Showing posts with label Forestry Corporation of NSW. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Forestry Corporation of NSW. Show all posts

Friday, 20 November 2020

The loggers are already planning their new advance on North-East New South Wales


Echo NetDaily, 16 November 2020:



Bungabbee Forest near Bentley under threat from logging. Photo supplied.

Bungabbee Forest sits midway between Lismore, Casino and Kyogle – right near Bentley. Bungabbee is a little known environmental gem of the Northern Rivers.

Bungabbee is home to many threatened species. It forms part of the Mackellar Wildlife Corridor, connecting to the World Heritage Border Ranges. It is an area of outstanding biodiversity value in an extensively cleared landscape.

If this place is so wonderful, why is the  NSW Forestry Corporation are planning to conduct logging here in April 2021?

Twenty-seven threatened species

Twenty-seven threatened species have been previously recorded from this vicinity, including Koalas, Glossy Black Cockatoos, Powerful Owls, Yellow Bellied Gliders, Squirrel Gliders, Greater Gliders. Parma Wallabies and Red-legged Pademelons. As well as the critically endangered Scrub Turpentine, and three endangered flora species: Rainforest Cassia, Tinospora Vine, and Native Jute.

The North East Forest Alliance (NEFA) recently organised a weekend survey by botanists and zoologists that additionally revealed the previously unknown presence of two vulnerable animals – Long-nosed Potoroo and Marbled Frogmouth – and the Critically Endangered Native Guava, along with localities of 175 threatened plants.

NEFA Spokesperson Dailan Pugh said finding a large unknown outlying population of the regionally endemic Marbled Frogmouth is exciting. ‘This is one of only a handful of species that the Forestry Corporation is still required to protect additional habitat for, though in this case there is no requirement to look before they log.

‘Luckily we did.’

Scrub Turpentine and Native Guava unlikely to regenerate

Mr Pugh said that it was particularly disturbing to find significant populations of the Critically Endangered Scrub Turpentine and Native Guava. ‘The very survival of these species is threatened by the introduced fungus Myrtle Rust, they are unlikely to regenerate and now the Forestry Corporation are intending to bulldoze over the survivors.

‘Our results clearly demonstrate the need for pre-logging surveys to identify the presence and locations of threatened species so they can be appropriately protected”

‘More surveys are required to identify other threatened species and their localities.’ 

Mr Pugh said that Bungabbee is of significant recreational value and is utilised by bush walkers, horse riders and mountain bike riders. ‘The proposed rail trail passes within a few kilometres of Bungabee, which would provide a cluster of trails perfect for those seeking more challenging cycling experiences,’ he said.

Renata Phelps has been working with a team of locals to share information and organise future actions. ‘The local community is strongly opposed to the logging and are taking a pro-active stance lobbying against the proposed actions,’ she said.

Residents feel a residual sense of affinity to Bentley

‘Bentley is an area that many Northern Rivers residents feel a residual sense of affinity to, after our iconic community win against CSG drilling in 2014.

‘With an increased emphasis on local tourism post COVID, Bungabbee is far more valuable as a forest, accessible to the public, than as wood chip. We should focus on enhancing the environmental, recreational and tourism potential of this area, not destroy it.

‘Recent bushfires, drought, and land clearing have greatly impacted our region. Now, more than ever before, it is essential we preserved key wildlife habitats such as Bungabbee,’ said Ms Phelps.

A Petition against the logging can be signed online at 

https://www.change.org/SaveBungabbeeForest 

or in person at the Lismore Environment Centre, Goolmangar and Cawongla Stores, Rock Valley Post Office, Night Owl in Lismore and other locations.

Fore more information you can contact Dailan Pugh on 0400 711 054 or Renata Phelps 6629 3226.

Interested persons are also encouraged to join the Facebook Group, “Bungabbee Forest Friends” 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/3470743116309388/  or subscribe to the email list at http://eepurl.com/hhtdOr

NEFA’s Preliminary Assessment on Bungabbee can be read online at https://www.nefa.org.au/bungabbee_state_forest_preliminary_assessment.

Sunday, 15 November 2020

NSW Forests War: State of Play November 2020


NSW Greens and a NSW Independent in the state parliament upper house placing the concerns of many ordinary people in regional New South Wales on the record.


