In response to Markets for Change complaint about Koala habitat at Boambee being logged for Harvey Normans’ flooring, NEFA put out the following press release highlighting the grossly inadequate protection provided to Koala habitat when logging and the failure of the certification body JAZ-ANZ to act on complaints about the Australian Forestry Standard almost a year and a half ago. Key documents are: Koala letter to Tony Burke, EDO_110208 Letter to JASANZ, Audit_UNE_Forests_Feb2011
MEDIA RELEASE 3/7/2012
The North East Forest Alliance says its audits of Forests NSWs logging operations have shown that time and again nothing is being done to protect Koala habitat on public land.
NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh said “The principal problem is that Forests NSW are only required to protect Koala habitat if they find high numbers of Koala scats (faecal pellets) during pre-logging mark-up surveys. The problems are that the thresholds for defining Koala habitat are way too high and that foresters often do not undertake the necessary pre-logging mark-up surveys.
“Even in areas where there is abundant evidence of Koalas, if Forests NSW don’t look for scats there is no trigger for Koala habitat to be protected.
“At Girard State Forest, where the obvious presence of Koalas was not admitted, we found a mother Koala with a baby on its back in a few trees left on the edge of a heavily logged area. Its nursery had been trashed.
“Forests NSW have proven that they often do nothing to protect Koala habitat. The result is that Koalas are becoming rare in forests where they were once common. They are being managed to extinction.
“What is needed is an independent assessment to identify core Koala habitat across public forests and for this to be protected from logging. Until this is done logging must immediately stop in likely Koala habitat if they are to be saved from extinction”, Mr. Pugh said
”Harvey Norman claims its Naturally Australian flooring products are sourced from sustainably managed forests because they are certified under the Australian Forestry Standards, is patently false as public forests in north-east NSW are being intentionally logged at a grossly unsustainable rate.
“Not only are Koalas not being protected but their trees are being cut down at many times the rate it takes them to grow back”, Mr. Pugh said.
The Environmental Defender’s Office wrote to the Australian accreditation body JAS-ANZ in February 20011, attaching a 128 page compliance audit undertaken by NEFA, and claiming that certification of forest operations as complying with the Australian Forestry Standards should never have been granted in 2006 and should be immediately revoked. They are yet to get a response to the detailed complaints.
After the listing of the Koalas as nationally vulnerable NEFA wrote to the Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke on 16 May 2012 asking the Federal Government, as signatories to the North East Regional Forest Agreement, to intervene to provide meaningful protection for the Koalas during logging. He has not responded.