New Bush Telegraph Independent Stories since 1987
COMMUNITYSUSTAINABILITYENVIRONMENTPOLITICSCOUNCILARTSCLIMATE CHANGE

Mogo logging

October 1, 2017

Logging public native forests is increasingly costing us the things we love, but a different future is possible.

Back in June the community of Mogo received a rude shock. Forestry Corporation undertook intensive logging operations close to the township, to the dismay of residents who value the natural beauty and tranquillity of their part of the coast. Following a spotlighting trip in early July, community members saw greater gliders and heard yellow-bellied and sugar gliders in Mogo State Forest. This led to locals collecting signatures and phone numbers for a petition, and Coastwatchers organising public meetings to discuss logging impacts and alternatives to be held in Moruya and Batemans Bay in August.

The glider findings sum up the problem with logging neatly: lots of Australian wildlife, found no-where else on earth, relies on these forests for survival. But modern logging operations remove most of the trees over large areas in a single go. This is why logging impacts have been identified by the Threatened Species Scientific Committee* as key threats to greater gliders: the large gaps created impede the movement of gliders, and the loss of hollow-bearing trees remove nesting and breeding hollows, further restricting the area available to the species. These impacts are starkly highlighted by the image below, taken in Mogo: a yellow-bellied glider feed tree is identified and spared from logging, but is left standing in a sea of destruction (the forest behind the camera is closer, but still heavily fragmented). You don’t need ecological expertise to understand that this is absurd: what self-respecting glider will risk crossing such a treacherous no-man’s land? The negative impacts of logging are not confined to gliders either. Any species that requires tree hollows (e.g. glossy black cockatoos); prefers mature forest ecosystems (e.g. koalas) or intact understories (e.g. pygmy possums) is threatened by logging.

You might ask why, with so many national parks, are our forest species unable to cope with logging? It’s a good question, but the answer is deceptively simple: loggers and wildlife like the same forests. A forest that produces good timber is also likely to support more wildlife because it’s likely to be on more fertile soils and therefore be more productive. This is a key issue, because although we have magnificent national parks, the more productive (and therefore wildlife-rich) forests tend not to be well protected. Logging is not the only threat to forest wildlife—urban expansion is also chipping away at highly diverse forests, and climate change is influencing species’ distributions—but logging is easier to deal with because State forests are in public ownership, meaning we could stop tomorrow with political will.

As we saw on the ABC a few weeks ago, the NSW Government’s plans are not to better protect forests and forest species in response to ongoing wildlife declines, but to relax the requirements to conduct surveys for wildlife. This is a real tragedy, because logging is not the optimal use of this valuable public property: it loses lots of money and now supports very few jobs (a 2015 estimate put the number directly employed by native forest logging in NSW as just 600)**. And all to turn precious forests into woodchips for export. Alternatively we could choose to protect forests, thereby protecting wildlife, water supplies and carbon stores, and implement a just transition of workers to plantation-based forestry or to the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

The latter choice would see the peace and tranquillity of our coastal lifestyles preserved, the benefits forests provide to people protected and future generations given the best possible chance to experience the wonders of the Australian environment.

Footnotes

* Conservation Advice for the Greater Glider 2016: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/species/pubs/254-conservation-advice-20160525.pdf

** Campbell and McKeon 2015: Money doesn’t grow on trees: the financial and economic losses of native forestry in NSW. http://www.nature.org.au/media/213736/160320-money-doesnt-grow-on-trees-nsw-forestry-final.pdf

This article is in the following category/ies:

  • Categories

  • Archives

    Join us

    For only $20 (per annum, $10 concession) you can become a member of The New Bush Telegraph Incorporated. Membership to an incorporated association shows your support and gives you voting rights at annual general meetings, access to volunteer opportunities and special member events.

    FIND OUT MORE

    Sign up to become a subscriber – it’s free

    Keep up to date with all the news from The New Bush Telegraph and be notified of new articles when they are published. It’s the best way to stay in touch and never miss out on those important local issues. You can unsubscribe at any time.

    * indicates required

    Donate to the New Bush Telegraph

    The New Bush Telegraph is a not-for-profit community initiative.

    Support us to grow and reach our goals by considering making a donation.

    COMMUNITYSUSTAINABILITY
    ENVIRONMENTPOLITICS
    COUNCIL
    ARTSCLIMATE CHANGE
    ABOUTLETTERS TO THE EDITORCONTACT

    Archives

    #125 Spring 2019#120 Winter 2018#109 Spring 2015#108 Winter 2015#107 Autumn 2015#106 Winter 2010#105 Late Spring 2009#104 Winter 2009#103 Autumn 2009#102 Summer 2008#101 Winter / Spring 2008#100 Late Autumn 2008#99 Late Summer  2008#98 Summer 2007#97 Spring 2007#96 Winter 2007#95 Autumn 2007
    New Bush Telegraph - Independent Publishing Since 1987
    Privacy PolicyTerms & Conditions
    Copyright © New Bush Telegraph Incorporated ABN: 42106732072
    linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram