NEFA Leaf - September 2021

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

Weekly forest news is back again! You can check that out between NEFA Leaf editions on our website.

#ThreatenedSpeciesDay - Online Action - 7th September

In a climate emergency and mass extinction event our elected governments should be doing all they can to protect threatened animals and plants from extinction.

Yet in NSW the Berejiklian Government continues to allow irreplaceable native forests that are home to threatened species to be destroyed by industrial logging.

We can’t meet in person this year for Threatened Species Day, but let’s send a clear message online to the NSW Government that logging public native forests must end now.

Here's how you can get involved:

STEP 1: Prepare your message for the Berejiklian Government that's related to threatened species and our public native forests . 

STEP 2: Write it on some paper or paint a banner and take a COVID-safe selfie, group photo, or get creative.

STEP 3: Send your photo back to us (by replying to this email & attaching your photo) so we can collate them all. 

STEP 4: Tomorrow morning - on the 7th September - share your photo on your own social media accounts and join the social media swarm. Include in your pictures and posts what you expect from our elected leaders during a mass extinction event and use key messages above highlighted in bold.

Be sure to use the hashtags below (as well as your local tags)



More info here & invite your friends!

Burning Wood for Electricity Doesn't Pass the Pub Test

The NSW parliamentary inquiry into “Sustainability of energy supply and resources in NSW” has recommended that native forest biomass not be allowed in energy generation facilities and not be eligible for Renewable Energy Credits. The challenge now is to get the Government to accept the recommendations. It does show that intelligent people, assessing the evidence, conclude that burning forests for electricity is a dumb idea. Particularly when they are the best technology we have for removing carbon from the atmosphere.

Read our full Media Release here.

Meanwhile the former Redbank power station (in the Hunter Valley) proposal for burning about 1.3 million tonnes of wood, is going to the Land and Environment Court (LEC) in October. The proponent is challenging Singleton Council's deemed refusal and asking the LEC to give it the tick.

Please send an email to the Minister for Environment and Energy Matt Kean, with the main points about Biomass - that it's 50% worse (more polluting and carbon emissive) than coal, facilitates deforestation, destroying biodiversity, undermines true renewables and the carbon sinks we need to prevent climate catastrophe!

Here is a draft which you can copy & paste (or personalise as much as you can) and email to him and his ministerial colleagues.

With a Climate Code Red, our forests are the best technology we have for removing carbon from the atmosphere. We need them to be allowed to get on with the job!

Chaelundi Blockade's "30 Years" Storytelling is now up online

Big thanks to everyone who came along and shared stories for our "30 Years On - Chaelundi Storytelling".

It was an incredible afternoon of reminiscing, laughter and re-inspiration! 

If you missed it, you can now watch it here.

We also have a new History page with many Chaelundi Resources that includes; academic articles, book chapters, reflections and a full drive of photos.

61 Groups Call for an End to Logging in Public Native Forests

NEFA was instrumental in bringing together forest groups from around the country to develop a clear position on the logging of native forests on public lands.

We have come together to call on State and Federal Governments to:
  1. Develop stronger regulations and incentive programmes to encourage private landholders to protect and restore forests;
  2. Invest in the management of forests for biodiversity, carbon storage and catchment integrity, including the restoration of degraded native forests. This will create a wide range of regional jobs in forest management;
  3. Recognise the rights and interests of First Nations in the public forest estate and genuinely consult and negotiate on future forest management;
  4. End public subsidies across the logging industry;
  5. Ban the use of native forest wood as biomass for electricity generation;
  6. Invest in ecologically-sensitive farm forestry plantings for biodiversity and timber.
More than 61 groups from around the country have signed on to the statement which you can now see on our website.

Spotlight on the Kalang Headwaters this Biodiversity Month

By Jonas Bellchambers

Since its Biodiversity Month we thought it was a good time to highlight the biodiversity hotspot that is Oakes State Forest in the Kalang headwaters. Oakes is found in the heart of Gumbaynggirr Country, west of Bellingen.

The proposed logging area is about 10km away from the 1992 Killiekranke protest site and many of the same values and underlying soil issues have not changed much in the 30 years since one of our regions great forest victories. While Catbird Road is now in the New England National Park - about 90% of the Kalang Headwaters still remains largely unprotected in State Forests.

The top of the logging area sits around Hawk Road at about 830m above sea level. Here, red soils and pumice tells us the volcanic origin of the area with massive old growth Brushbox and rainforest to the very top. Sadly this mapped disturbed old growth is within the current harvest area.

