Politics, Science/Environment

Imminent logging of Myrtle State Forest a “hidden epidemic” says forest action group

This week as New South Wales eased its Coronavirus restrictions, 10 concerned community members went out to Myrtle State Forest located just an hour south of Casino in Northern NSW.

Logging is planned to commence in this forest in the coming weeks. On 3 March 2020 the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) approved the Forestry Corporation to undertake logging of burnt Koala habitat in three State Forests on the Richmond River lowlands. 

Logging of fire damaged koala forest should stop says the North East Forest Alliance. Photo; Grafton Examiner

“This is the hidden epidemic” says Ruth Rosenhek, a psychotherapist and environmental activist. “These forests have already been hit hard by decades of logging, drought and more recently the bushfires which devastated 83% of the high quality Koala habitat across the Banyabba koala population with estimates of 80-90% of Koalas being lost from burnt forests

And yet still Forestry Corporation wants to further decimate these forests spelling the utter demise of residents of these fragile ecosystems such as the koalas, squirrel gliders and phascogales. 

While we stayed carefully social-distanced, we most certainly did not remain at arm’s length from the trees both burnt out and still standing as we looked for evidence of the now ‘vulnerable’ listed NSW koalas. In a brief look we found Koala scratches on a number of trees, showing that at least some Koalas had survived the fires. We will be returning for a better look.

How tragic that while citizens of our communities keep themselves safe within our homes and dutifully follow governmental regulations, there is no proper moratorium on the logging of these precious remaining public native forests. At the very least given the failure to account for the landscape scale impacts of recent forest on the Koala population, a full assessment of the damages of the fires needs to be conducted before any further activities. 

However, like an immune system that can handle no more, these lowland Spotted Gum forests need rest, rain, and care. With most Koalas killed they need time to recover and rebuild their populations, not a second wave to take out the survivors.

Map of Myrtle State Forest in New South Wales - Bonzle Digital ...
A map of the Myrtle State Forest area.

The group held banners saying “Forests4Ever” as they chanted ‘Enough is Enough!’

The North East Forest Alliance (NEFA) urges the EPA to immediately withdraw their approvals for logging of Koala habitat in Bungawalbin, Doubleduke and Myrtle State Forests and do due-diligence by assessing the landscape impacts of the fires on Koalas. As shown by this example, Ms Rosenhek argues that “a moratorium is needed on further logging of populations of all species significantly affected by the fires until surveys are undertaken to assess their vulnerability”.

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The above is a Press Release from the North East Forest Alliance – Sunday 17 May 2020.

2 Comments

  1. Another group of ‘voices crying in the’ NSW State Government and multinational timber corporation sponsored Forestry Corporation ‘wilderness’!
    Dep. Premier Barilaro recently wrote a response to me re the call for a moratorium on all logging in Native forest until an adequate and accurate survey of wildlife impacts has been carried out.
    He had the hide to claim that renewed logging was required to meet the demand for construction timber for re-building after the devastating fires. The construction industry is the first to tell you that nearly all their timber comes from plantations and there is no reason why alternative sources couldn’t be used for power poles and bridge timbers. eg: native hardwood plantations for one!
    The Hon John B. also had the hide to suggest logging is strictly controlled with the assistance of ‘panels of scientists’ to ensure all wildlife and threatened species ‘thrive’, and this has been carried out successfully for over the last 100 years.
    Sadly, the EPA seems to be a ‘toothless tiger’ which only acts occasionally and nearly always after the damage has been done.
    If ever there was the need for a Royal Commission or at least Parliamentary Inquiry into logging in State Forests in NSW now is it!

  2. After the devastation of the fires the country and world cried for the billions of animals that had perished.
    So what does our governments do but allow logging again and what’s worse in areas that are known for koalas and other wildlife. They are devoid of compassion and respect for our earth and it’s wildlife.

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