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.