This area is gorgeous with an abundance of diversity - a known area for Sphagnum Frogs and Rufus Scrub-birds but the place is ruled by Lyrebirds. At this time of year, this piece of Gondwana is resplendent with flowering orchids. Read Jonas's full story here.

While Camp Nunguu sleeps, we continue to connect with Country

A story of Camp Nunguu (Newry Native Forest Blockade) by Maddie Stephenson

A powerful gold strikes the canopy of the eucalypts, Ngayan (sun) has risen. 

The calm is surreal. With eyes still closed and the day’s debut breath, I soak in the forest’s unbothered dawn chorus. 

As my exhale draws out so to does the awareness that I’m in a forest due for imminent logging. 

My body twitches itself awake with that reality. My ears prick open like the dingo - is that machinery on its way up the mountain? Or the nearby ocean rumbling? Or the monotonous tone of the M1? Whatever it is, I’m up, reaching for the closest pair of pants as the unfortunate image of me locking on in my undies passing through my mind.

Fast-forward five months. 

Another silent morning and my eyes open early to greet that same idle, unbothered forest.

This time I made sure to sleep in pants, prepared to jump out and block machinery. Though no murmuring engines are in earshot. 

Our presence has been strong here at Camp Nunguu.*

We’ve made headlines and are the talk of the town - the Coffs News Of The Area journalists support us with regular articles. The logging community shares their common hatred of us on their boomer-driven anti-environment climate-change-denying facebook groups, which I occasionally scroll through with mixed emotions. 

Camp Nunguu is constantly expanding - the quad-pod sits high and the red flag bearing the golden kangaroo waves proudly against the blue-sky backdrop. Baskets overflow with donations of citrus. 

Only crumbs are left in the tupperware of what was the ironic ‘Lumberjack Cake’, dropped off my a local Mum. 

The latest development is the camp sauna for the coldest nights. 

We’re a sustainable, fully-functioning family of passionate delinquents. We take turns in cooking each other’s favourite meals, teaching climbing, tripod building, knot tying, music and poetry. We are each other’s motivation to skill-up. To empower ourselves. To be prepared. Like grown-up scouts on too much caffeine. Full tale here

*Camp Nunguu is currently closed to all visitors until the regional lockdown lifts. Follow our page for updates

Logging Increases Burning

By Dailan Pugh

We are in a dangerous feedback loop where regrowth following logging and extreme fires is fuelling more intense fires. With extreme fire weather increasing we need to break out of this vicious cycle while we still can. Stopping logging and allowing current regrowth to mature beyond 40 years will significantly help. The latest study emphasises the need to reduce fire threat by maintaining cover of older forest near settlements.

In their most recent assessment of the effect of logging on fires, Lindenmeyer et. al. undertook an empirical study that aimed to quantify the factors affecting the severity of the 2019–2020 fires in northeastern Victoria. They found “There was an increase in the probability of Crown Burn and Crown Burn/Crown Scorch under more extreme fire weather in all forest types, with the effect especially elevated in dry forest. Our analyses also revealed a range of response curve shapes for the relationships between time since previous major disturbance and fire severity relationships and these varied by fire weather classes and forest type”.

They note “fire severity was generally low in very young and very old forest and highest in stands that were 10–40 yr old … the tallest, oldest forests (100–300+ yr since previous major disturbance) burn at lowest severity”.

Further information here.

Bushfire survivors win landmark climate change case against NSW EPA

In a landmark decision in the Land and Environment Court, the Environmental Defenders Office acting for Bushfire Survivors, won their case that the Environment Protection Authority has a statutory duty to act to prevent pollution and protect the environment from dangerous climate change. 

It’s the first time an Australian court has ordered a government organisation to take more meaningful action on climate change.

How the EPA will now act to do this is yet to be seen. One suggestion from us, is that they could refuse to licence logging in the public forests which were either badly burnt and need a long time to recover, or in those forests that are the refuge for animals that fled the fires and whose habitat could take decades to recover.

We hit 30k for our big Legal Case!

Dear friends of the forests, your support for our legal case has been overwhelming.

More than 220 of you have donated and we are now more than 60% ($32,000) towards our $50,000 target!

This is the best chance we've had in 20 years to keep the north-east forests standing to be allowed to grow old in peace and enjoyed by future generations in all their magnificence.

Every little bit helps move us closer to our target and enables us to be that much more effective. Please continue to spread the word >> 

What to learn more about the case?

The Bob Brown Foundation hosted a webinar to share more info about our case that challenges the validity of the RFAs.

Speakers were Susie Russell from NEFA, David Morris from the EDO and Jenny Weber from the BBF. You can watch it here.

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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