the Barking Owls of the Bungawalbin Catchment to determine the status and map habitat nest trees. ‘The research started pre-2019 Black Summer fires.
‘After the devastating fires it became a recovery mission with many organisations raising funds to install nest boxes for native marsupials the barking owl is reliant on for food.
‘It beggars belief that the NSW State Government would be logging critical habitat for our threatened species that are trying to recover from the fires and 2022 floods.’
Felling trees adjacent to wetlands
Mr O’Shannessy said that last week loggers were felling trees adjacent to wetlands of national significance and it is not known if prescriptions meant to protect these wetlands were adhered to.
‘We need our forests to help mitigate climate change. These forests were cooked in the 2019 Black Summer fires. There are hardly any big trees left, the trees they are logging are so small there is hardly any timber in them. So much better to leave them in the ground to store carbon and improve habitat and drought resilience.
‘Forestry Corporation are locking up our public native forests, operating at an ongoing loss subsidised by taxpayers.
‘Locals reliant on Glencoe Rd for emergency purposes and people who use the forests for recreation have not been allowed into the forest for months now.
‘It is far more appropriate for our public native forest to be open to the public to use for recreational and cultural activities than locked up and destroyed for the profit of an elite few.’
A heartfelt thank you to all our forest protectors.
These protesters are heroes in my mind. Someone has to stop the rape and pillage of our forests. Two years ago my wife made the first reported sighting of a koala in the New Italy area, although we now know there have been many more unreported sightings over the past 3 decades. If the state government were serious about koala conservation these practices would be halted immediately. How can I help?