New Survey in Newry State Forest reveals threatened species

NEFA commissioned surveys for threatened species in Newry State Forest, before it was closed and logging began. The report by Bower Bush Works ‘Nature Conservation Values Compartments 21, 22, 26, 27 & 28 Newry State Forest’ provides the results from their brief survey. Within the logging area Bower Bush Works identified five threatened plant species from 40 locations, a Southern Greater Glider den tree, Koala scratches on numerous trees, and significant patches of high quality habitat for the nationally threatened Glossy Black Cockatoo, Koala and Greater Glider. Some of their records require immediate protection, so we have written to the Forestry Corporation asking they do so.

A complementary survey by Biolink of Koalas in a number of forests (which is not yet finalised), recorded an active Koala site in Newry, commenting “the single independently active site we recorded is most significant when considered in the context of recent records from the same localised area over the last 3 – 4 years. Collectively, these data point to the presence of what is likely to be a small and quite localised resident population of koalas surviving in this area”. This site is within a Koala Hub identified by the Government for protection in 2017 as a Koala Hub. We have been writing the NSW Environment Minister since the 3 April asking for her to protect it - but it is intended to shortly log it.

Measuring a giant tree in Newry

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Braemar State Forest Assessment_2023

With logging imminent, NEFA undertook a brief assessment of proposed logging in compartments 6 and 7 of Braemar State Forest. This is an area that we found exceptional densities of Koalas in before the 2019 wildfires, and managed to hold the loggers off. We found that koalas are slowly recovering from the devastation of the 2019 wildfires, while they are again widespread their numbers are still low. With the Forestry Corporation intending to log over 77-87% of potential Koala feed trees (>30 cm diameter) this could be their death blow. We also found that numerous nationally Vulnerable Slaty Red Gum had been killed in the fires, with good regeneration. While the Forestry Corporation found just 6 Slaty Red Gum in over 13 km of transects we found 125 in a brief assessment - again bringing into question their expertise. We also recorded a Barking Owl and Masked Owl. The report outlines the results of our previous assessments, reviews aspects of their logging plan, and presents our findings.

Nearby heavily burnt stand of Slaty Red Gum used as an 'Offset Exclusion Zone' to compensate for the logging in compartments 6 and 7.

See our report Results of Braemar State Forest Assessment

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Protecting Fire and Climate Refuges in Doubleduke

In February 2023 NEFA reviewed the current logging in Doubleduke State Forest, west of Evans Head, and was alarmed that a patch of unburnt and lightly burnt mature and oldgrowth forest identified for protection by the EPA in 2020 as a fire refuge had its protection removed, had been roaded and was about to be logged. NEFA sent a report to the EPA Chief Executive Officer Tony Chappel and asked him to immediately reinstate protection for this vital fire and climate refugia in the Lower Slopes Road valley in Doubleduke State Forest.

See Protecting Fire and Climate Refuges in Doubleduke

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The plantation debacle

NEFA is calling on the NSW Government to stop the Forestry Corporation clearfelling 68 ha of some of the best known koala habitat in NSW and converting it into a plantation in compartments 61, 62 and 63 of Wild Cattle Creek State Forest.

They are in the process of clearfelling 68ha of identified high quality Koala habitat, of which 16ha is part of a Koala Hub identified by the Office of Environment and Heritage in 2017 as "highly significant local scale areas of koala occupancy currently known for protection".

Up until 2020 this was classed as native forest, but three years after the Koala Hub was identified, two years after being busted for logging protected Koala habitat in an adjacent operation, and a few months after the 2019 wildfires devastated Koala populations in the area, the Forestry Corporation had this Koala habitat reclassed as a plantation based on a spurious claim that in the 1960s someone scattered some seed around.

Scattering seed around after logging was a common practice 50 years ago, but scattered Blackbutt seed in a natural Blackbutt forest doesn’t make it a plantation.

Now they can legally clearfell it, and sell the timber as plantation timber.

