The North East Forest Alliance is calling upon the public to demand that all candidates for the March State elections declare where they stand on the Berejiklian Government's proposal to open up over 100,000 hectares of protected oldgrowth forest and rainforest on public lands for logging.
"A keystone of Premier Berejiklian's draconian changes to the logging rules for public forests is that some 58,600 ha of High Conservation Value Oldgrowth and 50,600 ha of rainforest in north-east NSW may be made available for logging ", NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh said.
Image- photo of mapped oldgrowth in Clouds Creek State Forest that the Natural Resources Commission has remapped as no longer being oldgrowth, this is rejected by NEFA.
DECISION TO LOG OLDGROWTH AND RAINFOREST BASED ON FRAUDULENT CLAIMS
The NSW Government is using grossly inflated timber commitments to fraudulently justify logging oldgrowth forest and rainforest protected in the Comprehensive Adequate and Representative reserve system, according to the North East Forest Alliance.
With revelations that the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) has based its justifications for logging oldgrowth and rainforests, and other environmental wind-backs, on a 33% increase in timber commitments, NEFA is calling upon the Environment Minister, Gabrielle Upton to honour her predecessors promises by' intervening to direct the agencies to renegotiate an environmentally fairer set of logging rules based on existing wood supply obligations rather than the NRC's grossly inflated volumes.
"Since 2013 a succession of NSW Environment Ministers have repeatedly reassured environment groups that the new logging rules (Integrated Forestry Operations Approval) would result in no erosion of environmental values and no wind-back of the reserve system", NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh said.
"With the NSW Government now proposing to log oldgrowth forest and rainforest, increase logging intensity, introduce clearfelling, reduce buffers on headwater streams, and remove protections for most threatened species on public land in north-east NSW, it is clear that they lied to us.
LOGGING OF PUBLIC NATIVE FORESTS HAS LOST ITS SOCIAL LICENCE
The North East Forest Alliance maintains that submissions to the NSW Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs) show that the logging of public native forests has lost its social licence and that the community do not support the NSW and Commonwealth Government's proposals to extend the RFAs for 20 more years.
Of the 5,425 submissions to the RFAs only 23 supported the Government's proposal to extend the RFAs for 20 years and give additional five-year rolling extensions after each future five-yearly review, and nearly all these were from the industry.
The so-called 'Independent Review' of NSW's Regional Forest Agreements was tabled in the Commonwealth Parliament on 25 June 2018.
The review notes 'The majority of submitters would like the State to cease native forest logging on public land, indicating it damages biodiversity, environmental values and environmental services such as water, carbon capture and amenity, and provides a low economic return'.
"The Regional Forest Agreements have no credibility, their only purpose is for the Commonwealth to avoid its legal obligations for threatened species and heritage under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.", said NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh.Read more
The North East Forest Alliance, North Coast Environment Council and local groups are hosting a series of public meetings to inform the community about the New South Wales and Commonwealth Government's proposals to change the rules governing logging of public lands to remove protections for most threatened species, open up protected oldgrowth forest for logging, allow intensified logging, establish a clearfelling zone, and reduce buffers on headwater streams.
"Because they have allowed logging to remove more sawlogs that can be sustained, and the spreading logging dieback is rendering forests increasingly unproductive, the State and Commonwealth Governments have cut environmental protections to the bone and are now intending to start logging oldgrowth forests protected for the past 20 years" NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh said.
"They are removing the need to look for Koalas before logging and protect high use areas.
The North East Forest Alliance is shocked that NSW Government agencies have cancelled an inspection of State Forests along the Richmond Range to be shown the dire consequences that their new logging rules will have for logging dieback, Koalas, logging intensity and oldgrowth forests.
Image-Logging Dieback the Premier's Department didn't want to see.
SLASHING OF LOGGING RULES
-A DISASTER FOR OUR FORESTS
NEFA has described the Government's announcement today that they intend to drastically weaken the logging rules (Integrated Forestry Operations Approval) to remove numerous protections for NSW's threatened species, Koalas, oldgrowth forest, rainforest and fish as tragic.
"The logging industry has almost denuded the public forests allocated to them 20 years ago of sawlogs. This is all about making more trees available by opening up areas protected over the past 20 years as habitat of threatened species, Koalas, oldgrowth forest, and stream buffers for logging, while increasing logging intensity and legalising clearfell logging along the coast", NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh said.
The North East Forest Alliance considers that the Koala Strategy has failed Koalas as its identification of priority Koala Reserves on State Forests are a sham.
Koala populations on the North Coast have collapsed by 50% in the past 20 years and this strategy will do little to redress that decline, said NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh.
"If the objective is to stabilise and then increase koala numbers over the longer-term the highest priority has to be to identify and protect the remaining core habitat for Koalas on publicly owned State Forests from further degradation.Read more
Following the NSW Government's latest assessment that logging is the primary initiator of Bell Miner Associated Dieback and their mapping of 46,000 hectares as badly affected north from Taree, the North East Forest Alliance (NEFA) is calling for an immediate cessation of logging of forests affected by, and susceptible to, this logging induced dieback.
"The Forestry Corporation has to stop killing our forests, they have known for over 20 years that by opening up the canopy and promoting lantana, logging is the primary cause of this dieback, and their own trials in 2005 and 2007 showed that relogging affected stands makes it dramatically worse" said NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh.
"This is deliberate and wanton vandalism. It is sickening to see the seas of lantana, with scattered sick and dying trees, left behind by these environmental vandals. We need to start rehabilitating these degraded forests by manually removing the lantana.Read more
The North East Forest Alliance is alarmed that Byron Shire Council is currently seeking Expressions of Interest for the construction and operation of bioenergy plants that may include the burning of trees obtained from native forests.
"We expected a lot better that this from Byron Shire Council. NEFA does not consider that they have a social licence to burn native forests for electricity.
"We are requesting that they immediately change their prospectus to explicitly and clearly exclude the use of material obtained from the logging or the clearing of native forests from their proposed bioenergy plants", said NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh.
"Cutting down forests to generate electricity doesn't make sense, we lose the tree's ability to take in and store carbon, and when they are burnt they release more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than burning coal" Mr. Pugh said.Read more
The North East Forest Alliance will be boycotting the DPI's sham consultation process on the Government's intent to extend Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs) for another 20 years.
"The government claim that they "are working closely with all parties" but their media release was the first we were told of their intent to "evergreen" NSW's RFAs, which means they will be automatically rolled over every five years with no more that a token desktop review", said NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh.