National Parks Association of NSW response to Forestry Corporation

National Parks Association of NSW response to Forestry Corporation

The National Parks Association of NSW (NPA) takes issue with the content of the statement provided by the Forestry Corporation (FC) spokesperson on 31st August.

The claim that current timber operations are “carefully planned to supply renewable timber” are demonstrably false. A review of wood supply agreements, conducted by the NSW Department of Industry in March 2017, stated that the industry in southern NSW “will face adjustment to a reduction in timber supply beyond 2018”, that equipment would have to be refitted to deal with “super-small log sizes” and that FC “are tending to harvest the easier coastal areas at rates above long-term sustainability”.

Forestry Corporation has known since 1980 that “clearfelling eliminates arboreal mammals from the logged area”. How does it know? Because the report that contained this statement was written by scientists from the then NSW Forestry Commission. Yet for the intervening 37 years, clearfelling has routinely occurred in logging operations to supply the Eden chipmill. Is it any wonder koalas have virtually disappeared and gliders are now threatened?

These realities are not consistent with the careful and sustainable management of forests. That this is consistent with the Australian Forestry Standard tells you all you need to know about the rigours of that certification.

Mogo has clearly highlighted the true balance of recreation and tourism as against logging. Portions of mountain bike trails enjoyed by the community were obliterated. This tension has played out before when logging destroyed a section of the Wagonga Scenic Drive and regularly raises its head in other parts of Australia. There’s only one winner when timber contracts must be met.

Forests are more than just sources of woodchips. They’re living ecosystems, and Australian forests are hugely diverse. They’re also hugely valuable in ways we take for granted: a piece on RN last Thursday (31st August) highlighted how the value of forest benefits like water, carbon and tourism dwarf the value of timber.

NPA’s Forests For All plan seeks to protect public forests and wildlife, promote community access to forests, secure the benefits of forests to people and increase jobs to boot. We think our plan is more fitting for the ‘Nature Coast’ and we’re confident the community will agree.

Oisín Sweeney is the Senior Ecologist with the National Parks Association of NSW

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