Showing posts with label trees. Show all posts
Showing posts with label trees. Show all posts

Monday, 14 August 2017

More bad news for NSW coastal forests


The Sydney Morning Herald, 7 August 2017:

A draft bill to revamp regulations for native forestry in NSW was slammed as "overly complex" and inequitable, and it failed to address "an inherent conflict of interest" in the oversight of state-owned Forestry Corp.

Documents obtained by Fairfax Media show the NSW Environment Protection Authority found the government's draft native forestry bill unfairly favoured Forestry Corp by remove licensing requirements for the corporation while maintaining them for landholders or industry seeking private native forestry.

It would also leave the corporation with powers unmatched for a state agency, including its protection from third-party challenges such as from environmental groups. 

"The inherent conflict of interest for a corporation in having a concurrency role for negotiating, revoking or changing the terms of their licence ... and the removal of third party legal rights, exists nowhere else in NSW legislation or regulation," the EPA's leaked assessment made last December shows.

Fairfax Media understands the EPA also sought legal advice on how to restrict "very intense" harvesting that the Forestry Corp had conducted for years in areas such as the blackbutt-dominant forests of the NSW mid-north coast.

The Integrated Forestry Operations Approvals (IFOAs) that permitted the logging were, however, found to be poorly worded, curbing the watchdog's ability to take legal action.

Even if it could act, though, the penalties available remain tiny. While other breaches, such as by coal mines, could attract fines of as much as $1 million, most forestry penalties were in the hundreds of dollars.

Many of the sanctions were decades old and although the cabinet had discussed a review of the penalties in 2014 – and agreed on million-dollar fines for forestry impacts on threatened species in late 2015 – it is yet to update them......

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Greed, plain and simple, is killing off NSW koalas and the Berejiklian Coalition Government continues to ignore this vandalism of habit


ABC News, 20 July 2017:

A koala habitat 50 per cent larger than the Royal National Park has been destroyed by logging, according to a new conservation report.

The report titled Clearing Koalas Away by conservationist Dailan Pugh, says more than 23,000 hectares of koala habitat near Coffs Harbour has been "virtually cleared".

"They're hitting them really hard. We're looking at about 40 per cent of koala habitat in state forests," he said.

Mr Pugh, an environmentalist for over 40 years, sourced the forestry data under freedom of information (FOI) legislation, in a bid to measure logging against known koala habitats.

Last year, then-environment minister Mark Speakman admitted "intensive harvesting" on the North Coast was "not consistent" with regulations, and said the Environment Protection Authority was investigating.

An EPA spokesperson declined to answer questions, but said "current rules are over 15 years old and lack clarity in important areas, including intensive harvesting".

Recent studies suggest less than 9,000 koalas survive on the North Coast, a 50 per cent decline in the past 20 years.

Habitat loss is widely acknowledged as a driver of the decline.



Mr Pugh said a sustainable logging method called "single-tree selection" is being misused by Forestry Corporation.

Single-tree selection permits the selective harvest of just 40 per cent of eucalypts trees in a logging zone — leaving 60 per cent of trees as off-limits.

But the off-limits status is temporary, and evidence shows these trees are heavily logged in later operations.

The reports highlights examples like Kerewong State Forest, with photos showing the heavy clearing of a mapped koala habitat.

Echo NetDaily, 13 March 2017:

A representative of the North East Forest Alliance (NEFA) was ejected from a meeting that he called with the Environment Protection Authority at Gibberagee State Forest after it was ‘gatecrashed by the Forestry Corporation’.

NEFA auditor Dailan Pugh said he was invited to Gibberagee by the EPA on Friday (March 10) so that he could show them logging was taking place into what were meant to be exclusion zones around the nationally Endangered Narrow-leaved Melichrus, which only occurs at Gibberagee.

But he was directed to leave by the Forestry Corporation without being allowed to show the EPA anything.

‘A month ago I sent the EPA a complaint after identifying that the Forestry Corporation were refusing to identify the legally required buffers around the Endangered plant Narrow-leaf Melichrus,’ Mr Pugh told Echonetdaily.

He added they were ‘recklessly damaging hollow-bearing and recruitment trees, and logging “unmapped” streams in the immediate catchment of the regionally significant seagrass beds of The Broadwater.’

‘Bryce Gorham of the EPA invited me to come out to the forest last Friday “to accurately identify (on ground identification) of the alleged breach of intrusion into a Melichrus sp.Giberagee exclusion zone”,’ he said.

‘I expected that the EPA would only invite me if they had the authority to do so.

‘The EPA were late, so while waiting I looked around, finding two more places where logging had extended into what were meant to be 50m exclusion zones around Narrow-leaf Melichrus, in one case by 22m.

‘When the EPA belatedly arrived they had a Forestry Corporation employee, Jamie Churchill, with them.

‘He told me to leave the forest on the grounds of occupational health and safety. I insisted that I had been invited into the forest by the EPA and that, in the area where we were, logging had finished some three months ago so we were not interfering with an active operation and there were no safety issues.’

Mr Pugh said he told both the EPA and Forestry Corporation that he had just found another legal breach nearby, and asked to at least be able to show it to them.

But, he added, the Forestry Corporation refused ‘and the EPA went along with them’.

‘After driving two hours to get there I was forced to leave without being allowed to show the EPA anything.

‘The EPA should never have invited me if they don’t have the authority to stand up to Forestry Corporation bullying.

