New South Wales features a 26.2 million hectares of native forest. These are highly diverse, including subtropical forests in the north-east and temperate eucalpyt forests in the south-east. These forests are under threat from ongoing industrial scale logging, with over three-quarters of the state’s native forest available for logging, that’s approximately 20 million hectares . A recent audit of the upper north-eastern forests showed that logging operations were being conducted in endangered ecological communities, key threatened fauna habitat and water catchment areas.
Unsustainable logging of native forests in New South Wales is placing greater risk of extinction on the remaining koala populations of coastal NSW.The Australian Senate has called for much stronger protection measures for the koala, while the Federal Government recently listed koalas as a vulnerable species in Queensland, the Australian Capital Territory and New South Wales. The Federal listing in the three nominated states offers a further administrative layer of protection to the species. However, where logging operations are conducted under the Regional Forest Agreements (RFA’s), the Federal listing will have no meaningful effect.
Australia’s first woodchip mill began operations in 1968, since then these southern forests of NSW have been progressively stripped and exported at a loss. About 450,000 hectares of the forests in this region remain open for industrial logging. Generally over 90% of the trees logged here get woodchipped. Just take a Google Map tour along Wallagaraugh Trail to get a gist of the terminal degradation thanks to woodchip logging.
There is a long history of grassroots action in New South Wales. South East Forest Rescue was born in the iconic Badja State Forests in 2001, as a result of the signing of the Regional Forest Agreements. Since then, the group has racked up over 100 actions, ranging from blockade ‘dig-ins’ lasting up to 9 months, to banners unfurled off Parliament House in Canberra. Logging auditing , breach reporting, and Land & Environment court actions are also essential campaigning tools in the fight to protect the forests of NSW.
One of the direct action highlights was a week-long concerted “black-wallabying” campaign in the last compartment ever to feel the sting of a chainsaw in the majestic Monga forest, and stopping an Aboriginal Place (Mumbulla/Biamanga) being illegally logged.
Mumbulla Mountain –
Traditional Owner in koala suit being arrested for standing next to a tree
Tripod stopping logging at Mumbulla