Legislative Council Notice Paper No. 67—Thursday 12 November 2020, excerpt:


163. Remapping of old-growth and high-conservation-value public forests: resumption of the adjourned debate (8 August 2019) of the question on the motion of Mr Field:


(1) That this House notes that:


(a) the Government is planning to allow logging in thousands of hectares of old-growth and high-conservation-value public forests on the North Coast that have been off limits for decades,


(b) these forests are rare and important ecosystems which provide irreplaceable habitat for many threatened species, such as koalas, gliders, quolls, frogs and owls,


(c) they have been protected as part of the nationally agreed reserve system for decades and have been granted state significant heritage protection for their historical significance, including to Aboriginal people, aesthetic significance, research potential, rarity and valuable habitat,


(d) this process is being driven by a desire to access more timber, based on a Forestry Corporation calculation that new rules under the Coastal Integrated Forestry Operations Approvals (CIFOA) to protect koala habitat and threatened ecological communities could result in a small timber supply shortfall of up to 8,600 cubic metres per year,


(e) despite advice from the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) that this wood supply shortfall “represent[s] the worst case scenario and may never be realised”, the Premier requested the NRC consider remapping old growth forests and rainforests to meet this shortfall,


(f) a pilot study of 13 areas of state forest found that remapping could open up 78 per cent of protected old growth forest to logging, despite all sites having vitally important habitat,


(g) the Government has committed over $2 million to this remapping process, despite this cost far outweighing the $1.5 million value of buying back the contracts for the maximum claimed timber shortfall,


(h) the funding is being provided by the Government despite the NRC recommending that any remapping and rezoning should be paid for by Forestry Corporation as the beneficiary, and


(i) remapping on private land has already opened up over 29,000 hectares of previously protected old growth forests to logging in recent years.


(2) That this House agrees that remapping old growth forests:


(a) breaks the Government’s commitment to no erosion of environmental values under the new CIFOA,


(b) is based on timber supply impacts that are not verified and probably do not exist, and


(c) is a subsidy to logging which exceeds the value of the extra wood supply.


(3) That this House call on the Government to:


(a) end the remapping and rezoning of old-growth and rainforest on public and private land,


(b) ensure no areas of forest currently protected will be opened up to logging, and


(c) conserve native forests to protect biodiversity, store carbon and provide new tourism and recreational opportunities—Mrs Maclaren-Jones. (15 minutes)


Debate: 1 hour and 45 minutes remaining.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


749. Ms Faehrmann to move—


(1) That this House notes that:


(a) the National Party has threatened to blow up the government in the midst of bushfire recovery, the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis over the new Koala State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) that aims to strengthen protections for koala habitat,


(b) the new Koala SEPP will have little impact on the majority of farmers across the state as it is only triggered at the point of development consent, and


(c) since the 2011 state election the NSW National Party has had ministerial responsibility for water, agriculture and regional New South Wales which has resulted in:


(i) a dramatic increase in the clearing of native vegetation and threatened species habitat with the winding back of native vegetation laws,


(ii) increased logging of koala habitat after the 2019-2020 bushfire season which saw 24 per cent of koala habitat on public land severely impacted and up to 81 per cent of koala habitat burnt in some parts of the state,


(iii) the gross mismanagement of the Murray Darling Basin including selling out downstream communities on the Lower Darling by over-allocating water to their corporate irrigator donors turning a blind eye to ongoing water theft in the Northern Basin including and pushing the Barwon-Darling River system into hydrological drought three years early,


(iv) incompetent management of regional town water supplies that saw multiple regional centres coming close to day zero, in some cases having to rely on bottled water, over the summer of 2019-2020.


(2) That this House acknowledges that the NSW National Party cannot be trusted to manage our land, water and environment and calls on the Government to strip them of their portfolio responsibilities and end their coalition agreement.


(Notice given 15 September 2020—expires Notice Paper No. 73)


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


BACKGROUND


The O’Farrell Coalition Government corporatized state-owned Forests NSW on 1 January 2013 and renamed the organisation Forestry Corporation of NSW. The company is headquartered at West Pennant Hills in metropolitan Sydney, New South Wales.


It is one of the largest forestry companies in Australia today and produces around 14 per cent of the timber harvested in Australia.


This corporation manages est. 2 million hectares of state forests, along with around 200,000 hectares of softwood plantations and 35,000 hectares of eucalypt plantations.


Est. 30,00 hectares of state forest are harvested for timber each year by more than 100 contractors who undertake harvesting and haulage and other aspects of its operations on behalf of the Forestry Corporation.


The combined take from state forests and plantations is around 50 million tonnes of timber annually.


Nominally all individuals and groups in the state are considered potential stakeholders in the Forestry Corporation of NSW. Except that all regional residents get for being stakeholders is an ongoing loss of both wildlife habitat and forest trees in the districts in which the Corporation operates.


