Friday 14 June 2013
LOGGING IN CORE KOALA HABITAT IN NORTHERN NSW
In a Media Release on 13th June the North East Forest Alliance (NEFA) called on the Federal Environment Minister, Tony Burke, to intervene to convince the NSW Government to stop logging core Koala habitat, this time in Koreelah State Forest near the juncture of the Border and Great Dividing Ranges, 15 kilometres north-west of Woodenbong.
Spokesperson for NEFA, Dailan Pugh, said a weekend audit of Koreelah State Forest again found a Koala High Use Area that had been logged in contravention of the prescriptions mandated under the North East NSW Regional Forest Agreement, signed by both State and Federal Governments in 2000.
"On Sunday we randomly selected one hectare that had already been logged and thoroughly searched around the 36 Tallowwood and Grey Gum trees and stumps within it for Koala scats. Despite our searching being hampered by logging debris, in one area we located one tree with 30 Koala scats from a mother and baby under it and 3 other sequential trees with Koala scats under them.This area thus qualifies as a Koala High Use Area that should have had a 20m buffer placed around it and been excluded from logging.
"Not one of the trees we searched had been searched by anyone before us, despite Forestry Corporation being legally required to thoroughly search 100 trees within this same area for Koala scats before logging and to protect Koala High Use Areas.
"Based on our random sample it is evident that many other Koala High Use Areas are likely to have been logged, with others about to be logged.
"The North East Forest Alliance undertook a reconnaissanceof Koreelah on 10 May and wrote to Mr Nick Roberts, Chief Executive Officer, Forestry Corporation of NSW, complaining that nobody appeared to be searching for Koala scats.Both he and the supposed Environmental Protection Authority denied our concerns.
"Last August we found 4 Koala High Use Areas in Royal Camp State Forest, one was being actively logged and three were about to be logged.While we convinced the NSW Ministers for the Environment and Primary Industries to intervene to stop logging those areas they allowed it to continue in an adjacent area.When we found another high use area logged the Ministers allowed the logging to continue into yet another Koala High Use Area.
"Koalas have deserted all the logged High Use Areas we have found and the Forestry Corporation is actively targeting the mature feed trees they rely on.
"Given the EPA's failure to take action in relation to Royal Camp almost a year later, it is not surprising that Forestry Corporation continue to log without looking while the responsible NSW Ministers turn a blind eye.
"The Commonwealth relies upon the Regional Forest Agreements to satisfy their obligations to protect the nationally vulnerable Koala.Given that NSW refuses to implement the prescriptions intended to protect core Koala habitat Tony Burke must now intervene to provide the urgently needed protection the Koala deserves," Mr. Pugh said.
Fauna expert, David Milledge, who surveyed the area, stated "My records of Albert's Lyrebird and Koala indicate that the prescriptions that should have been implemented were not. I consider that adequate and seasonally appropriate surveys (including Koala mark-up searches) should be undertaken before further logging occurs".
NEFA's Koreelah State Forest Audit