The Greens have long held that areas of high wilderness value, rainforest, ‘old growth’ forests, town water catchments and habitat of threatened species should be fully protected.

David Shoebridge, Carol, PL,  3 Mar 15 136 (800x536)Recent reports have shown that even the current weak protections are breached systematically by logging operators. State Forests, rather than being managed appropriately and providing important protections for biodiversity, are instead being harvested at unsustainable rates and in many cases are being selectively harvested to change them from mixed forest to plantations of more desirable wood.

In many forests that David has visited, including the unique Bermagui State Forest on the South Coast, loggers argue that they preserve the “visual amenity” of the forest by leaving buffer zones by the sides of roads which are not cut down. Retaining the outermost trees and razing everything inside forests is not a satisfactory model for forest management, any more than leaving the facades of buildings whilst knocking down the rest of the walls would be.

Koala empty habitatIn other forests in NSW, for instance those on the mid north coast, we have received reports of clear-fell logging and other operations in breach of local forestry contracts. The Regional Forest Agreements that cover these forests allow loggers to extract timber far exceeding the wood volumes that can be sustainably provided by native forests. In some areas there are estimates that over 50 acres a day are being cleared.

It is estimated that the South East Fibre Exports chip mill at Eden in NSW will export one million tonnes of woodchips this year mainly to Japan to be made into paper. Most of this wood comes from irreplaceable native forests in NSW rather than the existing hardwood plantations. This process needs to be urgently phased out.

Major shifts in NSW forest policy are urgently required in order to achieve the protection of forest and wilderness resources, ecologically sustainable forest management and resolutions to ongoing community conflict. These forests are part of our shared natural heritage and deserve urgent protection.

Our leaflet about the impact forestry operations have on native animals in NSW is available for download here: Forestry and Animals

The Greens are committed to protecting our forests for the future, see our full Forestry package here.

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