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Logging in burnt South Coast forests starts this week - worse than “normal” logging

Logging starting in burnt areas of South Coast native forests this week will be more intensive and destructive than “normal” logging under new rules just approved by the Environment Protection Authority. The logging is the first since the summer bushfires which burnt 80% of the “net harvestable area” of South Coast State Forests. Burnt areas of South Brooman and Mogo State Forests are being logged under new specially modified “site specific” rules[1] which are supposed to increase protection for wildlife and reduce risk to soils following the fires. They are expected to become a model for further logging around the region in the near future. Spokesperson for South East Region Conservation Alliance (SERCA), Deputy Convener, Harriett Swift says: “It is outrageous that logging in these burnt forest should be going ahead.” “Scientists have already warned that logging burnt forests will set back recovery by destroying new growth and these new logging rules will only make that worse. It is irresponsible, opportunistic and goes way beyond "salvage" logging to restore safe access to the forests.  “Logging in burnt forests compounds the massive destruction already caused by recent intense fire. “In one case, South Brooman, the logging will produce an identical yield of logs from roughly half the area in the original logging plan approved before the fires. The yield includes 2,500 m3 of woodchips and 1,600 m3 of firewood. And in Mogo, twice the number of stream crossings have been approved. “It is simply not credible that this can result in improved protection for wildlife or reduced soil erosion risk. "These forests have been home to 20 threatened species include Greater Glider, Powerful Owl, Yellow-bellied Glider, various bats, Flame Robin, Gang-gang Cockatoo, Glossy Black-Cockatoo, Grey-headed Flying-fox, Masked Owl, Sooty Owl, Spotted-tailed Quoll, Squirrel Glider and Swift Parrot. "There are also records of 2 threatened native orchids which only flower in early summer and will almost certainly not be visible, especially after fire. “Recommendations of the Threatened Species Commissioner  on measures needed to protect wildlife following the bushfires are also being ignored. “The only change to these new post- fire rules that makes a little sense is that there will not be a post logging burn, but even that does not take account of the short term increased fire hazard from logging slash left on the forest floor. “SERCA calls on the government to stop this now before any more damage is done. “With no functioning chipmill, a collapse of the woodchip market in China and over a billion wild creatures already lost in the fires, it’s time for some common sense to prevail,” Ms Swift said. “We must learn from the bushfires and urgently implement a fair transition for the comparatively few workers left in the industry. "We should stop logging native forests and complete the transition to plantations already under way; it’s economically marginal and an ecological disaster. Native forests have a more valuable role to play as carbon stores and habitat," said the spokesperson for South East Region Conservation Alliance (SERCA), Deputy Convener, Harriett Swift

Photo caption: Logging resumes in Mogo State Forest this week. 1] The new rules are amendments to the Coastal Integrated Forestry Operations Approvals. According to the Environment Protection Authority, the post-fire rules are “ tailored to apply to individual fire-damaged sites. They are designed to reduce further damage to soils, waterways, plants animals and their habitats.

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