The Corporation’s native timber harvesting is focussed on north east NSW and it is looking to forestry plans on private land and logging in currently protected forest areas to supply it with native timber into the future.


In October 2020 the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) commenced five prosecutions against Forestry Corporation of NSW in the Land and Environment Court for allegedly felling trees in protected areas in northern NSW, including trees in core koala habitat in Wild Cattle Creek State Forest.


This is not the first time the Forestry Corporation has been caught allegedly breaching the terms of its licence and I suspect it will not be the last.


Commercial logging is not the only issue of concern. So is land clearing generally.


According to the NSW Valuer-General’s Office, on 1 July 2019 there were 2,603,793 individual property lots in New South Wales.


Of these 238,842 are private properties zoned rural and classified as either non-urban, primary production, rural landscape or rural small holdings.


The NSW North Coast contains 56,095 or 23.4% of all these private rural property lots, the North-West contains 14,143 lots, Northern Tablelands 11,864, Murray 10,353, Hunter 15,950, Hunter Coast 6,357, Central West 20,688, Central Tablelands 18,972, Riverina 17,924, South Coast 18,974, South East Regional 20,164, Sydney Central 3, Sydney Coast South 11, and Sydney Coast North 1,208. 


Currently owners of those private rural properties which are situated near bushland in 10/50 Entitlement Clearing Areas have an almost unfettered right to clear trees within 10 metres of their house and farm sheds, as well as underlying vegetation under trees for a further 50 metres, as a bushfire protection measure.


However, in addition to this proven effective bushfire measure, now the Berejiklian Government is also progressing another amendment introduced to the Legislative Assembly on 10 November 2020 - this time an amendment to the Rural Fires Act 1979 titled Bushfires Legislation Amendment Bill 2020.


This amendment if passed will allow the owners of all 238,842 of these private rural properties in New South Wales to clear trees and vegetation within 25 metres of a property’s boundary with adjoining land and, lays down processes so that these landowners can ensure their immediate neighbours do the same - thus making the land clearance in effect 50 metres wide.


A specific measure that does not appear to be included in recommendations found in the Final Report of the NSW Bushfire Inquiry dated 31 July 2020.


A potential 50 metre open space on all four sides of up to 56,095 private rural properties on the NSW North Coast from the Mid-Coast to the Queensland border represents a significant tree cover and habitat loss.


Of course after 232 years of land clearing this degree of native vegetation clearing is no longer required on a great many properties because barely a tree stand survives in some districts.


This is an aerial view of a section of the Moree Plains showing its typical landscape in 2020:




According to the Nature Conservation Council of NSW, by mid 2018 bulldozing of bushland nearly tripled around Moree and Collarenebri after safeguards which existed in Native Vegetation Act 2003 were repealed by the NSW Baird Coalition Government, with 5,246 ha of Koala habitat destroyed at a rate of 14 ha per day in 2017-18.


Moree has a history of opposition to any checks on the ability to clear land. In 2014 this sadly led to the killing of an Office of Environment and Heritage compliance officer and the later conviction of a prominent landowner for murder with a sentence of 35 years imprisonment.


The Guardian, 27 March 2020:


Land-clearing approvals in New South Wales have increased nearly 13-fold since the Coalition government relaxed laws in 2016, according to a secret report to the state cabinet by its Natural Resources Commission.


The report, marked “Cabinet in Confidence”, was commissioned by the government in January 2019 under an agreement between the Liberals and Nationals to review land clearing if applications exceeded 20,000ha a year. The commission handed it to the government in July, but released it only after the Independent MP Justin Field threatened legal action…..


The commission found more than 37,000ha were approved to be cleared last financial year, almost 13 times greater than the annual average rate across the decade to 2016-17. Approvals jumped more than 70% after the rules covering land clearing changed at the start of 2019, rising from 25,247ha in the final quarter of 2018 to 43,553ha in the first three months of the new year. 


The commission found the extent of the land clearing and what is described as “thinning for pasture expansion” was putting the state’s biodiversity at risk. The government had promised to protect between two and four times as much land as it cleared, but had failed to do that in the majority of the state. 


It also highlighted the lack of an effective monitoring and compliance regime to ensure laws were enforced. In a six-month stretch between August 2017 and January 2018 there was 7,100ha of unexplained land clearing. It was 60% of the clearing in that time.... 


The Nature Conservation Council of NSW said the report showed the National party was incompetent. Its chief executive, Chris Gambian, said it was a damning assessment of how the government had handled what was supposed to be a signature reform. 


“This report is alarming because land clearing is a key threat pushing most of the state’s threatened species towards extinction,” he said. 


