STAND against state forest logging

On May 9, local residents gathered in the remote Clouds Creek State Forest to protest Forest NSW logging operations.

The residents' group, STAND, has planned a protest in Coffs Harbour on May 29 to oppose the inadequate public consultation process and the decimation of local wildlife in unsustainable harvest operations.

A May 15 STAND statement said: "The action by Forests NSW to avoid stakeholder and community participation in the planning process is counter to Ecologically Sustainable Forest Management objectives, and we are calling on the NSW government to delay the harvest until adequate consultation and wildlife protection is implemented in the current logging operations."

Local residents have been photographing koalas and threatened wildlife in Clouds Creek State Forest for more than 30 years. They were not offered a consultation process to contribute to harvest planning before logging commenced in January, despite written concerns sent to the primary industries minister Ian Macdonald in October 2008.

Koalas in the state forest have been decimated by previous logging. Forests NSW 2008 ecology reports highlight the critical decline of this species since heavy over-logging in 1998. Current harvest planning fails to note this decline or provide adequate protection for core koala habitats, or for a range of threatened wildlife such as yellow-bellied gliders, endangered frogs and bats.

Local landowners want logging stopped now so wildlife evidence can be re-assessed. They have asked Forests NSW for improvements to harvesting, including increased retention of hollow-bearing habitat trees, improved canopy retention throughout the forest and larger exclusion buffers on all drainage lines currently being damaged by logging operations.

STAND invites north coast communities to join the May 29 protest in Coffs Harbour, outside Forests NSW offices.

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