Message from Nature Conservation Council of NSW:
Last week, the NSW Government released its draft Integrated Forestry Operations Approvals (IFOAs). These IFOAs regulate how logging of our native public forests takes place and what impacts logging has on our environment and wildlife.
The National Parks Association of NSW has been leading the analysis of the IFOA along with other NCC member groups. This work shows that sweeping retrograde changes are proposed that prioritise timber extraction over environmental protection, including:
- Increasing logging intensity throughout public native forests, including allowing high-intensity logging in 140,000ha of coastal forests between Taree and Grafton, enabling virtual clear-felling of areas up to 45ha in one go. This will convert biologically complex, natural forests into monocultures of blackbutt – which was articulated clearly in the expert scientific panel report.
- Permitting logging in stream buffer zones that are currently out of bounds for logging. These areas are the most important refuges for threatened species left in many forests, including gliders and quolls, and contain some of the most ecologically important trees in production forests.
- Opening previously protected old-growth forest to logging by remapping these high-conservation-value areas to make up timber shortfalls. Old-growth forests are rare and provide vital refuges for threatened species, including large owls and gliders.
- Permitting the logging of trees up to 140cm in diameter, and 160cm for blackbutt and alpine ash, and remove the need to protect recruitment trees (the hollow-bearing trees of the future) in logging operations.
- Replacing the need to look for koalas with a habitat model that will require the retention of a maximum of 10 feed trees of just 20cm diameter per hectare in mapped koala habitat.
The Government is undertaking public consultation on the draft IFOA commencing this week with a series of invitation only information sessions starting in Sydney and then moving to the regions – the north coast next week and then the south coast the following week. It is likely that they will also offer meetings to obtain stakeholder feedback. Closing date for written submissions is 5pm on 29 June 2018. We won’t be participating in the information or any feedback meetings but we will be making a submission. We strongly encourage you to do the same.
Instead, while the Government is busy greenwashing its draft IFOAs, we will be working with the National Parks Association of NSW and regional/local environmental groups to organise a series of information sessions to raise community awareness about the destruction associated with public forest logging and promote a better alternative for our public forests – one fit for the 21st century. These information sessions have already commenced in Sydney.
In February this year, environmental groups walked out of Government negotiations on native logging of public lands because we knew that the outcome of these negotiations was pre-determined. Since then, our position has not changed.
The NSW Government has clearly stated that it is committed to continuing logging of our native public forests for decades to come, despite any lack of scientific evidence that current logging agreements have been successful in meeting their objectives or that logging is the best use of our forests in the 21st century. In fact, it is now abandoning any pretence of sustainable logging by proposing dramatic erosions of environmental protection to meet timber supply shortfalls resulting from historic mismanagement.
Given this position, continuing to invest our time and resources in Government information and feedback sessions is futile. However, continuing to fight for the future of our precious native forests and wildlife is not.
Details about upcoming workshops and rallies, in Sydney and along the north and south coast, will be emailed to you in coming weeks.
We will not participate in a sham consultation process and we will never give up the fight.
Thanks for standing up for our forests!
Chief Executive Officer
Nature Conservation Council of NSW
***National Parks Association of NSW (NPA) – https://npansw.org/what-we-do/our-work/campaigns/end-native-forest-logging/
***NSW government website – https://engage.environment.nsw.gov.au/forests