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.
The North East Forest Alliance (NEFA) considers the intent of the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) $750,000 project assessing the North Coast private native forest north from Newcastle appears to be to identify private forests for loggers to target for sawlogs as supplies from public lands continue to rapidly decline.
DPI surveys of both millers and logging contractors attest to the degraded nature of north-east NSWs public and private forests due to over-logging, with supplies of high quality sawlogs rapidly declining across the forest estate, according to Dailan Pugh, spokesperson for NEFA.
"Regrettably 80% of private landowners are reported as having little understanding or interest in the logging rules, with 67% of contractors believing most landowners are only interested in maximising short term income.
"The Government needs to do more than just help loggers identify and flog the best stands remaining, they have a responsibility to identify and protect oldgrowth forests, the habitat of threatened species, endangered ecological communities and other special values. These too need to be mapped.
"This time the NSW Government is targeting the best Koala habitat left on private land for intensified logging, with the promised Koala strategy nowhere to be seen.
"There is nothing sustainable about forestry as currently practiced, and the Government's current proposals to increase logging intensity while slashing the few protections for threatened species and stream buffers on both public and private lands will just increase its unsustainability.
"For those landholders who want to do the right thing the Government should be providing incentive payments for management of forests to protect threatened species, improve stream quality, enhance rainfall, and store ever increasing volumes of atmospheric carbon as they age. This is to the benefit of all of us.
"For those landholders that don't care the Government needs to ensure that the logging rules for private lands are improved to limit the ongoing degradation, introduce meaningful protection for threatened species and improve protection for streams." Mr. Pugh said.
The North East Forest Alliance (NEFA) has described the Environment Protection Authority's (EPAs) reasons for dropping legal action against the Forestry Corporation for roading and logging endangered Lowland Rainforest and damaging hundreds of habitat trees at Cherry Tree State Forest as preposterous.
"The reasons the EPA have given NEFA for dropping the promised legal action against the Forestry Corporation are patently absurd and will stop the EPA being able to effectively enforce NSW's logging laws into the future, it was a political decision executed in a political manner ", said NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh said.
"NEFA informed the Minister for the Environment of thousands of breaches of logging laws in Cherry Tree State Forest (on the Richmond Range west of Casino) on 14 December 2015. In December 2016 the EPA found the Forestry Corporation guilty of 66 breaches of logging laws, involving hundreds of individual offences, though only issued the Forestry Corporation with an meaningless official caution.
"The EPA now tell us they had made a decision to never again issue Penalty Notices and fines to the Forestry Corporation for breaches of the Threatened Species Licence.
(Image: Damaged Habitat tree at Cherry Tree State Forest)
The North East Forest Alliance (NEFA) has described the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) proposal to increase logging intensity in north-east NSWs forests to provide up to one million tonnes of trees each year to generate electricity as sheer madness.
Forests are the lungs of the earth, they take in our carbon dioxide, storing the carbon and giving us back oxygen, left standing they are part of the solution to climate change, cut down they become part of the problem, according to NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh.
Former NSW Environment Minister Bob Debus and NEFA, call on the Premier to stop Forestry Corporation’s illegal clearfelling practices following a site visit today near Port Macquarie.
Former NSW Environment Minister Bob Debus has slammed the current NSW Government for overseeing wholesale destruction of the State's public native forests. Mr Debus today took a tour of forests around Port Macquarie with members of the North East Forest Alliance.Read more
The North East Forest Alliance has requested the Minister for the Environment, Gabrielle Upton, to ensure that action is taken against the Forestry Corporation for roading and logging 95 hectares of the Endangered Ecological Communities 'Lowland Rainforest' and 'Grey Box-Grey Gum Wet Sclerophyll Forest' in Cherry Tree State Forest*, given that 21 months after being told of the breaches the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has failed to take regulatory action.Read more
The North East Forest Alliance have renewed their call for the environment Minister. Gabrielle Upton, to intervene to protect Koalas after the discovery of a Koala high use tree and numerous breaches within logged areas of Gladstone State Forest, 6km south-west of Bellingen.
A NEFA audit of 7 hectares of logging in compartment 231 of Gladstone State Forest on Sunday afternoon located 20 Koala scats under a tree on the boundary of the logging area, intensive logging of Koala feed trees, logging within a Great Barred Frog exclusion area, 31 breaches of habitat tree selection and protection requirements affecting 20 habitat trees, and a logging intensity well in excess of that allowed.
Photo of logged koala habitat at Gladstone SF.
Damning internal Forestry Corporation documents reveal
10 years of illegal clearing across 75,000 hectares
of north coast public native forests –
much of it would have been prime koala habitat
Minister must Give Directive to Stop Illegal Logging of Purple Spotted Gudgeon Habitat
The North East Forest Alliance has once again asked the Minister for Fisheries to intervene to make the Forestry Corporation comply with its Fisheries Licence and immediately stop illegal logging of headwater stream buffers in habitat of the Endangered Purple Spotted Gudgeon.
The Forestry Corporation's June logging lists state that they are currently logging buffers on headwater streams in 20 compartments that qualify as habitat of this endangered fish.
"We recognise that the Forestry Corporation have been forced to stop logging of stream buffers in 37 of the compartments that we identified two months ago, but they are continuing to log stream buffers in 5 compartments in Styx River State Forest, and have commenced logging of stream buffers in 15 additional compartments in Bril Bril, Broken Bago, Burrawan, Landsdowne, Riamukka and Chichester State Forests that constitute Purple Spotted Gudgeon habitat that weren't on their March logging lists" NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh said.
"It is absurd that when we identify one area where they are illegally logging that they stop there and start doing it somewhere else.
Upstream Purple Spotted Gudgeon Habitat in Gibberagee State Forest- trashed (photo Dailan Pugh)