“Koalas and other vulnerable species are being smashed from every direction, by bushfires, drought, logging and land clearing. Land clearing is one of the few threats we can tackle directly, but the National party is preventing this government from doing what is needed.” 


Gambian called on the government to release regulatory maps that were still not available two years after promised.....


Wednesday, 22 July 2020

Forestry Corporation of NSW ordered to cease tree harvesting at Wild Cattle Creek State Forest



The EPA says this is one of two 'giant' trees felled in the Wild Cattle Creek State Forest.(Supplied: EPA) - ABC News, 19 July 2020

NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA), media release, 18 July 2020:

EPA orders Stop Work on forestry operations in Wild Cattle Creek State 


Forest The NSW Environment Protection Authority has today issued Forestry Corporation of NSW with a Stop Work Order to cease tree harvesting at Wild Cattle Creek State Forest inland from Coffs Harbour. 

 The NSW Environment Protection Authority has today issued Forestry Corporation of NSW with a Stop Work Order to cease tree harvesting at Wild Cattle Creek State Forest inland from Coffs Harbour. 

EPA Executive Director Regulatory Operations Carmen Dwyer said EPA investigations into operations in Compartments 32, 33 and 34 of the forest had revealed serious alleged breaches of the rules that govern native forestry operations, set out in the Coastal Integrated Forestry Operations Approval (IFOA), in relation to the protection of trees that must not be felled. 

“To maintain biodiversity in the forest, the Coastal IFOA rules require loggers to identify giant trees (over 140cm stump diameter) and ensure they are protected and not logged. The EPA alleges that during an inspection on 9 July 2020 EPA officers observed two giant trees which had been felled. 

“Any trees except Blackbutt and Alpine Ash with a diameter of more than 140cm are defined as giant trees and must be retained under the Coastal IFOA,” Ms Dwyer said. 

“As a result, the EPA has issued a Stop Work Order under the Biodiversity Conservation Act to stop Forestry Corporation logging in the forest. The order ensures that no further tree harvesting takes place in the area where the trees were felled for 40 days, or until the EPA is confident that Forestry Corporation can meet its obligations to comply with the Coastal IFOA conditions to protect giant trees.” 

This is the first time the EPA has issued Forestry Corporation with a Stop Work Order under new laws which came into effect in 2018. 

“These two old, giant trees have provided significant habitat and biodiversity value and are irreplaceable. Their removal points to serious failures in the planning and identification of trees that must be retained in the forest. 

“These are serious allegations and strong action is required to prevent any further harm to giant or other protected trees which help maintain biodiversity and provide habitat for threatened species like koalas.” 

This action follows the recent issue of two Penalty Notices totalling $2,200 to Forestry Corporation for non-compliances associated with an alleged failure to correctly identify protection zones for trees around streams and for felling four trees within those protected zones in Orara East State Forest near Coffs Harbour. The penalties were issued under previous rules when the penalties were lower. 

“The EPA continues to closely monitor forestry operations despite the current COVID-19 restrictions, to ensure compliance with the regulations,” Ms Dwyer said.  

“The community can be confident that any alleged non-compliance during forestry operations will be investigated by the EPA and action taken if the evidence confirms a breach.” 

Stop Work Orders and penalty notices are examples of a number of tools the EPA can use to achieve environmental compliance including formal warnings, official cautions, licence conditions, notices and directions and prosecutions. A recipient can appeal and elect to have the matter determined by a court. 

For more information about the EPA’s regulatory tools, see the EPA Compliance Policy at www.epa.nsw.gov.au/legislation/prosguid.htm

ABC News, 19 July 2020:

The Gumbaynggirr Conservation Group's Zianna Fuad said the group wanted the forest protected and she was extremely relieved the stop work order was in place. 

"It's devastating that we have lost these old-growth trees that we can never get back," she said. 

"Wild Cattle Creek is especially important — it's the second largest koala hotspot in NSW. 

"We have amazing koala forests up here that we would love to see protected as The Great Koala National Park."

BACKGROUND

BuzzFeed, 1 July 2020:

Sandy Greenwood, a Gumbaynggirr custodian and spokesperson, is in the process of taking Forestry Corporation to court. 

Her statement about the events reads: “We have given our notice of Trespass to the Forestry Corporation and demanded they stop the logging of all Gumbaynggirr Country for lack of jurisdiction and no conciliation or consent. 

The NSW Government and Forestry Corp are breaching international and domestic law under the international declaration of Indigenous Peoples' rights. 

