Revised North East Forest Alliance position on:
Logging of our Publicly owned Native Forests
In recognition of the accelerating impacts of climate change the North East Forest Alliance is calling for a rapid phase out of logging from our public native forests in order to protect and restore:
Threatened and other native species habitat;
Water yields, water quality and stream health;
Carbon take-up and storage, and
Forest health and natural processes.
We are adopting this position because:
Decades long attempts to achieve ecologically sustainable forest management have failed, public forests are being intentionally cut-out of sawlogs and the limited rules to protect threatened species, old trees and streams are inadequate and regularly ignored. The Environment Protection Authority have proven themselves to be ineffective regulators and are now removing and further weakening the rules.
Forest values are being degraded by over-logging. Biodiversity, threatened species, water yields, stream health and carbon storage are declining, while weeds and dieback are spreading through the forest. Climate change is now compounding these problems.
Forests are the lungs of the earth, and if allowed to regenerate will take in and store a significant proportion of the carbon dioxide we are emitting. Left growing, forests are part of the solution to climate change, cut down they become part of the problem.
We strongly oppose proposals to allow widespread clearfelling, weaken erosion controls and start cable-logging of extremely steep country. We are alarmed by attempts to expand woodchipping by redirecting the chips from export into furnaces to generate electricity.
Our forests need to be allowed to grow old in peace. Older forests provide more habitat for threatened species, more nectar for birds and bees, take in and store more carbon, are more fire resilient and act like an underground water reservoir ensuring reliable water supplies. The recreational, cultural, spiritual and aesthetic values of our publicly owned native forests need to be securely protected.
State Forests are a public asset. They belong to the people of NSW, yet the public pay $8-15 million every year to subsidize their logging. It's time they were managed to maximise the benefit to the public.
The Forest Agreements for upper and lower north east NSW have not delivered either a Comprehensive, Adequate and Representative reserve system or Ecologically Sustainable Forest Management. Their 20 year period expires in 2018 and logging of forests on public land must end. We believe that this will be in the best environmental, social and economic interests of the community. Adopted unanimously - 17 January 2015.