SLASHING OF LOGGING RULES
-A DISASTER FOR OUR FORESTS
NEFA has described the Government's announcement today that they intend to drastically weaken the logging rules (Integrated Forestry Operations Approval) to remove numerous protections for NSW's threatened species, Koalas, oldgrowth forest, rainforest and fish as tragic.
"The logging industry has almost denuded the public forests allocated to them 20 years ago of sawlogs. This is all about making more trees available by opening up areas protected over the past 20 years as habitat of threatened species, Koalas, oldgrowth forest, and stream buffers for logging, while increasing logging intensity and legalising clearfell logging along the coast", NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh said.
"Continuing to prop up this rapacious industry for a bit longer is coming at increasing environmental costs as species are driven to extinction, logging spreads dieback through our forests, and stream flows and water quality decline.
"These are public forests and must be managed for the public good. We are calling upon the community to stand up for their forests and stop the NSW Government proceeding with these draconian changes.
"We need to end the logging of public native forest and complete the transition to plantations. We need to help our degraded native forest to recover and provide their full potential suite of benefits to local communities though tourism, environmental repair, carbon sequestration and storage, wildlife habitat and provision of clean, abundant water for downstream users" Mr. Pugh said.
"The community fought hard in the 1980's to protect rainforest and in the 1990s to protect oldgrowth forests. These were mapped under the supervision of all agencies and key stakeholders in an open and transparent process involving an Old Growth Expert Panel in 1998 and made part of the Comprehensive Adequate and Representative reserve system in 2000.
"We strongly oppose the Government's proposal to undertake a discredited review process that is intended to make large areas of these protected oldgrowth forests available for logging in order to meet a shortfall in north coast Wood Supply Agreements of 10,000 cubic metres per annum.
"It is outrageous that the intent is to remove current requirements to look for and protect occupied habitat of the most threatened species ahead of logging, while opening up habitat protected over the past 20 years for logging.
"North Coast Koalas have declined by 50% over the past 20 years, removing the requirements to look before they log to identify and protect Koala High Use Areas, while allowing widespread clearfelling in their habitat, could be their death knell.
"Given that this reduced protection for threatened species contravenes a multitude of Commonwealth recovery plans and scientific advices we are calling on the Commonwealth to intervene" Paula Flack said.
"The protection of the headwaters of our rivers is vital to maintain water quality and fish health. The Government is proposing to reduce buffers on headwater streams from a measly 10m down to a token 5 metres, while changing how they measure buffers so as to reduce buffers on all streams and removing the need to increase riparian protection upstream from threatened fish.
"North coast rivers are already in a parlous state, if the community allows this to proceed it will increase degradation of our rivers and imperil the survival of our most threatened fish. We need to be increase protection of our headwaters not reduce it.
"We strongly object to the proposals to increase logging intensity and extent throughout our forests, and particularly the creation of the 140,000ha North Coast Intensive Zone to allow Eden-style clearfelling and the conversion of native forests to quasi-plantations" Lyn Orrego said.
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The whole thing is a disappointing con job by the NSW Government, just like the RFAs.