Local forests could get the chop

NIGHTCAP National Park and parts of Whian Whian, Goonengerry, Bungawalbin and Wollumbin State Conservation Areas are just some of the local forests that could be opened up for logging as a result of a current timber resource review by the NSW Government.

According to North East Forest Alliance spokesperson Dailan Pugh, the NSW Forest Products Association (FPA) has been lobbying the government to open up over a million hectares of national parks in north-east NSW for logging by timber companies.

"The timber industry has been deliberately logging well in excess of the identified sustainable yield for the past 14 years and now they have almost used up the large sawlog resource in state forests, they want to log our national parks," Mr Pugh said.

"There are forest reviews underway at the moment in parliament claimed to be 'Cabinet in Confidence' which are being undertaken secretly by bureaucrats. These inquiries are due for completion either this month or in early January and the government is not letting environment groups be involved in the process, so we don't know which national parks or what volumes of timber are being considered for logging."

In its submission to the inquiry, the Forests Products Association identified 43 national parks and other conservation reserves in north-east NSW for initial revocation, stating that they also wanted whatever other reserves are necessary to maintain current yields in the long term.

"In response to a question from the chair of the Public Land Use Inquiry as to what areas of North Coast reserves they wanted for logging, Russell Ainley, executive director NSW Forest Products Association, identified 'a little more than one million hectares'," Mr Pugh said.

"The FPA is also seeking initial removal of protection over 20,000 hectares of old-growth forest in State Forests, though it is after much more than this in the future. They are also asking for major wind-backs in environment prescriptions so that they can log more heavily than current rules allow.

"The national parks proposed for revocation by the FPA include forests identified as qualifying for World Heritage listing, areas of core koala habitat, and irreplaceable stands of old-growth forest, such as those at Chaelundi described by Justice Stein as 'a veritable forest-dependent zoo, probably unparalleled in south-eastern Australia'."

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