Stop Logging Koala’s Homes, it’s the only way to save them.

MEDIA RELEASE 23 July 2023

With logging now underway in Myrtle State Forest, NEFA is calling on the Minns Government to immediately halt logging of habitat vital to the recovery of Koalas in Myrtle and Braemar State forests (south of Casino), by reinstating pre-logging Koala surveys and protecting core Koala habitat.

With roading complete, 2000 ha of Myrtle State Forest was closed to public access and logging started there last week. Nearby, 500 ha of Braemar State Forest has also been roaded and marked up for logging.

“Myrtle and Braemar State forests are both identified as Nationally Important Koala Areas that were badly burnt in the 2019/20 wildfires, killing many of their resident Koalas. Despite this, recent surveys have proved that most patches of preferred koala feed trees are still being utilised by Koalas” NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh said.

“Logging of more than 75% of the larger feed trees (>30cm diameter) that Koalas need to rebuild their numbers will be devastating for populations already severely impacted by the fires.

Braemar Koala

“If this Government really wants to save Koalas from extinction, they need to urgently protect their homes.

“Under the previous government we were successful in getting logging postponed in both Braemar and Myrtle State forests, with the Forestry Corporation waiting for the election of the Minn’s Government to resurrect their logging plans.      

“I recently assisted Dr. Steve Phillips undertake assessments of clusters of Koala Preferred Feed Trees (KPFT) to assess the presence of Koala scats, finding Koalas to be present in all the clusters assessed in Myrtle and most clusters assessed in Braemar.

“The fact that most clusters of preferred feed trees are utilised, even after the devastation of the 2019/20 fires, makes a clear case that these forests still provide habitat for Koalas vital to their recovery.

“In 2018 the previous government scrapped the requirement to search for Koalas ahead of logging and protect Koala High Use Areas. Now the only requirement is to retain just 5 small (>20cm diameter) potential feed trees per hectare in these forests, which means that over three quarters of the larger feed trees Koalas depend on can be logged, with the best patches with the most feed trees most severely impacted.  

“If they happen to see a Koala (that hasn't fled or is hiding in the foliage) before they fell it’s tree, then all they have to do is wait for it to escape before they cut it’s tree down.

“If the NSW Government is going to act on their promise to protect Koalas, it’s time to resurrect pre-logging Koala surveys, by independent surveyors, and protect core Koala habitat” Mr. Pugh said.

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