NEFA Leaf - March 2022

Welcome to the NEFA Leaf March Edition - your monthly fix of forest news, politics, community campaigns and ways to take action for forests across the North East Coast of Australia.

You can check that out between NEFA Leaf editions on our website.

We stand in solidarity with all the flood survivors across the north-east coast

Our hearts go out to those affected by the north coast floods. Many forest defenders live in low-lying areas. They have given so much in defence of our precious forests, and have now lost most of their worldly possessions.

NEFA is going to take the Liberation Cafe to Lismore and surrounds in collaboration with Food Not Bombs Newcastle, taking food, beverages, cleaning gear and tools to support the aftermath of this climate disaster. 

If you would like to support this mission please donate here. Please reference it "MA" (mutual aid) so we direct 100% of the funds to this effort. And if you can help on-the-ground you can reply with your interest to this email. 

There's a collection of ways to support those affected by floods, with many group and individual fundraisers listed here

Climate change = extreme weather events. One in a hundred years becomes 1 in 5. As a society we are not prepared and our government is still making decisions to mine, burn more fossil fuels and chop and chip our precious forests.

Despite everything, we will not give up. We will not stop our efforts.

Extreme weather events aren't going to stop either. So build community, be prepared, support each other and StandUp4Forests!

Aidan and Tim rescuing their neighbours in Lismore. Image: Eddie Lloyd.

Quick action to Stop Native Forests and Trees being Burnt for Electricity!

It will only take 2 minutes! Please follow to here or send and email to [email protected]

Key message: Native forests should not be included as a ‘waste stream’ or ‘eligible fuel’ for energy generation.

For more info or points to make your submission you can click here.

But the minimal action is the key thing to do!


Photo: A truck of koala habitat about to be woodchipped and burnt for electricity

Legislative Assembly Petition: End Public Native Forest Logging 

The Nature Conservation Council with support of forest groups around the state has launched a petition to:

  1. Develop a plan to transition the native forestry industry to 100% sustainable plantations by 2024. 2. In the interim, place a moratorium on public native forest logging until the regulatory framework reflects the recommendations of the leaked NRC report.
  2. Immediately protect high-conservation value forests through gazettal in the National Parks estate. 4. Ban use of native forest materials as biomass fuel.

You can sign it here. Please pass on and share far and wide.

Legal Challenge Updates

Whether the former Redbank power station can start up immediately, using native forest trees, will be decided by the Land and Environment Court sometime soon. If the court gives it the go ahead the consequences for our forests and woodlands and the life they support will be dire indeed. We’ll let you know as soon as we get word.

Another big thank you to the hundreds of you who donated to assist us effectively prosecute our legal action against the NSW and Commonwealth Governments for extending the approval of the Regional Forest Agreements for another 20 years, potentially indefinitely. We reached our target of $50,000.

We’ll be putting out some informational clips about the issues when the flood waters recede. So watch this space.

Key koala habitat under threat in Camira State Forest

Last month, Dailan Pugh and a team of forest protectors spent their #Fridays4Forests exploring Camira State Forest (between Casino and Grafton) and recording endangered koala habitat imminently threatened with logging.

Forest Corps is threatening to flog the tiny unburnt portion of this koala forest and leave the severely burnt and logged sections for our koalas to die in.

#StandUp4Forests and say no to driving our koalas into extinction for wooodchips. Watch the video here.

Making Koalas a Federal election issue

Dailan Pugh

The Federal Government has finally accepted the scientific advice and listed the Koala (combined populations of Queensland, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory) as Endangered. The associated Conservation Advice identifies as urgent (a) increasing the total area of protected, connected quality koala habitat in priority areas, and (b) reviewing statutory planning instruments to avoid or minimise impacts of land management on koalas.

With a Federal election due before the end of May we need to make Koalas an election issue, NEFA are requesting you write to your local Federal MP requesting that in accordance with the Koala Conservation Advice they:

  1. Make urgent representations to Environment Minister Susan Ley to engage independent experts to identify priority koala habitat on State Forests for incorporation into state protected areas, with the priorities being the National Parks Association’s proposed Great Koala National Park and NEFA’s proposed Sandy Creek Koala Park.
  2. Make urgent representations to Prime Minister Scott Morrison to modify the North East NSW Regional Forest Agreement to require:
  3. pre-logging surveys by independent experts to identify koala habitat prior to logging commencing in potential habitat, and
  4. protection of identified Koala habitat to retain the quality food and shelter trees needed to meet their daily energetic requirements

Given the urgent need to mitigate threats to Koala’s survival, NEFA suggests you request your MP to please inform you what action they take in response these requests, and what the outcome is. You may also want to ask for a meeting with them to discuss.

For an example see NEFA’s letter to member for Page, Kevin Hogan.

A Koala victim of the 2019 fires.