"We are the Gumbaynggirr people, sovereign custodians of Gumbaynggirr Country, land and waters and we demand an end to logging in these irreplaceable and incredibly ancient publicly-owned forests. 

Logging must be stopped immediately and they must be conserved for all beings to enjoy.” 

The sections of the forest that were scheduled to be logged at Wild Cattle Creek are critically important. Not only are they unceded Gumbaynggirr Country, but the forest remains a piece of unburnt refuge for koalas in the area, as it was narrowly missed by the Liberation Trail bushfire last November.

Sydney Criminal Lawyers, 3 July 2020:

The anti-logging campaign the Gumbaynggirr Conservation Group has recently launched in northern NSW is doing exceedingly well. And the word is that the model it’s using to gain all the traction may soon be mirrored across the continent. 

Back in April, by cover of COVID, the construction of roads into the Nambucca State Forest commenced, with a view to opening up the area for logging. 

This native forest escaped the wrath of last summer’s unprecedented bushfires, but evidently not that of the Berejiklian government. 

The Forestry Corporation of NSW then moved in to commence logging in May. The state-owned company has said it’s only conducting “low intensity thinning” of “regrowth” forest, however local custodians, the Gumbaynggirr people, assert that this isn’t the case. 

But, despite loggers having moved in with machinery, the traditional owners and their allies have had them on the run. A series of lock-ons in Nambucca last week saw them scamper over to the Wild Cattle Creek State Forest this week, where further lock-ons have seen operations halted there. 

Sign of the times 

The Gumbaynggirr people were handed back their land through the native title process in 2014. And today, it’s the native title holders and conservation organisations that have joined together to form the Gumbaynggirr Conservation Group (GCG). And it’s been running quite a campaign of firsts. 

NSW Forestry announced it was pausing operations in Nambucca State Forest on 5 June for five days, to allow the GCG to undertake an independent cultural heritage survey. 

This was the first time logging had ever been halted since the NSW regional forestry agreement came into play 20 years ago. 

And further, the Gumbaynggirr people are taking the NSW Forestry Corporation to the state Land and Environment Court, which is the first time it has been taken to court by an individual organisation in decades. 

Then there’s the Gumbaynggirr Conservation Group itself. Having established the Gumbaynggirr Tent Embassy in Nambucca in mid-May, the GCG is an alliance that’s forging a new type of activism, which organisers maintain will soon be replicated at other sites nationwide. 

GCG spokesperson Sandy Greenwood has said that if NSW Forestry isn’t stopped “deeply significant cultural heritage will be desecrated, our beautiful old growth trees will be logged, rare flora will become extinct and our koalas and endangered species will literally have nowhere else to go”....

Wild Cattle Creek State Forest. Image: Dean Tresize 

Friday, 14 February 2020

NSW Northern Rivers learning the hard way that state-owned Forestry Corporation of NSW is a bad neighbour


ABC News, 11 February 2020: 

When the Busby's Flat Road fire ripped through Wendy Pannach's Rappville farm in northern New South Wales last October she assumed that neighbours would share in the cost of replacing boundary fencing. 

Two neighbours — a private landholder and a company — did agree to work together, but the state-owned Forestry Corporation of NSW has refused to contribute anything despite her desperate pleas. 

Ms Pannach initially thought that it may cost her up to $100,000 to repair and replace all the fire damaged and destroyed internal and boundary fencing. 

But now, with support from charity BlazeAid, it is expected to be far less, and the shared cost of the 1.3-kilometre boundary fencing with Forestry Corp would be minimal. 

"I am working to design the fencing to maximize how much BlazeAid can do in terms of supplying labour," she said. 

"Originally it was looking at $20,000, probably Forest Corp's share would probably now be about $5,000. It's not a lot of money. 

"But if there was no other support, and with the added cost of all of the other boundary and internal fences I have to replace it, it makes a difference." 

Ms Pannach is hoping that a Commonwealth natural disaster recovery grant of up to $75,000 will help cover costs as she is ineligible for NSW disaster relief. 

But she is concerned that farmers affected by future disasters may not receive access to similar funding....

MP admits NSW Govt not 'very good neighbour' 

The state Member for Clarence, Nationals' MP Chris Gulaptis, who met Ms Pannach at a food industry group meeting in Grafton, agreed that his Government needs to do a better job at managing its forestry estate. 

"It's a legitimate concern that she has, and other landowners have, who share boundaries with government land, whether it be national parks or state forests," Mr Gulaptis said. 

"The Government isn't very good neighbour, to put it quite bluntly, and it needs to be a better neighbour. I think that Forest Corp needs to look at managing its estate a lot better than what it does.".....

Read the full article here.