NEFA MEDIA RELEASE:
The North East Forest Alliance is calling on people to take action to protect one of the most important Koala habitats on the Richmond River Lowlands in response to the Forestry Corporation commencing logging in Braemar State Forest (south of Casino).
Four days after the election of the Minns Government the Forestry Corporation released their plan to log over 5,000 mature Koala feed trees in compartments 6 and 7 of Braemar State Forest, and last week they began roading operations, NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh said.
“They are obviously taking advantage of the chaos after the election of the new Government to log this habitat before the incoming Minns government can implement their promise to protect Koala habitat.
NEFA is asking people to urgently write to the new Environment Minister Penny Sharp and the new Forestry Minister Tara Moriarty asking them to immediately stop logging of this important Koala habitat in Braemar State Forest
“In 2019 NEFA Koala scat searches revealed an exceptional density of Koala scats and multiple Koala High Use Areas in compartments 6 and 7 of Braemar State Forest, which under the then harvesting plan would have required over half the logging area to be protected for Koalas.
“The then Berejiklian Government reacted by adopting a new plan that removed requirements to protect Koala High Use Areas, and instead only required the protection of 5 small potential Koala feed trees per hectare.
“NEFA then began preparing for a blockade as we undertook further surveys to identify the extent of this important population.
“On the night of 8 October 2019 the Busby’s Flat fire burnt through these compartments, eliminating Koalas from the most heavily burnt forests, though thankfully some survived in less heavily burnt stands, one study estimating a loss of 50-70% of Koalas.
“In August 2020 NEFA released a proposal for a 7,000 ha Sandy Creek Koala Park on the understanding that the surviving Koalas could rebuild their population over time.
“Instead of allowing the Koalas to recover, the Forestry Corporation are intending to log 75% of Koala feed trees >30cm diameter (the size preferred by Koala), totalling over 5,000 mature feed trees, across the 187ha logging area.
“This is on top of the fire impacts, and will devastate recovering populations.
“Koalas are notoriously lethargic and need you to take action on their behalf to convince the new NSW Minns Government to honour their promise to protect Koalas” Mr. Pugh said.