NEFA turns 30



On 5th June the North East Forest Alliance celebrated 30 years since its inaugural meeting at the Big Scrub Environment Centre in Lismore on World Environment Day in 1989.

"Over 30 years NEFA has made significant progress in its aims to protect oldgrowth, rainforest, wilderness and threatened species, unfortunately these wins are beginning to be wound back at a time when the necessity of protecting forests to avoid climate heating is more important than ever" NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh said.

"Before the end of 1989 NEFA had our first blockade to stop logging of rainforest in the Washpool Wilderness. Our court case in 1990 proved the logging was illegal and brought logging of mapped rainforests on public lands to an end.

"Through a series of blockades and court cases NEFA forced the NSW Government to establish moratoria over 180,000 ha of oldgrowth forests and wilderness areas by June 1990.

"Following our blockade and court case over logging of threatened species habitat at Chaelundi in 1991 NEFA were instrumental in getting NSW's first threatened species legislation.

"After our initial successes it was a long and hard fought campaign to identify and protect high conservation value forests.

"NEFA's blockades in Mebbin and Wollumbin in 1995 resulted in pre-logging surveys being undertaken for threatened species throughout north east NSW.

"From 1995 to 1998, along with the timber industry and unions, NEFA worked closely with the Commonwealth and State Governments to establish a Comprehensive, Adequate and Representative reserve system, ultimately resulting in 700,000 ha being added to National Parks in north east NSW, and over 300,000 ha of mostly rainforest and oldgrowth being protected on State Forests in Informal Reserves.

"Also a comprehensive set of rules aimed at reducing logging impacts on threatened species and streams were introduced.

"While the industry supported the outcomes, NEFA considered they did not satisfy the scientific criteria and evidence.

"In 2003 NEFA managed to get an additional 42,500 hectares added to national parks, and an additional 22,000 ha of mapped oldgrowth added to Informal Reserves.

"In recent years NEFA have been fighting a losing battle to make the Forestry Corporation abide by the logging rules, and to stop the NSW Government from weakening them.

"Now the NSW Government is intent on logging oldgrowth and rainforest protected in Informal Reserves with the industry's agreement over 20 years ago.

"We are going backwards at a time when protecting our forests is more important than ever. They are vital to take-up and store the carbon we are emitting if we are to have any chance of limiting global heating to 1.5 or even 2 degrees.

"Unfortunately there is still a lot for NEFA to do", Mr. Pugh said.

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