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Continuing logging with uncertainty about the impacts of these fires is simply irresponsible

The Beagle Editor, More than 80% of South Coast forests were burnt in last summers bushfires.

It’s estimated that over a billion creatures died in that terrible event.

And that’s a conservative estimate because the method UNSW ecologist Prof Chris Dickman used doesn’t include bats, insects, platypus or fish.

Recent research by WWF Australia has suggested that koala numbers in NSW have  dropped by between a third and two-thirds over the past twenty years. (Source SBS News)

With so much damage to critical native habitat and huge losses to forestry resources, surely the least we can do is press pause on logging native forests until the full impacts of the fires can be assessed. 

Continuing logging while there’s so much uncertainty about the impacts of these fires is simply irresponsible.

But try telling that to the forest industry.  

Their lobby groups are using the Eden-Monaro by election to pressure candidates for more support, subsidises and assistance - taxpayers dollars. They want to ramp up the destruction of native forests on the South Coast. The forests that most need protection right now.

The Australian Forestry Products Association (AFPA) say “These industries (forestry) are the main wellsprings of regional jobs in Eden-Monaro,”

Let’s be generous and choose to believe they’ve made an genuine error, rather than a deliberate exaggeration.  

The fact is there’s less than 1% of the total workforce in Bega Valley and Eurobodalla Shires directly employed in native forest logging. To put that in perspective, that’s less than the amount of people employed pre Covid in Arts and Sports administration in this region. There are more people employed in forestry in the Tumut area because of plantation timber.

The AFPA believes we should “use the trees that have been burnt as much as we can”

Does this mean denying the evidence of long term scientific studies done by internationally recognised experts like Prof David Lindenmayer who has found that unless fallen timber is left in the forests to assist recovery there will be negative consequences for up to 200 years?

The AFPA states around 5000 people are employed in Eden Monaro and they generate 2 billion dollars per annum.  

At that ROI,coupled with the environmental destruction, doesn’t it make more sense to pay those workers out, and/or transition the whole industry to plantation timber?

The AFPA is also calling for “long-term financial support for transporting logs to mills from unburnt plantation regions and timber production native forests”

So tax payers should subsidise trucking companies as a part of the destruction of our native forests? Why?

How much longer are we going to treat our native forests as some sort of commodity, something we can simply continue to consume without regard?

Healthy forests provide clean air, water and help produce fertile soils. Not to mention the carbon storage - around 1 tonne of carbon for a modest sized tree 8 metres high. (Source: © Forest and Wood Products Australia Written by Andrea Jane Leys PhD for Forest Learning)

Forests are a “must have”, not a “nice to have” and post bush fires “business as usual” is just not an option for the species that depend on South Coast native forests. Human beings are just one of those species.

These fires should be a catalyst for change. It’s well over due. Eden Monaro Environmental Alliance,  Meringo

Above:The native forests of the South Coast are regenerating after last summers devastating bush fires, and logging remains a major threat to their recovery. The Eden Monaro Environmental Alliance is calling for an immediate halt to native forest logging, suspension of the Eden and Southern Region Regional Forest Agreement (RFA) and a full environmental audit of  the ecological impact of the 2019-20 fires.

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