The North East Forest Alliance have renewed their call for the environment Minister. Gabrielle Upton, to intervene to protect Koalas after the discovery of a Koala high use tree and numerous breaches within logged areas of Gladstone State Forest, 6km south-west of Bellingen.
A NEFA audit of 7 hectares of logging in compartment 231 of Gladstone State Forest on Sunday afternoon located 20 Koala scats under a tree on the boundary of the logging area, intensive logging of Koala feed trees, logging within a Great Barred Frog exclusion area, 31 breaches of habitat tree selection and protection requirements affecting 20 habitat trees, and a logging intensity well in excess of that allowed.
Photo of logged koala habitat at Gladstone SF.
"The Minister recently gave a commitment to the community that the 'EPA will actively monitor the logging operations in Gladstone State Forest', ensure compliance with the logging rules, and protect Koala 'high use areas and important feed trees from logging' said NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh.
"Now it is evident that the Minister's commitment was worthless. The Forestry Corporation are logging occupied Koala habitat, targeting Koala feed trees for removal, damaging habitat trees, and undertaking intensive logging in contravention of the IFOA.
"At current rates, under the EPA's watch, there will be over 500 habitat trees illegally damaged by the time logging is completed in the active compartments.
"The EPA have clearly failed to make the Forestry Corporation either protect Koalas or abide by the logging rules. This time the Minister needs to accept her responsibility and do something to stop this senseless vandalism".
"NEFA has provided the Environment Minister with our audit and expanded our requests to her from protecting core Koala habitat, to include protecting Koala feed trees outside core habitat, stopping the reckless damage to habitat trees, and ensuring logging intensities are reduced to that legally allowed.
"As it is clear that the Forestry Corporation are incapable of identifying Koala high use areas we have again asked her to deploy her scat detection dogs to identify Koala high use areas ahead of the logging.
"A year ago the then Environment Minister, Mark Speakman announced they had 10 trained dogs to search for threatened species, it's time to deploy one of them to save Bellingen's Koalas" Mr. Pugh said.
Preliminary Audit of Gladstone State Forest is available at