The genesis of this proposal was the finding of exceptional densities of Koalas at a number of localities and widespread Koala usage. The Koalas appeared to be increasing as the forests recovered from past logging, with good future prospects if the forest was allowed to age and provide increasing resources over time.
This proposal is about stopping ongoing degradation and restoring what has been lost. Recovering Koalas, another 39 threatened species, inadequately reserved Richmond River lowland forests, forest carbon carrying capacity, and stream flows. It is about honouring the community’s wishes and aspirations.
From NEFA findings it is apparent that remnant forests with numbers of mature Small-fruited Grey Gums, Coastal Grey Box, Forest Red Gum and/or Slaty Red Gum, on and adjoining the Richmond River floodplain, provide habitat that is highly significant to maintenance of the regional Koala population, along with a variety of other threatened species and ecosystems.
Since NEFA caused the stopping of logging of Koala High Use Areas in Royal Camp State Forest in 2012 the evidence of the importance of first Royal Camp, then Carwong, and then Braemar State Forests for Koalas has accumulated and put beyond doubt the importance of these forests for Koalas.
The 6,988ha of public land NEFA are proposing, south-west of Casino be created as the Sandy Creek Koala Park, comprised of Royal Camp, Braemar, Carwong and Ellangowan State Forests, and remnant native vegetation on land purchased for plantations.
The Bandjalang clan are the recognised native title holders and so the future management of this reserve needs to be determined in consultation with them.