More NSW forest being lost for ever-diminishing returns

STOP PRESS: Media attention has forced Forestry Corporation to examine their information, and we have received the following letter from them – seeking to correct their own publicly available data: Letter from Forestry Corporation re their data140210 Letter from Forestry Corporation re their data_Page_1

The amount of native forest cut down in NSW increased by 36 per cent last year but revenue from native forests fell by $11 million, new figures show.

See coverage in the Sun Herald here.
The first figures released by the newly corporatized Forestry Corporation show the native forestry industry in crisis with thousands of extra hectares of forest being logged, for dwindling returns and the inevitable chronic losses being made up by NSW taxpayers.

The amount of native forest that was logged by Forestry NSW increased by 36% between 2011/12 and 2012/13. Despite this additional 8,300 hectares of native forest being lost, the amount of commercial timber recovered fell, showing ever diminishing returns from a stressed public forest reserve.

The more aggressive harvesting regime also impacted on threatened species with the number of threatened fauna species sighted in logging operations increasing from 3,018 in 2012/13 to 4,277 in 2012/13.  The greater impact on threatened species is inevitable as more and more of our forests are targeted for logging.

Greens MP and Forestry Spokesperson David Shoebridge said: “Rather than responding to the figures released last year showing destroying our forests costs taxpayers millions, the Government has instead increased logging by more than a third with inevitable diminishing returns.

“While the amount of native forests being logged has increased by more than 8 thousand hectares, the total volume of commercial timber recovered fell, showing ever diminishing returns from a stressed public forest reserve.

Logging

“Last year NSW taxpayers lost on average $480 for every hectare of public native forests that was logged in NSW. We continue to pay for the loss of our biodiversity, and these beautiful forests.

“The current industrial logging practices used in our State Forests are not only damaging the environment, they are damaging the State’s finances.

“The continuation of logging in native forests is financially unviable, and for both taxpayers and the environment it is urgent that we transition away from it.

“Across NSW plantations continue to prop up the economically unviable native forest operations. Almost half the $34 million in profits received from plantations was spent subsidising loss making native forestry operations.

“The results show that native forestry operations are more about blind ideology in support of logging than a rational approach to managing public forests.

“It is clear that increased logging is having an ever greater impact on vulnerable and threatened species in NSW like sugar gliders and koalas.

“The more they log and the deeper they go into the forests the more the logging impacts on threatened species that need the forest to survive.

“The number of threatened fauna species identified in logging operations last year was up by more than a third to 4,277 sightings.

“The real value of this State’s native forests is not in the diminishing returns we get from woodchips but in the ongoing returns they can bring from bio-diversity and tourism,” Mr Shoebridge said.

Forests NSW Facts and Figures FY 2012

 A.      Native Forests

  • Total area of native forests logged                                           31, 221 hectares (up from 22, 921)
    • An 8,300 hectare or 36% increase
    • Total revenue for native forestry operations                       $101 million (down from 112 million)
      • An 11 million decrease
      • Total cost for native forestry operations                                                $116 million (down from $128 million)
      • Gross revenue per hectare logged                                           $3,235 down from $4,700
      • Gross cost per hectare logged                                                    $3,715 down from $5,371
      • Net loss per hectare logged                                                        $480 per hectare – down from $671

B.      Plantations

  • Total amount of plantations                                                        0.39 million hectares
  • Total area of plantations harvested                                         13, 527 down from 14,024 hectares

A 497 hectare decrease

  • Total revenue for plantation operations                                                $204 million up from $198 million
    • $6 million increase
    • Total cost for plantation operations                                         (170 million) – up from ($166 million)
      • $4 million increased cost
      • Gross revenue per hectare plantations logged                   $15,080 up from $14,118
      • Net profit loss per hectare plantations logged                    $2,513 up from $2,281

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