The North East Forest Alliance has welcomed the postponement of logging of core Koala habitat in Braemar State Forest as an opportunity for the community to increase pressure on the NSW Government to protect extant populations of Koalas.
"We hope our rally on Sunday today sent a strong message to the Government that this community does not want to see our best Koala habitat on public lands devastated, even though the new logging rules allow it", NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh said.
"This logging delay gives the community more time to speak up for Koalas and convince the NSW Government that they need to protect core Koala habitat to stop their extinction
"Logging was due to start on Friday 13 September though has been delayed for weeks after a review by NEFA exposed numerous deficiencies in the Forestry Corporation's harvesting plan.
"This is the first area to be logged under the new logging rules in north-east NSW, and despite the Forestry Corporation writing the new rules with the EPA, they proved that they are still unwilling to comply with the intent and letter of their own rules.
"It is reprehensible that the Government has removed protection for Koala high use areas, of which there is estimated to be over 100ha in Braemar State Forest. They have replaced this prohibition with the retention of just 5 small feed trees per hectare.
"NEFA has found that Koalas are using over 19 feed trees per hectare in Braemar.
"From their surveys in the adjacent Carwong and Royal Camp State Forests the EPA found that Koala use increased with tree size and that only one in five of the small (>20cm diameter) feed trees now required to be retained were actually used by Koalas.
"This nationally significant Koala population will be devastated by the new logging rules.
"This case highlights the need for the NSW Government to restore protection for Koala high use areas, not just in Braemar but wherever they occur.
"As identified by the EPA's own Koala expert panel if we want to give Koalas a future the highest priority is to protected extant Koala populations from logging " Mr Pugh said.