Another Group of ‘Friends’ Joins The Fight For Mid North Coast Forests

The waste left behind in Conglomerate State Forest plantation after Forestry Corporation NSW logging activities was a factor in the formation of a ‘Friends’ group.

COMMUNITY groups that include landowners, farmers, ecologists and nature enthusiasts have become ‘citizen scientists’ to collect data on the biodiversity in ecologically-sensitive areas of NSW public forests to support their fight against local logging.

‘Friends of Conglomerate State Forest’ spokesperson Ms Dee Wanis became one of these citizen scientists when she learned of Forestry Corporation NSW (FCNSW) plans to log native forest adjacent to her property.

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“Conglomerate State Forest is a complex system of forest types with high biodiversity, threatened species and habitat values that filter the headwaters of the iconic Sherwood Creek, west of Woolgoolga,” Ms Wanis said.

“Local citizens are fed up with the industrial logging operations of Forestry Corporation in our publicly-owned forests.”

She is keen to point out that the recent Land and Environment Court ruling fining FCNSW for $285,000 for environmental damage is “a wake up call” for the State Government.

Ms Wanis said the current Liberal government needs to investigate the ability of the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) and Department of Primary Industries (DPI) to effectively monitor the state-subsidised logging operations in both our native forests and plantations.

She said the fines show an inherent disrespect for protocol and lack of adherence to Forestry’s own code of operations.

Another Friend of Conglomerate State Forest, Nikki Read, said she took part in surveys that she says found breaches of regulations.

She said citizen scientists are necessary because the EPA and DPI appear to be unable to keep up with the opening up of areas for logging.

She said citizen scientists have repeatedly called upon the State Government to recognise the Great Koala National Park proposal to ensure protection for the endangered koala.

“It is imperative these last native forest strongholds be preserved to nurture koala populations back from the brink of extinction, mitigate climate change as carbon sinks and ensure the authenticity of Coffs Coast’s claim as New South Wales’ premier eco destination,” Ms Read said.

Ms Wanis and Ms Read urge people to support a rally to end logging in native forests that will take place outside Parliament House in Sydney on Thursday 15 September as the NSW Upper House debates a petition to end native forest logging.

There will also be a street parade in Bellingen on September 17 to highlight proposed logging near the Kalang headwaters.

By Andrew VIVIAN

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