See The Plantation Debacle

Conversion of native forest to plantation in WCC

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Brief Inspection of Compartment 44 Wild Cattle Creek SF

In just 3 hours in July 2022, in compartment 44 of Wild Cattle Creek State Forest, NEFA found 7 trees marked for retention as Koala Feed Trees and 13 old trees marked for protection as Hollow-bearing Trees that had been bashed by machinery or had trees dropped upon them, many of which won’t survive. This is indicative of the widespread breaches that occurred.

The trees that were recklessly damaged are some of the few trees that legally required protection in what has been identified as one of 567 priority areas across the whole of NSW for protection as a highly significant area of koala occupancy.

This is not an isolated case, the Forestry Corporation were fined $285,600 in June for logging into a Koala High Use Area, rainforest and a rainforest buffer 4 km to the west, and last month the EPA announced they are prosecuting the Forestry Corporation for logging six Giant Trees and seven Hollow-bearing Trees 5 km to the south.

All this illegal logging is occurring in what is some of the best Koala habitat in Australia, proposed as part of the Great Koala National Park.

The audit is a available here.

Trees retained as Hollow-bearing Trees, and also as Koala feed trees, recklessly damaged during logging.

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Cherry Tree SF Core Koala Habitat

Cherry Tree State Forest is Core Koala Habitat

There is no doubt that Koalas are widespread in compartments 3 and 4 of Cherry Tree
State Forest, and have been for at least the past 23 years, and it appears they are
using most suitable feed trees. The forest in the logging area is dominated by Koala
use tree species, and thus is highly suitable Koala habitat.

Read the full NEFA Report into the Koalas at Cherry Tree State Forest.

These fresh little koala scats (poos) are proof there are koalas currently using the forest. (Photo Dailan Pugh)

koala scats

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Join the community forest protectors taking action for our public native forests in Cherry Tree State Forest

Forest protectors standing up for Cherry Tree State Forest

(adjoining Mallanganee National Park on the Richmond Range, west of Casino)

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Cherry Tree Issues of Concern

The Forestry Corporation has started logging in compartments 3 and 4 of Cherry Tree State Forest. NEFA is of the view that before any logging takes place there are several issues that need to be addressed as a matter of urgency.

One of the species of concern in this forest is the endangered Black-striped Wallaby.

(Photo: Chris Sanderson)


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Tooloom Rainforest Massacre

A North East Forest Alliance audit of the Forestry Corporation’s widening of a track through rainforest around a Hoop Pine plantation west of Urbenville in the upper Clarence River valley found that it resulted in the clearing and damage to 5-6 hectares of world heritage quality rainforest, mostly within the Tooloom National Park.

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Bungabbee State Forest - Preliminary Assessment


When the Forestry Corporation identified they intended to start logging Bungabbee State Forest near Lismore in north east NSW in November, NEFA decided to organise a group of flora and fauna experts to undertake a brief survey with the primary aims of identify localities of threatened species and priority habitat areas for protection.. Our brief visit revealed the additional presence of the Vulnerable Long-nosed Potoroo and Marbled Frogmouth, as well as the Critically Endangered Native Guava.  We identified records for 173 threatened plants.

The finding of a large unknown outlying population of the regionally endemic Marbled Frogmouth is exciting. This is one of only a handful of species that the Forestry Corporation is still required to look for ahead of logging and protect additional habitat for, in this case wider stream buffers. Though as their model did not predict its occurrence in Bungabbee, they didn't have to look there. Luckily we did.

It was particularly disturbing to find significant populations of the Critically Endangered Scrub Turpentine and Native Guava. The very survival of these species is in doubt because of the introduced fungus Myrtle Rust. There is something fundamentally wrong when we allow logging amongst species teetering on the brink of extinction, with low prospects of regeneration, rather than doing all we can to save them.

Our results clearly demonstrate the need for pre-logging assessments to identify those parts of forests most in need of permanent protection, rather than allowing the Forestry Corporation to pick those areas with the lowest timber values. Most importantly they prove that Bungabee State Forest is of exceptional importance and should be added to the reserve system.

You can read the full audit report by clicking on this link.

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