The North East Forest Alliance (NEFA) considers the intent of the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) $750,000 project assessing the North Coast private native forest north from Newcastle appears to be to identify private forests for loggers to target for sawlogs as supplies from public lands continue to rapidly decline.
DPI surveys of both millers and logging contractors attest to the degraded nature of north-east NSWs public and private forests due to over-logging, with supplies of high quality sawlogs rapidly declining across the forest estate, according to Dailan Pugh, spokesperson for NEFA.
"Regrettably 80% of private landowners are reported as having little understanding or interest in the logging rules, with 67% of contractors believing most landowners are only interested in maximising short term income.
"The Government needs to do more than just help loggers identify and flog the best stands remaining, they have a responsibility to identify and protect oldgrowth forests, the habitat of threatened species, endangered ecological communities and other special values. These too need to be mapped.
"This time the NSW Government is targeting the best Koala habitat left on private land for intensified logging, with the promised Koala strategy nowhere to be seen.
"There is nothing sustainable about forestry as currently practiced, and the Government's current proposals to increase logging intensity while slashing the few protections for threatened species and stream buffers on both public and private lands will just increase its unsustainability.
"For those landholders who want to do the right thing the Government should be providing incentive payments for management of forests to protect threatened species, improve stream quality, enhance rainfall, and store ever increasing volumes of atmospheric carbon as they age. This is to the benefit of all of us.
"For those landholders that don't care the Government needs to ensure that the logging rules for private lands are improved to limit the ongoing degradation, introduce meaningful protection for threatened species and improve protection for streams." Mr. Pugh said.