Nature & Wildlife

VOICES FOR THE EARTH

Bom Bom State Forest

Something to be trashed or treasured?

Bom Bom State Forest, just south of Grafton, has suffered a long history of environmental abuse. Past forest management has focused on timber production which has led to the current monoculture of Spotted Gums that dominate much of the forest, and a dramatic reduction in species diversity.

Left alone, nature has an amazing ability to repair itself. Trees will mature and form hollows where branches have died or been damaged, thus providing habitat for hollow-dependant fauna. Other plant species will return, propagated naturally from seed either blown in on the wind, carried there on animal fur, or simply excreted by birds.

Regrettably, after some 20 years, nature’s work at Bom Bom has been disrupted yet again, with Forestry Corporation returning to log the largest and healthiest trees, further compacting the already degraded and eroded soils, and no doubt following that by burning as much of the residue as possible.

Conservationists, campaigning for an end to native forest logging across the country, are increasingly concerned at the rate of wildlife habitat loss that is occurring, and contributing to the steady decline of almost all forest fauna species, a trend that can only end in extinction.

The loss of hollow-bearing trees, which succumb naturally to storms and fire is particularly concerning. This is because current logging ensures that no mature trees are left to progress to the hollow-bearing stage, a process that takes upwards of 150 years, meaning this natural attrition will soon see more and more forests, like Bom Bom, with no old-growth trees or hollows.

Even species that aren’t reliant on hollows, such as Koalas, are suffering from the lack of diversity that has resulted from logging, and while Bom Bom still has some Koala feed tree species, the last record of Koalas in the area was a road-kill at Oppies Gully three years ago.

Sadly, right now the only Koalas we’re likely to see in the vicinity are pasted on advertising billboards. We need to stop logging native forests and let biodiversity prosper.

John Edwards

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