* Image of  koala mother and cub from Independent Australia

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

In North-East NSW 'a "reduced survey effort" and the dropping of a longstanding rule applying 20 metre buffers to "high-use" areas' is being proposed. How much more can a koala bear?


PHOTO: Australia Zoo in The Age

The Forestry Corporation of NSW (originally the Forestry Commission formed by an act of the NSW Parliament) is the largest manager of commercial native and plantation forests in New South Wales.

Not content with revenue of $339 million and underlying profit after tax of $36 million in 2015-16 (latest annual report) it wants to increase its harvesting range and is coming after quality koala habitat on the NSW North Coast.

ABC News, 3 June 2017:

Many of Australia's most iconic marsupials will lose protection from logging bulldozers, under a radical overhaul proposed in secret Forestry Corporation documents.

The documents, obtained by the ABC, propose the elimination of long-standing threatened species protections, such as site-survey rules, in many NSW state forests.

Intense clearing in northern regions, and increased access to protected stream-banks across the state are other major changes.

Environmentalists say if current rules are trashed, protected marsupials including koalas, wombats, quolls, and gliders will be stealthily eliminated.

"If you don't look, you don't find and if you don't find you don't protect," said conservationist Dailan Pugh, from the North-East Forest Alliance.

The conditions are part of new forestry agreements — known as Integrated Forestry Operations Approvals (IOFA) — and cover four major operational areas across the state. Final details are expected to be announced later this year.

Wombats, quolls, koalas face loss of exclusion zones


Many iconic marsupials face additional changes in the draft proposals.

The highly endangered spotted-tail quoll faces a 70 per cent reduction of no-logging zones around breeding dens — reduced from 12 hectares to 3.5 hectares.

Wombats, another protected species, are geographically protected by a line north of the Oxley Highway, requiring a 20 metre logging exclusion zone around burrows.

But Forestry Corporation negotiators want to redraw that protective line further north to Waterfall Way — eliminating the 20 metre exclusion in a vast logging zone between Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie.

Mr Pugh said that would lead to "more wombats being buried alive, as their burrows are collapsed by machinery and falling trees".

He said environmental regulators, such as the EPA, should address declining wombat numbers by expanding current protections state-wide.

For koalas in north-east NSW, Forestry Corporation proposes a "reduced survey effort" and the dropping of a longstanding rule applying 20 metre buffers to "high-use" areas.

It says future protections are "to be developed" utilising new models to retain habitat.

Cost savings if animal surveys dropped

Currently, prior to harvest, logging companies must survey for 87 vulnerable animals, many already facing threat of extinction.

Where an animal habitat is found, operators then implement site protections such as exclusion zones before logging is approved……


The author cites "significant cost saving" as a benefit of making the change.

But former Forestry scientist Robert Kooyman worried relaxing the rules around surveys would harm up to 49 animal species.

"Forest management requires that you know what it is you are managing," he said.

"While historic records provide an indication of habitat use, they are inevitably incomplete, do not reflect the dynamics of forests, and many animal species are highly mobile within their range and habitats, and follow resources."……

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Australia has the highest rate of land clearing in the developed world, according to the Dept. of Intergenerational Theft




Australia has a land mass of 149,50,000 km2 or est. 14.94 billion hectares.

According to the FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS, GLOBAL FOREST RESOURCES ASSESSMENT 2015 the following figures are fact:

In 2015 only 16.2  per cent of Australia’s land mass was forest and another 32.7 per cent had another form of tree cover.

There are now only 5 million hectares of primary forest remaining in this country and we are losing an est. 201,600 hectares of this type of forest each year, principally due to commercial logging.

Mangroves now cover only 913,000 hectares of coastal land.

Introduced species tree cover, presumably for commercial forestry and orchards, totalled 1.02 million hectares in 2015.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

The unhappiness over plans to remove Maclean's most prominent trees continues


McLachlan Park, Maclean, November 2014

Letter to the editor in The Daily Examiner 12 November 2014:

Keep the camphors

I HAVE followed the comments about the removal of the camphor laurel trees within the Clarence Valley Council area with great interest.

I am neither a "greenie" nor a "tree hugger," but I think that going to the extreme and wanting to remove all the trees mentioned is a bit radical.

If the people or persons concerned within the Council, and the general public would only step back and view the situation before engaging the chainsaws, they would see that the "old" camphor laurel trees have been around longer than most of them.

If these people were observant enough, they would see that most of the dairy farms had some of these trees as shade for the cattle, horse and farm hands.

Observation number 1: There are very few, if any, seedlings of this particular variety of camphor laurel growing in close proximity. Check the area adjacent to the Boulevard and see for yourself.

Observation number 2: The variety in the Bangalow area is of a different growth habit, namely tall, multi-trunked with larger dark green foliage and tends to produce very readily from seed. Some of these have found their way to the Lower Clarence area, and some have been removed.

So, I say to Council, before you remove any large camphor laurel trees from within the council area, check the variety first, and also send your relevant personnel to a plant identification course.

To think that Port Jackson figs, for one, have been suggested as replacement trees for the Boulevard is absolutely horrendous, to say the least.

Ficus trees in general have very invasive root systems, and would undermine the levy wall as well as up lifting the bitumen street. So once again, Council and councillors, think long and hard about this situation.

It seems that the Council made a mistake in filling the park in the first place and now want to beautify the park at ratepayers' expense.

If the reason for the expensive facelift of the park is for additional parking, then why doesn't the Council purchase the empty block across the street and utilise that as a car park.

Probably wouldn't cost as much as a makeover.

Ken Woods
Maclean