On last week’s International Day of Forests Dailan Pugh, President of NEFA (the North East Forests Alliance), called on the NSW and Federal Governments to act immediately to better protect our forests because they are so vital to the well-being of humanity as well as to other life forms.
He said, “Forests improve our health, generate rainfall, cool the land, regulate streamflows, sequester and store carbon, reduce flood risk by storing water and slowing flows, reduce landslips by reinforcing soils, and support most of our biodiversity.”
He pointed to the recent warning by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that many forests have been severely affected by climate heating, with many forest ecosystems likely to collapse if heating exceeds 1.5°C for too long.
While reducing climate heating requires urgent and effective action to limit carbon emissions, our forests also have a vital role as they remove existing carbon from the earth’s atmosphere.
Along with many other conservationists Mr Pugh and NEFA have been campaigning for the cessation of public native forests logging in NSW as a way of turning around both the accelerating climate and biodiversity crises we are facing.
Following Mr Pugh’s pleas for urgent forest action, the North Coast Environment Council’s (NCEC) Susie Russell commented on the independent inquiry into the floods. While welcoming it, she stated that its findings, like those of the earlier bushfire inquiry, might not all be acted on.
Furthermore she added, “It shouldn’t need much investigation to reveal that the catastrophic north coast floods resulted from the compounding influences of: decades of logging and clearing in the upper catchment and along the gullies, creeks and rivers; rising greenhouse emissions leading to rising global temperatures, particularly ocean temperatures and thus massive evaporation leading to the ‘rain bomb’ event; and the failure of engineering solutions.”
“Without a widespread well-funded Total Catchment Management plan that stops the ongoing destruction and begins a serious program of catchment repair, this disaster will be repeated all too soon,” Ms Russell predicted.
- Leonie Blain
Published in the "Voices for the Earth" column in The Clarence Valley Independent , March 30, 2022.