The South East Forest Campaign

Understorey Photo David Gallan

On Wednesday WEPA screened the documentary ‘Understorey’ about the campaign since the 1970s to save our native forests in NSW’s south-east from being reduced to wood-chips. Members and guests were blown away by the beautiful landscape and wildlife of the south-east forests and the fearless dedication and ingenuity of its protectors. The campaign continues! See the following details about how you can contribute to this important action in the future.

Image: David Gallan 

The National Parks Association Far South Coast Branch writes:

People came out of screenings of UNDERSTOREY and said, “What can I do?” If you felt like that, we need you now! Please read the message below, circulate it and write letters. This is a generational opportunity to protect our forests.

The expiry of the Regional Forest Agreement (RFA) for our region should be the catalyst for a comprehensive review of the current logging based forest management. Our conviction is that industrial scale logging dominated by woodchipping is environmentally destructive, makes no financial sense, and is incompatible with the region’s future direction.

At this stage of the campaign, it is vital that government is made aware that there is a significant constituency who cares about native forests and who is not prepared to have its concerns ignored, and the RFA rolled over on a business as usual basis.

Please contact the relevant Ministers and also send on the attached material to all those who you think might be interested to do likewise. The contact details of the NSW Premier, two key Ministers, and our local State Member, Andrew Constance, are set out below.

Premier – Hon. Gladys Berejiklian
NSW Minister for Primary Industries – Hon. Niall Blair
NSW Minister for the Environment – Hon. Gabrielle Upton
Email: www.nsw.gov.au (access Ministers via tab “Your Government”)
Member for Bega – Hon. Andrew Constance; bega@parliament.nsw.gov.a

If you prefer snail mail you can write to Members at the following address:
Parliament House, Macquarie St, Sydney NSW 200

These letter writing points are to assist rather than supplant your own words. It’s best if we can avoid a robot-letter effect. In order to maximise campaign impact we are urging people to message pollies by the end of July.

David Gallan & Kim Taysom
President & Vice-President
National Parks Association
Far South Coast Branch

Key Points:

  • The 20 year Regional Forest Agreement (RFA) underpinning native forest logging in the Eden Management Area (EMA) expires in 2019. For an NPA critique on the RFAs see: https://npansw.org/…/a-better-future-for-public-native-for…/
  • This expiry should be the catalyst for a comprehensive review of logging based forest management and whether its continuation constitutes the best use of our native forests. Alternatives to logging are set out in the Great Southern Forest (GSF) proposal which is the work of local communities. A copy of the GSF Brief was sent to your office earlier this year. (www.greatsouthernforest.org.au/media/GSF_Brief.pdf)
  • We would appreciate your advice as to what form the consultation process between your government and our community is to take and when the process is likely to get underway.

Additional Points

• There have been significant changes in economic and environmental circumstances since the RFAs were signed almost 20 years ago.

• Biodiversity in NSW is under increasing pressure as evidenced by the growing list of threatened and vulnerable species. 142 species of plants and animals are listed as threatened in our region. Hollow dependent fauna such as the yellow bellied glider, the greater glider and the powerful owl are hardest hit by logging.

• The hardwood industry has become unprofitable with the predominant woodchip sector adversely impacted by market forces and the sawlog sector facing a supply crisis. Employment in the sector has declined to the point of insignificance in terms of the regional economy.

• The woodchip industry has become increasingly incompatible with a regional economy based on the retirement demographic, service industries and Sapphire Coast nature based tourism with its “wilderness coast” logo.

• Climate change, not on the radar when the RFAs were signed, has emerged as a major threat to native forests ecosystems. Predicted hotter and drier conditions will alter fire regimes and ecological processes. The resilience of our native forests will be enhanced if we can avoid the fragmentation and disturbance caused by logging.

• However, climate change is also an agent of opportunity. Increasing recognition of the importance of carbon stored in standing forests and the emergence of carbon credit funding mechanisms could offer an environmentally responsible alternative to logging based revenue.

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