David save Tanja ForestIn a significant win for forests, and as a direct result of years of campaigning by forest protectors, 12,000 hectares of South Coast Forests in Murrah, Mumballa and Tanja State Forests are to be declared Flora reserves today.

The conservation of these forests means some of the last identified koala habitat in the South East Forests will be protected from logging. While the declaration of Flora Reserve provides some real protection under the Forestry Act, it does not provide the full protection required from mining, hunting and private development that should be granted to these forests under the National Parks Act.

Greens MP and Forestry Spokesperson David Shoebridge said:

“The South East Forests are precious and flora reserves are a significant step to help ensuring their ongoing protection for the future.

“Let’s be clear about this, this is a real win for nature and this crucial koala habitat in the South East Forests and it has only come about because of the long term activism of forest protectors.

“Unfortunately the only money on the table to manage this transition is $2.5 million to the logging industry, with no additional funding being provided to manage these new beautiful reserves.

“It’s a fact that logging native state forests not only loses the state government money, but continues two centuries of unsustainable clearing of forests in this State.

“The Tanja, Mumbulla and Murrah State Forests are worth far more to the community standing than logged, and this is especially so given they contain some of the last identified koala colonies in the South East.

“There are far more jobs, and far more economic opportunities from activities such as tourism, forest adventure sports and regional walking trails, that can happen with intact forests, than the short term loss making from cutting them down.

David and Lee in SE Forest“Credit needs to be given for this decision to the hard work of years of on the ground forestry campaigning, as well as both Ministers who have today recognized the value of these forests.

“This is a good first step, but only a first step. What is needed is a state wide commitment to end loss making native forest operations in all state forests and instead manage our forest reserves for long term environmental and economic benefits,” Mr Shoebridge said