Abandonment of Plan to Log Previously Protected Oldgrowth in State Forests Welcomed.

NEFA MEDIA RELEASE – 25 June 2020

The North East Forest Alliance welcomes the NSW Government’s announcement that they have abandoned their intent to open up large areas of oldgrowth forest protected in informal reserves on State Forests for logging.

We fought for 20 years to get oldgrowth forests mapped and protected as part of the national reserve system in 1998, and it was disgraceful that this Government was intending to log these hard won reserves after millions of dollars had been paid in compensation to the industry, said NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh.

“The 2019-20 fires burnt 62% of the 1.7million hectares of oldgrowth forest left in north-east NSW. While most oldgrowth forests will recover over time, many large old trees have been burnt down.

“Across the forests there has been a significant loss of the large oldgrowth trees and the essential hollows they provide for a plethora of our native wildlife. In NSW at least 174 native species (46 mammals, 81 birds, 31 reptiles and 16 frogs) are reliant on tree hollows for shelter and nests, and many more are reliant upon the abundant nectar provided by older trees.

“Over 2.4 million hectares of north-east NSW’s forests were burnt in the 2019-20 fires, including 59% of national parks, and over half the burnt forests suffered full or partial canopy loss. 

“Over 350 million animals were killed. Given the scale of this wildlife tragedy it is essential for the NSW Government to reconsider continued logging of public lands.

“Most importantly, with the loss of so many large hollow-bearing trees across north-east NSW, both in oldgrowth and other forests, we call upon the NSW Government to immediately stop logging all trees over 80 cm diameter across State Forests as homes, and potential homes, for hollow-dependent wildlife. 

“In light of the NRC’s advice that it is no longer possible to remap fire-affected oldgrowth we call upon the NSW Government to immediately stop their oldgrowth remapping process for private lands.

The NRC have identified ‘The elements of the program related to verifying wood supply from coastal state forests are still relevant and could proceed’

“The oldgrowth remapping was based on ‘an estimated shortfall of 7,600 to 8,600 cubic metres of high quality timber per year‘ before the fires, and numerous fire and drought affected trees have since died, so it is essential that there is an independent reappraisal of resources and an immediate reduction in logging using the ‘force majeure’ clauses of the Wood Supply Agreements” said Mr. Pugh. 

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