Following NEFA's finding last Sunday of an exceptional Koala population in Braemar State Forest, south of Casino, NEFA is calling on the Premier to intervene to ensure that the required thorough searches for Koalas are undertaken and all Koala High Use Areas protected.
Koala scats were found under 42 trees in a 3ha area of Braemar State Forest marked up for logging, 81 Koala scats were found under this single tree where none had been found by the Forestry Corporation.
On Sunday NEFA undertook Koala scat searches in about 3 ha of Braemar SF and documented 42 trees with Koala scats, including 14 with >20 Koala scats.
This is an exceptional density of Koalas and under the Threatened Species Licence this entire area qualifies as a Koala High Use Area that must be protected from imminent logging, NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh said.
"The full extent of this high quality Koala habitat is obviously far greater than we have so far identified and there are likely other high use areas scheduled for logging.
"The area is already marked-up for logging, which is due to start this month. None of the trees we searched had been searched before us, despite the requirement of the Threatened Species Licence that thorough searches for Koala scats have to be undertaken before logging.
"NEFA have had enough of the Forestry Corporation's wanton disregard for their legal obligations and are determined to make them abide by the law this time.
"NEFA have requested that Premier Berejiklian intervene to stop the Forestry Corporation commencing logging until there is an independent assessment of Koala usage and the protection of Koala High Use Areas" Mr. Pugh said.
"In March this year we found widespread evidence of a significant Koala population in Gibberagee State Forest, and despite our evidence and having to resort to two blockades we could not make the Forestry Corporation undertake the thorough Koala searches required. Our offer of using a scat detection dog to undertake a thorough search were rebuffed.
"Our appeals to the Environment Protection Authority and the Environment Minister Matt Kean to stop work while the required searches were undertaken to identify Koala High Use Areas were ignored. The Forestry Corporation continued to log Koala High Use Areas while the EPA were in the forest assessing our complaints. In the end, as a token gesture the Forestry Corporation only protected 1ha of a single Koala High Use Area we had identified.
"With the already proven significance of the nearby Royal Camp and Carwong State Forests for Koalas our findings prove that these remnant forests on the margin of the Richmond floodplain are of exceptional importance for Koalas and must be protected from further degradation" Mr. Pugh said.
See the Braemar report at https://www.nefa.org.au/braemar_audit