With over a third of north-east NSW's rainforests burnt last year the North East Forest Alliance is calling for the immediate protection of 50m buffers around rainforest and an urgent weed control program in and adjacent to burnt stands.
"The NSW Government's mapping of fire extent and canopy scorch shows that some 160,000 hectares (35%) of north-east NSW's 462,000 ha of rainforests were burnt last fire season", said NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh.
"It is tragic that over a third of these priceless relicts burnt in one year. Across the fire-grounds most leaf litter, logs and understorey plants were burnt, along with their inhabitants. Many tree bases were damaged.
"Most worrying is the significant loss of large canopy trees, hundreds of years old, across 125,000 ha of rainforests, with 34,000 ha of these losing most canopy trees.
"Some stands are unlikely to ever recover.
Burnt rainforest at Tooloom National ParkRead more
NEFA is calling on State and Federal Governments to intervene to immediately halt the Forestry Corporation's grossly irresponsible logging of unburnt habitat of the nationally endangered Hastings River Mouse in Styx River State Forest (east of Armidale).
The Hastings River Mouse is one of the endangered species most severely impacted by the fires in Australia, yet the Forestry Corporation are criminally logging the last remaining unburnt patch of known habitat in Styx River State Forest, said NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh.
Picture has been licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike license
Original source: Hasting River Mouse captures Uploaded by berichard
Author: Doug Beckers
The North East Forest Alliance is demanding that the NSW Government heeds the Commonwealth's advice by immediately placing a logging and clearing moratorium over all unburnt habitat of the 57 animal species in north-east NSW identified by experts as needing urgent help to survive in the wake of devastating bushfires.
Almost two and a half million hectares of north-east NSW (north of the Hunter River) was burnt in the recent fires, affecting 29% of the land area and around half the native vegetation and its inhabitants, said NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh.
"North-east NSW provides core habitat for half of the 113 animal species that the experts commissioned by the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment identified on Tuesday as needing urgent help to survive in the wake of devastating bushfires.
"This includes 10 birds, 13 mammals, 9 reptiles, 11 frogs, 12 spiny crayfish and 2 freshwater fish species.
Photos: Puhj's Frog, Yellow-bellied Glider, Spotted-tailed Quoll
The North East Forest Alliance totally rejects industry claims that logging is good for koalas, while calling for an immediate logging and clearing moratorium on all 'highly suitable koala habitat' as identified by the Government.
Logging has removed many of the large trees preferred by Koalas for feeding as well as vital fire refuges out of the reach of ground fires, in the process reducing Koala populations and making forests drier and more flammable, said NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh.
"Logging has had a profound impact on Koalas and their chances of surviving our apocalyptic future.
"North-east NSW Koala populations have declined over 50% in the past 20 years, and last year 30% of 'highly suitable koala habitat' was burnt, including many known core populations. Thousands of Koalas were killed," he said.
New Koala SEPP a boon for developers and loss for Koalas
MEDIA RELEASE - 22 December 2019
NSW Government's new State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) for Koala Habitat Protection makes it easier for developers, without providing Koalas with the long-overdue and urgent protection they desperately need, according to the North East Forest Alliance.
The new SEPP relies upon mapping of 'highly suitable koala habitat', on the north coast 29% of this has been burnt this year making it urgent that the Government protect what's left from clearing and logging while we wait for the decades it will take to map and protect core Koala habitat as required by the SEPP, said NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh
Survivor of Braemar fires.Read more
A number of groups appearing before today's NSW Legislative Council inquiry into Koala populations and habitat in New South Wales have requested the committee actively call on the NSW Government to put in place a moratorium on logging koala habitat across public and private lands as an emergency response to the loss of thousands of Koalas and their habitat due to wildfires.
As of yesterday, since July wild fires have burnt out over 1.6 million hectares of the north east NSW bioregion (north from the Hunter River and westward to the Great Escarpment ), this represents 28% of the region and 39% of native vegetation, said NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh.
Government must help Koalas suffering severe dehydration from Busbys Flat fire
MEDIA RELEASE - 1 November 2019
NEFA is again requesting that the NSW Government provide urgent assistance for surviving Koalas affected by the Busby's Flat fire in light of its findings that many of the survivors are suffering severe dehydration and unlikely to survive without help.
It is now over 3 weeks since the Busby's Flat fire burnt out an extensive Koala population on the Richmond River lowlands identified of regional significance, yet the NSW Government refuses to provide Koalas with urgently needed assistance, NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh said.
Koala killed by the Rappville fire in Carwong State Forest October 2019
Koala Inquiry call for Koala Rescue Welcomed
MEDIA RELEASE - 20 October 2019
The North East Forest Alliance has welcomed the urgent request by the Legislative Council’s Koala Inquiry to the NSW Premier to allow Koala carers into Braemer, Carwong and Royal Camp State Forests to rescue koalas that have survived the fires.
Though the scale of the problem, and the Government's refusal to do anything to rescue Koalas for the past 12 days. demands Government assistance, according to NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh.
Extent of Busby's Creek Fire 19 October, with Koala recordsRead more
The future of Koalas is to be the focus of a parliamentary Upper House 'Inquiry into koala populations and habitat in New South Wales' and a demonstration in Ballina on Friday.
There will be a wake for Koalas staged outside the Ballina RSL from 8.30 am on Friday morning, 18 October 2019, with the hearing due to start at 9.30 am.
"Conservationists have made detailed submissions, and will be presenting evidence, to the inquiry though believe that wild Koalas can only be saved from extinction if there is a seismic shift in Government attitudes", NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh said.
"With a 50% decline in north coast Koala populations over the past 20 years the NSW Government must show compassion and act urgently to protect remaining Koala colonies.
"Its quite simple, if we want to save Koalas then the first thing to do is to protect and rehabilitate their homes.
This Koala survived the fires but isn't looking too good and the leaves in the tree are desiccated. Photo D. Pugh
The Busbys Flat fire south of Casino has burnt through one of the most important Koala colonies on the north-coast in Braemar, Carwong and Royal Camp State Forests, according to the North East Forest Alliance.
NEFA estimate that some 350-700 Koalas inhabit these State Forests, with many likely to have been directly affected by fire and smoke, and many more affected by the loss of browse, according to NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh.
"The most urgent need is for a search and rescue operation for fire affected Koalas.
"Koalas were already suffering from the drought, and are now likely to have been significantly impacted by these fires. It will take years for Koalas to recover.
"NEFA calls upon the NSW Government to abandon its imminent plans to log some of the best Koala habitat in Braemar State Forest. The resident Koalas are likely to have been severely affected by the fire, and suitable browse will be in short supply for months to come, the last thing they need is for the Forestry Corporation to log their surviving feed trees.
"The Environment Protection Authority undertook systematic Koala surveys in Royal Camp and Carwong State Forests in 2015, surely the first step needs to be to reassess those areas to identify how this population has been affected.
"NEFA has also amassed abundant data on Braemar's Koalas to contribute to any post-fire review.
"The danger is that if the Forestry Corporation blunders in there now it could be the death knell of this nationally significant Koala population", Mr. Pugh said.