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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CHERRY TREE FOREST NEEDS YOU

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)

Stand Up 4 Cherry Tree LOGO

#StandUp4CherryTree

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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

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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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The identification of Koala refugia in Myrtle State Forest, Supplementary report 1

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On 15 September NEFA undertook a supplementary survey to better assess the extent of an important Koala fire refugia previously identified in an area of Myrtle State Forest proposed for imminent logging. The area was burnt in the 2019 fires, killing most Koalas, though some survived.

Citizen scientists identified a further 564 Koala scats under 21 trees, with distinctive Koala scratches on an additional tree. Increasing the identified area where Koalas survived the devastating fires to 14 ha, and making it obvious that this refugia is more extensive.

This survey reinforces the need for a comprehensive survey with scat detection dogs to identify the full extent of this and other Koala refuges in the forest before logging commences.

The Banyabba Koala population has been decimated by the Busbys Flat and Myall Creek fires. All remaining areas of Koala occupancy must be protected, along with suitable habitat to allow them to expand back into as they recover from the fires and can repopulate previously occupied habitat.

Read the full supplementary survey report by clicking this link or copy url: https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/ncec/pages/1371/attachments/original/1600224472/Myrtle_Koala_High_Use_Area_Supp1..pdf?1600224472

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The identification of Koala refugia in Myrtle State Forest

The identification of Koala refugia in Myrtle State Forest

NEFA undertook a brief and quick survey on 3 September over some 7 hectares of burnt forest in Myrtle State Forest, adjacent to where we had previously identified 2 trees with Koala scats. This identified 1,118 Koala scats under an additional 18 trees, with 517 scats under one tree, in an area where the Forestry Corporation have never identified Koalas.

This constitutes part of an important Koala refugia where Koalas have survived the fires.

Logging is imminent. These findings demonstrate the need for a comprehensive survey to identify all remaining Koala refugia for protection before logging starts.

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Photo: Dailan Pugh, OAM

517 Koala scats were counted under a Grey Box, displaying frequent use of this single tree.

To read the full report, click this link.

Or copy this url: https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/ncec/pages/1367/attachments/original/1599207152/Koala_refugia_in_Myrtle_State_Forest.pdf?1599207152

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Brief Audit of Wild Cattle Creek

Brief Audit of Wild Cattle Creek

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Dailan Pugh, North East Forest Alliance, July 2020

On the afternoon of 28 July 2020 NEFA undertook a brief audit of Compartments 32, 33 and 34 of Wild Cattle Creek State Forest near Cascade on the Dorrigo plateau to assess compliance with the new Coastal Integrated Forestry Operations Approval (CIFOA) logging prescriptions.

The EPA had found significant logging breaches on 9 July and imposed a Stop Work Order on 18 July, allowing illegal logging to continue for 9 days.

The legal breaches we found from a brief inspection of a small part of the logging area were:

  • 2 'giant trees' felled

  • 4 giant 'hollow-bearing trees' damaged by machinery and tree felling

  • 6 marked small tallowwood Koala Feed Trees significantly damaged

    These show that breaches are more widespread and significant than identified by the EPA.

    These forests contain significant numbers of massive Sydney Blue Gums and Tallowwoods hundreds of years old, making them of exceptional importance for the many fauna species dependent upon large hollows for denning and nesting. These species are also key Koala feed trees, with the logging areas identified as high quality Koala habitat, partially within and adjacent to the largest Koala Hub (resident population) identified on the Dorrigo Plateau.

Click this link to read the full audit.

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Preliminary Audit Myrtle State Forest

Preliminary Audit Myrtle State Forest

The 2019-2020 wildfires burn out 2.4 million hectares of north-east NSW (north from the Hunter River), burning through around half the remnant native vegetation. These fires were unusually extensive and intensive because of record low rainfalls and extreme temperatures. The Spotted Gum forests of the Richmond River Lowlands, and the Koalas that inhabit them, were amongst the worst affected in north-east NSW.

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The Demise of Banyabba Koalas

NEFA have focussed our post-fire monitoring on 7,000 hectares of State forests south of Casino we had identified as core Koala habitat before the fires and are proposing as the Sandy Creek Koala Park. It has been devastating to watch as 90%of Koalas have been lost from these firegrounds while the Government did nothing to help the survivors.

This is part of the Banyabba Koala population, covering lowland forests from the Richmond Range through to Iluka on the coast, and from Lawrence on the Clarence River north to Mongogarie, south of Casino. Across this area 70,000 hectares has been identified as 'highly suitable koala habitat ... likely to be occupied by koalas' by the Government.

These forests have been burning since August, culminating in the Busbys Flat fire and then the Myall Creek fire, burning through 60,000 ha (84%) of this 'highly suitable koala habitat'.

Within this area there are core source areas, with breeding colonies of Koalas that are vital for maintaining the viability of the population. NEFA have identified these in parts of Royal Camp, Carwong and Braemar State Forests, another has been identified near Ashby.

You can read the very sad outcomes of this work in the report: The Demise of Banyabba Koalas

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