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Bellingen Environment Centre calls for ‘stop to mayhem’ at Lower Bucca State Forest.

Environmentalists have called for an immediate stop work in the Lower Bucca Forest.

They have also called for the activation of the Myrtle Rust Action Plan emergency rescue provisions following the first week of logging under the new coastal logging rules in an unburnt remnant of Lower Bucca State forest which they argue has caused mayhem in the forest.

Where the Lower Bucca Forest is

“The first week’s logging in the forest has destroyed core koala habitat and critically endangered and endangered plant species in a valuable forest remnant that remained unburnt in the recent widespread  fires,” stated Ashley Love from the Bellingen Environment Centre.

The logging in Lower Bucca State Forest commenced in a section of forest recognised as high quality koala habitat that contains a high proportion of Tallowwood  and Grey Gum trees, preferred food trees for koalas.

“The Lower Bucca State Forest is the core habitat of one of the koala populations identified in the proposed Great Koala National Park.  The koala habitat values of the forest have  also been confirmed by a range of Government studies.” said the BEC spokesperson.

It is clear that the logging strategy is to remove the majority of suitable large and moderate sized  Tallowwood (below) and Grey Gum trees for sawlogs and to push over or damage most of the  remaining trees  to create a slash bed  for later burning. 

National Trust - Tallowwood (Eucalyptus microcorys)
A Tallowwood

The retention exclusively of Blackbutt for seed trees will  produce a regrowth forest that is far  less suited to koalas.

The preference for a future  Blackbutt dominated forest is clearly stated in the Harvest Plan for the Lower Bucca State Forest which states;

“… the objective is to implement a regeneration harvesting treatment to establish a new vigorous blackbutt stand”

It is quite obvious that the removal and damage of the Tallowwood and Grey Gum component of the forest through the logging operation is far more damaging to the habitat for koalas than the retention of a few small, scattered  and often damaged habitat trees.

Surveys by environmentalists at the end of the first weeks logging searching a small  patch of the forest also  recorded 15 specimens of the critically endangered Scrub Turpentine (Rhodamnia rubescens)  following.At  least six of the plants, which are a priority for emergency rescue  provisions of the Myrtle Rust Action Plan, had been destroyed or damaged

“Scrub turpentine is highly susceptible to the damaging Myrtle Rust, an introduced fungus, and the trees and shrubs in Lower Bucca State Forest were showing  signs of  strong recovery from  earlier infection . Those trees that may survive the logging onslaught are potentially exposed to  risk of  re-infection, reinforcing the call for a stop work  to assess and mitigate the damage, salvage valuable plant material  and to ensure further plants were not at risk”. said Ashley Love

The Forestry Corporations pre-logging surveys- those few that remain under the new Integrated forestry operations approvals (IFOA) logging rules, are  from the assessment of  this first operation clearly inadequate and need urgent review claimed the Bellingen Environment Centre.

“As  well as missing the critically endangered Scrub Turpentine The Forestry Corporations pre-logging surveys also  failed to locate a range of endangered species including the rusty plumb (Niemeyera whitei)  and slender marsdenia ( Marsdenia longiloba). The pre-logging surveys are like doing a survey for bull ants from the back of a moving truck – not very effective,” said the Bellingen Environment Centre spokesperson.

This early evidence clearly indicates that far more of the threatened species will be missed than sighted  added Mr Love.

“The new IFOA logging rules have dismally failed at the first log dump,”  Ashley Love said..

“After two unsuccessful requests to the Forestry Corporation to stop work, we are calling on the Hon Matt Kean Minister for Energy and Environment implement a stop work order on logging operations in the Lower Bucca State Forest under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 until the wide range of issues we have raised can be fully reviewed.” said Mr Love.

The above is a Wednesday 1 April 2020 Press Release from the Bellingen Environment Centre.

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For a broader story on logging of unburnt NSW State Forests see; https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/mar/15/state-mps-dismayed-at-nsw-forestry-logging-unburnt-habitat-after-bushfires

2 Comments

  1. Graeme Sheehan

    While everyone is preoccupied with the coronavirus, what better time than this to reek havoc in koala habitat, so soon after koala populations were decimated by the bushfires?

    Appears to be typical LNP/ Forest Corp. policy. Situation normal and business as usual.

  2. Jonathan Cassell

    Forestry Corporation are making a hell of a mess in our forests.
    They fail to undertake pre-logging survey’s that identify the animals or plants that live alongside the timber they want.
    So our forests and the animals, and plants they don’t care about, are pushed to the edge of extinction because of short term economic revenue.
    This insanity is permitted by the Nationals!

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