Communities are organising to protect the remains of burnt state forests for their intrinsic value and for endangered species, writes Paul Oboohov.
First Nations leaders and environmental activists who stopped logging operations in Victoria and New South Wales in early June said the continent’s environmental crimes can be traced back to colonisation. Traditional Custodians must lead the way on forest management, writes Kim Croxford.
Road building, ahead of logging, has begun in the unburnt southern section of Nambucca State Forest in New South Wales, writes Kerry Smith.
Proposed new logging rules for NSW public land will convert much of the north coast's public forests into “quasi-plantations”, reduce buffers on vital headwater streams and remove protections from most threatened animals and plants.
The proposed changes remove the need to look for and protect most threatened plants and animals. Only 14 animal species and populations are to retain their current protection, 23 will have their protection removed and 26 will have their protection significantly reduced.
Koalas on the NSW North Coast are threatened with extinction by proposed increases in logging intensity and imminent extensions of timber contracts, according to the North East Forest Alliance.
NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh said: “In order to meet current wood supply contracts, the NSW Government plans to zone most of the coastal state forests for intensive logging and clearfelling, and to remove the already inadequate protection for core koala habitat.
Environmentalists are outraged that Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has called for a review of the protection status of Victoria’s faunal emblem, the critically endangered Leadbeater’s possum, so new logging zones in Victoria’s central highlands can be opened.
Joyce wrote to Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews on March 26, criticising the decision to reduce the logging quota offered to Gippsland’s Heyfield mill operators Australian Sustainable Hardwood (ASH) from 155,000 cubic metres a year to 80,000 cubic metres in 2017–18 and 60,000 cubic metres in the next two years.