NORTH EAST FOREST ALLIANCE
5th February, 2015
POLICY SHIFT SIGNALS END OF LOGGING IN 2018
The end of industrial logging in publicly owned native forests by mid-2018, their management for long-term water yield and carbon storage and the completion of the ‘world class’ forest reserve system are three of the key goals of a revised policy statement Forests 4 Ever, issued today by the North East Forest Alliance (NEFA).
“The first of these is a major change in our policy. We cannot now support more industrial logging of our publicly owned native forests, nor can we accept demands that approvals be ‘rolled over’ for another 20 or more years,” NEFA spokesperson, Mr John Corkill, said today.
The revised position is significant because it calls for a phase out of all logging of publicly owned native forests in the north east region of NSW by mid 2018 and explicitly rules out any extension or renewal of a Regional Forest Agreement or Forestry Operations Approval beyond that date.
“In 1989 and again in 1998, NEFA agreed that logging of State forests could continue if key conditions were met. Two conditions crucial to our support for logging were that effective environmental protection measures would be put in place, and enforced, to ensure logging did not create significant harm to the environment; and the industry would move to become ‘ecologically sustainable’. Regrettably, neither of these conditions have been fulfilled. A third key condition was that a world class forest reserve system would be created. While major progress was made through the creation of new national parks a proper reserve system still has not been completed and key forest areas required as reserves still need protection from logging,” he said.
“Our audits of logging operations over the past 5 years have found a widespread and intentional failure to implement legal requirements to reduce impacts on threatened species, endangered ecosystems, and streams. Our attempts to get the Environment Protection Agency and their political masters to ensure compliance have failed. We are now told that after the election the Government will weaken protection measures, allow widespread clear-felling and introduce cable-logging on extremely steep slopes. We can not condone this,” said NEFA co-ordinator Dailan Pugh.
“Climate Change is already affecting our forests, native species and us. The easiest thing we can do to respond to climate change is to stop logging of public lands. This will avoid emissions and allow the recovering forests to take up and store significant volumes of carbon. Rather than taxpayers paying millions of dollars every year to prop up unsustainable logging the NSW Government should use carbon credits to generate a profit from our public forests,” Mr Pugh said.
“In our view our publicly owned forests, must be allocated to their best and highest uses, in the public interest, over the long term, and this is not more logging. These higher uses include storing carbon, protecting biological diversity and increasing water yield,” said NEFA co-ordinator Susie Russell.
“With a broken governance framework for industrial logging of public native forests in NSW, and no basis for confidence in Forestry Corporation, NSW EPA or ministers in enforcing compliance with environmental protection conditions, we have no choice but to call for an orderly wind down of the logging industry, in the long term public interest,” said Ms Russell.