Thursday 22 June 2023


According to the official corporate ‘blurb’, our state forest manager, Forestry Corporation (FC), claims, among other things, to produce sustainable hardwood timber from native forests.

This message has long been projected by the industry, but what does it really mean by “sustainable”? Certainly, their hardwood operations in state forests fail to sustain biodiversity, despite their being responsible for managing a million hectares of NSW’s state forests for conservation.

The term managing in this case is fairly loose, and essentially means they no longer plan to log those forests. There is no physical management of any note, such as weed or feral animal control, so much of that million-hectare estate is currently clogged with exotic weeds.

Is the hardwood division economically sustainable? Again, with that division recording multi-million-dollar losses annually for the last 20 years, the answer again has to be no.

Is the quantity of timber supplied sustainable? In that respect the industry’s record over the past 230 years is abysmal. It took only 50 years to drive the majestic Red Cedar to virtual extinction, then another 50 years to do likewise to the iconic Hoop Pine, using them for box wood, and they were only saved from further exploitation by the development of cardboard cartons and plastic crates.

 At Gibberagee State Forest, where the government is currently allowing FC to log koala feed trees by the hundreds, the harvest plan’s estimated yield makes for interesting reading.

 From the 325 hectares of available forest, FC expects to harvest a mere 1,118m³ of high-quality large sawlogs; 956m³ of high-quality small sawlogs, and  31m³ of “poles, piles, and girders. However, by far the largest component of the expected yield is 1,388m³ described as “low-quality salvage”. I imagine that’s wood which is only good for woodchip or burning to generate electricity.

Over the decades log sizes have progressively decreased and for small logs today, 15cm diameter at the small end, less than 30% of that wood is salvaged.

 Native forest logging has never been sustainable, and it’s time to put an end to it.


-        John Edwards

Published in the "Voices for the Earth" column in The Clarence Valley Independent  21st June 2023 under the title "Unsustainable Wood".


Saturday 3 June 2023


North East Forests Alliance Media Release

May 28 2023

The North East Forest Alliance is calling on upon the NSW and Commonwealth Environment Ministers to urgently intervene to protect the most important Koala habitat identified by their governments, after an assessment of the Forestry Corporation’s 12 month Plan of Logging Operations for the NSW north coast found they include 41,000 ha of Nationally Important Koala Areas and 2,700 ha of Koala Hubs.

Both Governments have undertaken assessments to identify the most important Koala habitat for protection, and yet they have allowed the Forestry Corporation to go on logging these habitats without any changes to the inadequate 2018 logging rules, even in areas where Koalas were decimated by the 2019/20 wildfires, NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh said.

“If our governments were genuine about saving north coast Koalas then they would immediately protect the 234,000 ha of Nationally Important Koala Areas and 15,000 ha of koala hubs they identified on State forests” Mr. Pugh said.

In accordance with its National Recovery Plan, in 2021 the Commonwealth identified Nationally Important Koala Areas “as priority koala habitat for incorporation into state protected areas”. On the north coast 233,945 ha (23.6%) of Nationally Important Koala Areas occur on State forests.

At the request of the NSW Chief Scientist, in 2017 the Office of Environment and Heritage analysed Koala records "to delineate highly significant local scale areas of koala occupancy currently known for protection". On the north coast 15,318 ha (24.4%) of Koala Hubs occur on State forests.

NEFA’s report Logging Koalas to Extinction compared these identified priority areas with the Forestry Corporation’s May 2023 12 months Plan of Operations for logging, to quantify how much of this most important mapped Koala habitat is now being logged.  

“The Forestry Corporation’s 12 month Plan of Operations contains 40,803 ha of Nationally Important Koala Areas, with 9,634 ha actively being logged today.

“To add to the problem, 16,855 ha (41%) of this nationally significant habitat was burnt in the 2019/20 wildfires, so the resident Koalas are already severely depleted.

“The Forestry Corporation’s 12 month Plan of Operations contains 2,716 ha of Koala Hubs, with 528 ha in compartments actively being logged right now.

“The Governments are spending hundreds of millions to protect bits and pieces of Koala habitat, and plant seedling feed trees, on private lands.

“On public lands they spend tens of millions each year to subsidise logging of thousands of hectares of Koala habitat while cutting down tens of thousands of the mature feed trees they need for food and shelter” Mr Pugh said.