Conservationists fear koala feed trees at risk

Endangered species
Endangered species

Logging in known Koala and Yellow-bellied Glider habitat in Buckra Bendinni State Forest has put shire conservationists at loggerheads with Forestry Corp NSW.

President of the Nambucca Valley Conservation Association (NVCA) Paula Flack, said the two compartments had been identified as ‘koala use’ compartments with over 100 historical and current koala records as well as a number for the rare Yellow-bellied Glider.

“Despite this, Forestry Corp intend to undertake industrial scale logging, which will see hundreds of their feed trees removed.  This disgraceful continuation of ‘business as usual’ highlights the State Government’s two faced approached to addressing the alarming decline in koala numbers in NSW,” Ms Flack said.

“On the one hand State Government has acknowledged that koala numbers are crashing, with their own Chief Scientist stating koalas have declined in NSW by over 30 per cent since 1990. They are responding by preparing a state-wide koala plan and amending koala state planning laws. 

“While on the other hand, State government proposes to weaken the already inadequate logging rules ‘protecting’ koala habitat during logging operations in public state forests and has introduced new land clearing laws which will seriously impact koalas.

“It is public hoodwinking of the highest order.”

A spokeswoman for Forestry Corp said single tree selection would be used in the compartments.

“This is a routine method where selected individual trees are harvested for timber and a large portion of the harvest area is left standing as wildlife habitat and for future timber production in addition to the 70 per cent of the area that will not be touched,” she said.

“This process is completely transparent – we publish all our plans on our website, we are audited by the Environment Protection Authority and are independently certified to the internationally-recognised Australian Standard for Sustainable Forest Management.

“The areas of State forest available for harvesting make up four per cent of the 23 million hectares of forested land in NSW.”

Ms Flack said NSW land clearing laws were so weak that public native forests were “the one place where there was an opportunity to do the right thing”.