MEDIA RELEASE 21/8/2012
The North East Forest Alliance has written to the Ministers for Environment and Primary Industries asking them again to intervene to stop logging in areas of high use Koala feed trees in another part of Royal Camp State Forest until independent surveys are conducted to identify and protect Koala High Use Areas.
Royal Camp State Forest is 16 kilometres south-west of Casino.
Spokesperson for NEFA, Dailan Pugh, said that a Sunday inspection of areas where logging resumed in Royal Camp State Forest revealed that Forests NSW are still failing to undertake the required thorough searches for Koala scats to identify high use trees and thus Koala High Use Areas.
“We thoroughly searched over 100 potential Koala feed trees and stumps for Koala faecal scats and saw no evidence that anyone else had previously searched in the long grass, leaves and bark around the bases of these trees.
“We found 17 trees and 3 stumps with Koala scats under them. Six trees had more than 20 scats beneath them and so qualify as high use Koala feed trees. These are the trees that Forests NSW are required to identify and undertake detailed surveys around. This is the only way to identify Koala High Use Areas before they are logged. We found a Koala High Use Area that had recently been logged and consider there were likely to have been more.
“It is totally outrageous that Forests NSW continue to openly flout environmental laws designed to protect Koala High Use Areas.
“It is over 2 weeks since we first reported logging of Koala High Use Areas and it is reprehensible that it is continuing. We appreciate that logging was stopped in one.area. We repeat our request for an independent assessment by a Koala expert to identify all Koala High Use Areas and a guarantee they will be protected” Mr. Pugh said.
NEFA have again written to the Ministers for Environment, Robyn Parker. and Primary Industries, Katrina Hodgkinson, to provide them with an audit of logging operations and to ask them to take urgent action to protect Koala High Use Areas in Royal Camp State Forest.
The NEFA Audit of Royal Camp State Forest concludes:
NEFA have documented what we consider to be breaches of 15 conditions of the Threatened Species Licence, 13 conditions of the Fisheries Licence and 2 IFOA conditions relating to ecologically sustainable forestry. Some of these are major breaches and many are serial offences. It is particularly disconcerting that after logging resumed in Compartment 16 tree marking improved but hollow-bearing trees were still being felled and a failure to thoroughly search for Koala scats prevented high use Koala feed trees and a Koala High Use Area being identified. An effective regulatory response is required.
The NEFA Audit of Royal Camp State Forest is available at http://nefa.org.au/audit/RoyalCamp/NEFA_Audit_Royal_Camp_SF.pdf