“The public can have no confidence that anything beneficial for the forests will come from Forestry Minister Niall Blair’s logging ‘trial’”, claimed NCEC spokesperson Susie Russell.
“As always, with State-run forestry, this process lacks transparency and scientific rigour. We believe the whole process is solely aimed at intensifying logging and cutting costs, mainly jobs.
“We call on the Minister to release the ‘trial’ conditions and the exact locations where it will take place before logging commences. This will at least provide some opportunity for independent scrutiny, as we have learnt from long experience that neither the Forestry Corporation or the EPA are effective at identifying breaches of logging licence conditions.
“The reference to ‘coupes’ suggests that what is being planned is clearfelling as practiced by the Forestry Corp around Eden, where the forests have been fed to the woodchip mill and now there is hardly a koala to be found. We are deeply concerned about what this means for the endangered species managing to keep a toe-hold in State Forests,” Ms Russell said.
“The ‘trial’ was not mentioned in the stakeholder consultation process. We have now been provided with a list of 66 potential areas where the trial could take place, and yet our analysis shows that logging had commenced in 43 of those areas before this announcement, so 65% of them are presumably ruled out.
“Of the remaining 21 that are on the logging schedule (2 are not), the average net logging area is 77 ha. So we think the Minister’s claims that not more than 200 hectares will be logged as part of the trial is misleading, and will certainly be attempting to keep him to that figure of 200 hectares.
“Allowing more intensive logging so the very wealthy can have solid blackbutt floorboards should not be the prime concern of Governments in 2015. They would be far better looking at the benefits accrued to the public by allowing our forests to recover from decades of mismanagement. We will be seeking a meeting with the Minister to discuss these issues,” Ms Russell said.