Bellingen Environment Center accuses State Forestry of endangering Koalas in Gladstone Forest

Press Release – 9-2-2018.

The Forestry Corporation and Premier Berejiklian have ignored pleas to protect the mother and joey koala, known to be in an area of Gladstone State Forest scheduled for logging says the Bellingen Environment Centre.

Logging of their habitat has started this week and the NSW Forestry Corporation has closed the forest so it can all be done away from public scrutiny.

“We provided Forestry Corporation with evidence of the koalas” the centre spokesperson said . “The number of scats (koala poo pellets) found in the area was more than any of us had ever seen in one location. Their response is to create a ”koala high use buffer’ (2 ha). The problem is, there is no high use area being buffered and there is no provision under the logging rules for a ‘koala high use buffer’. They are making it up as usual, trying to give the impression they are doing something, but in reality doing nothing.”

A female koala has a home range of about 10 hectares. There are favourite trees that she goes to time and again. Even if logging leaves an area of only 2 hectares , they’ll be surrounded by devastation, and then the whole area will be burnt.

“It’s like if you came out of your house and every other house as far as the eye can see, except the neighbours on either side, had been bulldozed. No shops, no schools, no services… how do you think you’d manage? Well that is what is planned for Gladstone’s koalas.” said the BEC

“Forestry Corporation’s logging is clearly a significant reason koala populations on the north coast are in rapid decline.” Said Susie Russell form The North Coast Environment council

Last year a review by the North East Forest Alliance of all current logging operations in north-east NSW  identified that only 1.2 ha was specifically set aside for protection of koalas, in Koala High Use Areas, out of the 22,586 ha of north-east NSW’s public lands subject to logging operations.” Ms Russell added.

With such a small area set aside  for koalas in State Forests, it is evident that something is very wrong with the assessment and protection of koala habitat on state forest

Meanwhile the Environment Minister does nothing, and the Environment Protection Authority is intent on introducing new logging rules that allow Forestry Corporation to do even less for koalas… if that is possible.

Environment groups are considering a further response to the commencement of logging operations said the BEC spokesperson.

 

Picture by Bruce Thomas, Sydney Morning Herald – 15-3-2015.     The Gladstone State Forest has been the subject of protests in the recent past. Residents protest aerial weed spraying: Susan Weil with daughters Sahara and Sassafras.

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Acting Editor’s comment;  It would appear that the Koala park proposal is a story that is becoming one of intense interest and scrutiny on the Coffs Coast.  It is our intention over the coming weeks to highlight the background history behind this proposal – with an aim to giving the views of as many of the stakeholders as possible. 

In the meantime we would like to hear your thoughts, for, against or even ‘in-between’ on this ‘hot button issue’.  Just use the comments box below this and other Koala Park/Forestry stories on Coffs Coast Outlook’s website.  And if what you say is not libelous we will publish.

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