In a recent media release the North East Forest Alliance (NEFA) has called on the NSW Government to act urgently to identify and protect the remaining Koala colonies that are in public forests and are threatened by logging. This follows the publication of a recent study by the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) which showed that koalas had a preference for larger trees and more mature forests. It also showed that Koala populations were collapsing in recently logged areas.
NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh said: "The Government now has the evidence that logging is bad for Koalas and needs to take immediate action to identify and protect the remaining koala colonies that are in public forests threatened by logging. Every day that the Forestry Corporation is allowed to go on logging Koala's preferred feed trees brings them closer to extinction. It has to stop now. We call on Premier Mike Baird to urgently intervene to save NSW's Koalas."
The study assessed the Koala population in four North Coast State Forests - Royal Camp, Carwong, Clouds Creek and Maria River. Where there had been limited recent logging in Royal Camp and Carwong there was high Koala occupancy and Koala numbers were increasing. In the other two forests heavy logging and burning of what should have been high quality Koala habitat has resulted in low Koala occupancy and the numbers appear to be declining.
There is serious concern about the long-term future of Koalas in NSW and South-Eastern Queensland. The NSW Government listed them as vulnerable in the 1990s and in 2012 the federal Government listed them as vulnerable in NSW and SE Queensland. Despite this, Koala habitat continues to be degraded or cleared in state forests and elsewhere. This habitat loss is one of the major threats to the survival of this species.
In response to the NEFA media release the EPA accused NEFA of making misleading statements about the study - an accusation which Dailan Pugh has roundly rejected.
"I am simply emphasizing the findings that they would rather ignore.
They should be alarmed, as their findings show that their current
logging prescriptions are not working, " he said.
"This as a cover-up of the worst kind, the EPA are trying to sweep their own evidence under the carpet."