Thursday, 5 March 2020

The Future Eaters have re-commenced logging in forests affected by the 2019-20 mega bushfires

Styx River State Forest, in the New England Tablelands region of New South Wales, covers 16,000 hectares. 

The Brisbane Times reported on 26 February 2020:

Conservation efforts in NSW to stop more species becoming extinct in the wake of this season's unparalleled bushfires require more than half a billion dollars over the coming four years. 

Emergency intervention to save as many as 30 endangered species alone needs $15 million this year and $35 million in both the 2021-22 and 2022-23 fiscal years, according to a spreadsheet circulating among state government agencies and obtained by the Sun-Herald. 

A burnt area of the Styx River State Forest in northern NSW.Logging has resumed in the area despite most of the region being burnt.
The leaked requests come as Forestry Corporation resumed logging in unburnt refuges in the Styx River State Forest despite risks to species including nationally endangered Hastings River mice.....

While officials wrangle over conservation funding, industrial-scale logging has resumed in fire-hit regions such as the Styx River, inland from Coffs Harbour on the NSW north coast. 

Chris Gambian, chief executive of the Nature Conservation Council, said the logging would have "immensely negative ecological impacts" given so little of the Styx River forest was unburnt. An endangered Hastings River mouse, from a photograph taken in January 2018. 

“The fires mean that whatever we thought before about wildlife and species has to be scrapped and reassessed," Mr Gambian said, adding he had asked the Environment Protection Authority to issue a statewide stop-work order for logging in native forests state until the effects of the fires are known. 

“Logging remnant forests after such a disaster is like sending a demolition crew in to conduct a cyclone recovery operation," he said. "It is hard to imagine a more harmful intervention." 

Mr Gambian noted the government's own analysis indicated at least 32 threatened animal species alone had lost at least 30 per cent of their habitat due to fires, and were now "teetering on the brink".....

A Forestry Corporation spokeswoman said the majority of production crews on the north coast had moved from native forests to hardwood timber plantations after the fires. 

"A small number of selective harvesting operations that commenced prior to the fires have continued under the strict regulations governing native forestry in NSW," she said, adding that crews in the Styx River State Forest were "finalising work in this location" and will move some harvesting operations into fire-affected forests "in the near future".....

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