Protecting burnt forests and depleted hollow-bearing trees

Dailan Pugh

In the aftermath of the 2019/20 fires the NSW Government directed the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) to come up with a compromise in the dispute between the EPA and Forestry Corporation on how to modify logging to reduce impacts. The NRC report was delivered to Forestry and Environment Ministers in June last year but in a gross dereliction of duty they have refused to make Forestry Corporation implement the recommendations. NEFA is asking that you write to the NSW Environment Minister, and/or your local State Member asking them to:

Please write to the NSW Environment Minister asking him to immediately implement the recommendations in the NRC report ‘Final report Coastal IFOA operations post 2019/20 wildfires’ by changing the Coastal Integrated Forestry Operations Approval to ensure:

  •   harvesting must be temporarily suspended [in the Taree Management Area] for three years from the time of fire
  •   if [the required 8 per ha] hollow-bearing trees are not available, then retain suitable substitutes, in priority order being, potential future hollow-bearing trees, the largest mature tree in the stand or a regrowth tree that is not suppressed
  •   retain two recruitment trees per retained hollow-bearing tree

You can contact Minister Griffin through his website, and tick the ‘I would like a response’ box.

For background information see here, which includes NEFA’s letters to Minister Griffin.

Increasing protection for old-growth trees

Dailan Pugh

Old trees are the primary storehouses of carbon, provide essential hollows for animals to nest and den in, provide the most abundant nectar and seed, and are of the highest aesthetic appeal. These values increase with age. Eucalypts only begin to develop hollows once they are over 120 years old, and it is only once they are over 220 years old that they develop hollows big enough for the largest species. Natural forests may have 13–27 hollow-bearing trees per hectare. In NSW at least 46 mammals, 81 birds, 31 reptiles and 16 frogs, are reliant on tree hollows for shelter and nests, of these, 40 species are listed as threatened. 

All remaining oldgrowth trees need to be protected. The logging rules (CIFOA) only require the retention of up to 8 hollow bearing trees per hectare where they remain. One assessment after the 2019/20 fires found there was a loss of 35% of hollow-bearing trees over a metre diameter, and the Forestry Corporation found that in heavily burnt forests 50% of trees over 30cm diameter were killed. The Natural Resources Commission June 2021 report recognised:

The Coastal IFOA standard prescriptions do not provide effective retention of feed and habitat trees, including recruitment trees in timber harvest areas of state forests, to support the persistence of species dependent on these resources in a severely fire-affected landscape

In recognition of the massive loss of hollow-bearing trees in fires and logging operations, the only permanent change to the logging rules proposed by the NRC was to require the retention of the next largest trees where there are less than 8 hollow-bearing trees per hectare (as in most coastal forests) to achieve 8 trees, and for each of these retain 2 of the next largest trees as ‘recruitment’ trees to develop into the hollow bearing trees of the future.

Most trees will only live for 300-500 years, and many are killed far earlier in logging operations or fires. Given the time taken to develop hollows, especially large ones, it is essential to retain the next largest trees to replace them when they die if the intent is maintain the minimal numbers required for retention in perpetuity. Given the high mortality more than one recruitment tree is required.

The NRC recommended

  •   if [the required 8 per ha] hollow-bearing trees are not available, then retain suitable substitutes, in priority order being, potential future hollow-bearing trees, the largest mature tree in the stand or a regrowth tree that is not suppressed
  •   retain two recruitment trees per retained hollow-bearing tree

The 2018 changes to the logging rules removed the need to retain recruitment trees and most other mature trees, and the Forestry Corporation don’t want them back. With the lack of Government direction, in October the Forestry Corporation adopted their own legally unenforceable ‘FCNSW Voluntary CIFOA Supplementary Measure for Fire Affected Landscapes - North Coast’. In that they require

Where there are insufficient hollow-bearing trees to achieve [8 per ha], trees with future hollow-bearing potential must be marked to ensure eight trees are retained per hectare.

Without a definition, virtually any tree has “future hollow-bearing potential”. There is no need to retain the biggest trees, and no requirement to retain recruitment trees.

While NEFA considers that all trees over 100 years old (including all hollow-bearing trees) should be retained, restoring a minimum of 8 hollow-bearing trees per hectare, and retaining 2 large mature recruitment trees for each, throughout our public forests, is a major step forward. The challenge now is to make the Government adopt this recommendation, ensure it is appropriately worded and defined, and make it legally enforceable in the CIFOA.

NEFA’s a Chance for hollow-bearing trees has further information.

Forest Corpse are trashing the ecological and aesthetic values of the Cherry Tree Road.

Jim Morrison

The Cherry Tree Road was formally recognised as an area of Aesthetic value by the CRA Cultural Heritage Working Group during the Comprehensive Regional Assessment (CRA) in the late 1990’s.

While many people assume that Cultural Heritage is primarily about Indigenous values, our Cultural Heritage also includes non-Indigenous values such as historic, scientific, social and aesthetic values which also can qualify for protection under the State Heritage Act.

The Cherry Tree Road was formally recognised as an area of unique aesthetic values. This was based primarily on the unusual contrast of distinct vegetation types in close proximity along its length. The road itself follows the narrow ridge that separates the Richmond and Clarence Catchments through Mallanganee National Park and Cherry Tree State Forest. The geology is very mixed, comprising Tertiary volcanics at the north end extending into Walloon Coal measures towards the south. These are a mixed group of sediments including shale, variously enriched with coal as well as clay stone and sandstone. As a result of changes in geology and aspect the vegetation communities exhibit a stark contrast over short distances including the transition from Subtropical and Dry Rainforests through Moist and Dry Sclerophyll communities. Continue reading here. 

