Details of proposed new logging rules for public lands (known as IFOAs, Integrated Forestry Operations Approvals) obtained by the North East Forest Alliance (NEFA) and the North Coast Environment Council (NCEC), show the intent is to convert much of the north coast's public forests into 'quasi-plantations', reduce buffers on vital headwater streams and remove protections from most threatened animals and plants.
"We are calling on the Minister for the Environment, Gabrielle Upton, to honour the Government's promise that there will be 'no erosion of environmental values' by urgently intervening to stop the Forestry Corporation and the so-called Environment Protection Authority (EPA) doing a deal which will slash protections for streams and hundreds of plant and animal species, including the koala" NCEC vice-president Susie Russell said.
"It is clear from the documents that the EPA have basically allowed the Forestry Corporation to write their own rules. We don't comprehend how a body responsible for protecting threatened species can consider that it is acceptable to remove requirements to look before logging and to remove and reduce needed protections for hundreds of threatened species" NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh said.
Endangered Fleay's Barred Frog currently requires pre-logging surveys and exclusion zones to be created around records, under the proposed rules it will lose all protection and existing exclusion areas will be opened up for logging.Read more
The North East Forest Alliance (NEFA) is calling on the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Fisheries to require the Forestry Corporation to comply with its Fisheries Licence and immediately stop illegal logging of headwater stream buffers in habitat of the Endangered Purple Spotted Gudgeon and to prosecute Forestry for the hundreds of steam buffers unlawfully logged over the past year.
NEFA is holding a march in Coffs Harbour at 10 am today (Wednesday) from the Forestry Corporation office to the Fisheries office to demand that both Government bodies comply with their obligations to protect the Endangered Purple Spotted Gudgeon in accordance with the terms of the Fisheries Licence issued under section 220ZW of the Fisheries Management Act, 1994.
The very survival of the North Coast's koalas is threatened by proposed increases in logging intensity and imminent extensions of timber contracts, according to analysis presented to the meeting of the North East Forest Alliance held over the weekend near Stuart's Point.
“In order to meet current wood supply contracts, the NSW Government plans to zone most of the coastal State Forests for intensive logging and clearfelling, and to remove the already inadequate protection for core Koala habitat.
“Our analysis shows that of the 6,000 records of Koalas on State Forest in north-east NSW, 92% of them are in the 57% of forests proposed to be zoned for intensified logging, with the highest Koala densities in the 140,000 ha of State Forests proposed to be zoned to allow virtual clearfelling.
Dead koala found in Koreelah State Forest not long after loggingRead more
NEFA Audit of Gibberagee SF Reveals Major Illegal Works
NEFA is calling on both Fisheries NSW and the Environment Protection Authority to prosecute the Forestry Corporation for recklessly trashing habitat of the Endangered Purple-spotted Gudgeon and the Endangered Ecological Community Sub-tropical Coastal Floodplain Forest revealed in a weekend audit of Gibberagee State Forest.
"When the Forestry Corporation threatened me with a $2,200 fine if I returned to complete my audit of Gibberagee State Forest I knew they had something bad to hide, so we went back into the forest on Sunday to see if we could find it", said NEFA auditor Dailan Pugh.
"After years of auditing, I was shocked when we came across streams and endangered ecological communities that had been literally trashed near Mangrove Creek on the Clarence River floodplain.
"After the EPA botched their prosecution of the Forestry Corporation for logging the Endangered Ecological Community Sub-tropical Coastal Floodplain Forest revealed by NEFA in Doubleduke State Forest in 2010, they spent millions of Environmental Trust monies mapping it and other Endangered ecosystems so that the Forestry Corporation could protect them from logging.
Endangered Ecological Community in Gibberagee State Forest- trashed.
The Forestry Corporation's contribution to International Day of Forests has been to write to NEFA auditor Dailan Pugh threatening him with a $2,200 fine if he returns to meet with the EPA or audit Gibberagee State Forest.
When attending Gibberagee State Forest on 10th of March, at the invitation of the Environment Protection Authority to show them breaches he had identified a month earlier, Mr. Pugh was ordered to leave by the Forestry Corporation.
"The Forestry Corporation threw me out of the forest without allowing me to show the EPA any of the breaches they had asked me there to show them", NEFA auditor Dailan Pugh said.
Mr. Pugh said the Forestry Corporation have since written to him saying the forest was closed when he initially identified the breaches, and threatening that if he returned "Entering this area without proper authorisation is not permitted and if detected, Forestry Corporation may issue a Penalty Infringement Notice or pursue prosecution".
"Now the Forestry Corporation are threatening to fine me $2,200 if I return to Gibberagee to meet the EPA or do anymore auditing. They must have a lot to hide.
"It is no coincidence that currently the only two native forestry operations in NSW subject to closures for logging are the two closest to me at Gibberagee and Bungawalbin.
Dailan Pugh in the forest at Gibberagee
MEDIA RELEASE - 13 March 2017
The North East Forest Alliance is outraged at being told to leave a forest inspection requested by the Environment Protection Authority, after being gatecrashed by the Forestry Corporation.
NEFA auditor Dailan Pugh said he was invited to Gibberagee State Forest by the Environment Protection Authority on Friday so that he could show them logging into what were meant to be exclusion zones around the nationally Endangered Narrow-leaved Melichrus, which only occurs at Gibberagee, and then was directed to leave by the Forestry Corporation without being allowed to show the EPA anything.
Vegetation creates rain. That's one of the conclusions of a comprehensive review of more than 150 scientific papers on land-clearing and rainfall, conducted by Dailan Pugh of the North East Forest Alliance. Clearing Our Rainfall Away, released today, summarises the evidence of how land-clearing affects rainfall, and the impacts that land-clearing has had on Australia's climate.
The Environment Protection Authority have confirmed NEFA's complaint that the Forestry Corporation committed hundreds of breaches of environmental laws when logging in Cherry Tree State Forest in 2015, though all they have done is issue 'official cautions' to these serial offenders.
The North East Forest Alliance is calling the Minister for the Environment's response to the ongoing demise of Koalas grossly inadequate in light of the Chief Scientist Mary O’Kane's conclusion that there are only 36,000 Koalas left in NSW and that their populations have declined by 26% in the past 15-21 years.
The Minister is saying that he will now spend $10 million over 5 years on private land conservation measures, including buying properties.
"As identified the Chief Scientist habitat loss and fragmentation are the biggest threats to coastal Koalas. Buying a few properties will in no way compensate for the 2.2 million hectares of identified Koala habitat to be opened up for clearing under the new vegetation rules" according to NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh.
"There is a lot more that the Minister should be doing but refuses to.
Following the finding of yet more widespread and ongoing breaches of logging laws, the North East Forest Alliance is calling on the Baird Government to restore the rights of the public to take the Forestry Corporation to court to enforce environmental laws,
"If the Baird Government refuses to enforce the logging rules, then let us do it" said NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh.
"For years we have been finding the same sorts of logging offences, time after time after time. The Forestry Corporation are being allowed to flout environmental laws with impunity. The Environmental Protection Authority's (EPAs) lax regulation is clearly not working".