Government claims of no commercial logging in National Parks is tricky language and should be treated with suspicion said NCEC President and long-time forest campaigner Susie Russell.
“What they are saying is that the Government is prepared to accept logging in National Parks as long as it is not ‘commercial’.
“There is a real danger they are planning to cook up a scheme and introduce some kind of ‘non-commercial’ logging. They are already trialling this in the Murray Valley National Park and calling it ‘ecological thinning‘,” she said.
“The NSW forest logging industry has already soaked up more than $300 million of Government handouts since 1995. They got the handouts as compensation for the creation of national parks. Now they’ve spent the money they want the Parks. 1
“It’s a lose lose for the community and the environment. The taxpayer has paid out the industry to get reserves, now it is being asked to further subsidise them while losing all the environmental benefits protected forests provide.
“The economic and social benefits are far greater if the trees are left standing. The rump of the native forest industry is contracting due to downturns in the housing and construction industry and greater awareness among consumers. Many people don’t want to walk floorboards that used to be koala homes.
“Most of us understand that forests provide many public goods apart from their inherent beauty. These include being home to many of our unique plants and animals; acting as water reservoirs; flood mitigation and erosion control leading to cleaner rivers and better fish habitat; long-term carbon storage; and a whole host of tourism and recreation opportunities,” she said.
“What does logging these forests return? Trashed weedscapes like many of the forests still under control of the Forestry Corporation, silted up waterways and eroded hillsides, declining numbers of rare animals and plants, more extreme bushfires due to the dried out landscape and younger trees and no long-term carbon storage. Not to mention the loss of beauty, wildness and tranquility.
“The Liberal and National Party members of the Government have supported the Shooters recommendations for logging in National Parks. Just as in Queensland and Victoria they are opening up National Parks and protected areas for logging. This is based on hatred of all things green…. and there is nothing with more greens in it, than a forest,” Ms Russell said.
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