The Great Koala National Park (GKNP) campaign update 

By Paula Flack on behalf of the GKNP Campaign Team

NSW Greens Great Koala Protected Areas Bill

They can’t call it the Great Koala National Park Bill for legal reasons, but the NSW Greens’ Great Koala Protected Areas Bill is one and the same!  Already introduced to NSW Parliament late last year, the Bill is now to be debated in the NSW Upper House on 23rd March, and we need your help to convince MPs to support it.  If you are a resident of NSW, please call your Local MP and tell them that you support the GKNP proposal and the Bill and that you vote. If you feel inclined to contact other NSW MPs go to NSW Upper House MPs for contacts, focus on Labor and independent MPs. For more guidance on what to say visit our website.

Our new venture

For two years the GKNP Team ran Great Koala National Park (GKNP) Information Centre at Urunga, with the most amazing group of passionate volunteers. During that time, we obtained thousands of petition signatures and chatted with visitors and locals about the benefits of the proposed new national park. Disappointingly, COVID restrictions and closures made it impossible to achieve our primary purpose of connecting with the wider public to raise awareness and support for the GKNP so late last year we closed the centre.

We are now focusing on running market stalls within the GKNP area from Grafton to Kempsey.  If the mountain can't come to us, we will go to the mountain!

Come and visit us at the next Bellingen Markets Saturday 19th March. If you live in the Coffs Coast area and have the time to help us in this new venture by joining our Market Stall team, please contact us [email protected]

Charity T-shirt Launch

We are thrilled to announce the upcoming launch of another charity tee shirt by our fantastic supporter Arnhem Clothing. The wonderful team at Arnhem have design another awesome tee shirt and will send 100% of sales proceeds directly to the GKNP campaign. The launch has been postponed due to flooding. Check out Arnhem for the release. 

The Great Koala Wilderness Walk

The GKNP Campaign Team is planning a three-day Koala Wilderness Walk on 1st - 3rd May 2022 to promote the GKNP proposal and celebrate Wild Koala Day on May 3rd. This will be an important guided event to highlight the importance of local public native forests to secure the future of our iconic Koala.  Day 1-2 will be for a small group who traverse the rugged New England Wilderness.   Day 3 will be the main event with a picnic and presentations at the base of spectacular Killiekrankie Mountain and will including a two-hour guided walk. Numbers will be strictly limited due to COVID and NPWS conditions of entry.  More details available closer to the date.

New tee shirts now available!

Our sponsors Affirmations have created an incredible new GKNP tee shirt featuring the beautiful artwork of Gumbaynggirr Elder Michael Donovan. They are available online and come in black, grey or white … all the koala colours!!   A percentage of proceeds come direct to the GKNP campaign so we can continue to try and save these amazing creatures. They make great gifts folks, so check them out at Affirmations.

We acknowledge the Gumbaynggirr people who are the traditional custodians of the land within the GKNP proposal and pay our respects to the Elders past, present and emerging.

Camp Nunguu Update & our Community Art Auction

Zianna Fuad

​​For eight months last year Camp Nunguu guarded the entry to Newry State Forest and grew into a thriving community hub where people united to defend what’s left of our native forests.

It became a space for the learning of Gumbaynggirr language and culture, sharing non-violent direct action skills, climbing and forest ecology. Hundreds of communal meals were shared with hundreds of people as they travelled to see the north-east coasts magnificent forests that are under threat from industrial logging.

We made the hard decision to close Camp Nunguu over the summer. With the big rains and heat predicted we felt it would both take its toll on the camp gear and visitors, and we've seen the rains naturally blockade this forests for months now.

While we reflect on our best approach for this years forest defence, we are very excited to announce that our Art Auction is finally happening again after multiple postponements!

Lock in the date: April 9th, 6pm, at the Bellingen Showgrounds. 

We have 50 pieces of incredible art donated from all around the continent. It's going to be a special night of art, music, culture and connection, all funds going to the protection of these precious Gumbaynggirr forests.

Please pass the new date onto your friends, click "Going" on our Facebook event and share the news around!

For culture, for country, for kin.

Please Invite your friends to join you and LIKE the North East Forest Alliance Page TODAY

Head to our page. Click on the settings menu on the Page and select the "Invite Friends" function. Select as many friends as you can and Send Invitations. More instructions here. 

If we reach 5,000 likes before the upcoming Federal Election and 10,000 before the NSW election in a year then our politicians will have to hear our calls to protect our endangered koalas and their forests.

Every supporter you get to join us helps to inform all Aussies of effective actions we can take together to protect our public native forests.

We thank you for your support, solidarity and care for the forest! 

Don't hesitate to get in touch if you have questions about NEFA or are looking for ways to get involved. 

Til next LEAF,

We thank you for your support, solidarity and care for the forest! Don't hesitate to get in touch if you have questions about NEFA or are looking for ways to get involved. 


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