A North East Forest Alliance audit of the Forestry Corporation’s widening of a track through rainforest around a Hoop Pine plantation west of Urbenville in the upper Clarence River valley found that it resulted in the clearing and damage to 5-6 hectares of world heritage quality rainforest, mostly within the Tooloom National Park.
The track widening involved the indiscriminate bulldozing of hundreds of whole trees (up to 70 cm diameter) out of the ground, with crowns being pushed over 33m into the surrounding rainforest, in the process pushing loose soil into the remaining rainforest and damaging standing trees up to 2.5 metres diameter, killing many of them.
It is astounding that the Forestry Corporation could be so reckless with such priceless rainforest on land they don’t manage.
It appears the works were undertaken during fires in the area in late 2019, raising questions as to whether the Incident Controller approved the Forestry Corporation to clear rainforests in a National Park or whether the Forestry Corporation was taking advantage of the confusion to undertake works they would never otherwise get away with doing.
NEFA is calling for the incident to be fully investigated, with appropriate and effective regulatory action to match the seriousness of this crime and discourage repeat events, and for the Forestry Corporation to be made to rehabilitate the area.