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Voices for the Earth

Just eight years after the Regional Forests Agreements were signed in 2000, the NSW Auditor General reported that Forests NSW, which later morphed into Forestry Corporation, was logging unsustainably.

His report identified that: “To meet wood supply commitments, the native forest managed by Forests NSW on the north coast is being cut faster than it is growing back”. Not only that but: The North Coast region has been unable to meet its commitment for Blackbutt (the region’s most logged species) since 2004”.

Despite his damning summary that, “current yield from native forests in the north coast is not sustainable in the long term”, Forestry Corporation was allowed to continue its rampage unchecked, its native forest division clocking up millions of dollars in losses along the way.

Last week, the North East Forest Alliance (NEFA) revealed that Forestry Corporation has been blatantly ignoring recommendations from the government’s Natural Resource Commission. That recommendation called for an immediate stop to logging in bushfire impacted areas of the Taree and Casino Forest Management Areas, warning it posed an extreme risk of “serious and irreversible harm” to those forests. However, within one month of that stark assessment Forestry Corporation started logging Yarratt state forest, the only unburnt forest in the Taree area.

In a media release, NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh said. “It is back to business as usual, as Forestry Corporation rampages through forests knowingly, and intentionally, causing serious and irreversible harm to forests and species severely affected by the 2019-20 bushfires, while Ministers refuse to do their duty and stop it”.

Similar recommendations were made for the Casino Management Area, with NEFA again reporting that Camira State Forest (near Whiporie) is the only one where Forestry have pretended to comply, though, as proof they are bereft of any shred of ecological integrity, they have put aside the most heavily burnt and logged areas as “Fire Offsets”, while intending to log most of the forest that wasn’t devastated by the fires.

These actions prove once again that Forests Corporation isn’t fit to manage our publicly owned forests.

John Edwards

Clarence Valley Conservation Coalition