Assessments Of Logging By The EPA in Ellis State Forest Challenged By Conservationists

Demonstrators want native forest logging to cease immediately because of what they say are ongoing breaches of regulations.

LAST week, demonstrators protested outside the Forestry Corporation (FCNSW) offices in Coffs Harbour.

The demonstration was orderly, with demonstrators chanting slogans such as “Great Koala National Park”, “EPA Stop work Order!” and “Hands Off, Forestry”.

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As reported in last week’s News Of The Area, the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) recently investigated apparent breaches of logging regulations in Ellis State Forest, inland from Coffs Harbour, following allegations that four giant trees had been unlawfully harvested and seven giant trees were damaged during forestry operations.

As a result of the inspection findings, the EPA stated there was “insufficient evidence to warrant the issue of a Stop Work Order”.

Mark Graham, who initiated the investigation, said that current forestry regulations specifically prohibit the felling of giant trees and damaging retained trees.

Believed the EPA’s investigation to be erroneous, Mr Graham and other concerned community members instigated another investigation at Ellis State Forest by tree health expert Michael Sullings, proprietor of Treehouse Arboriculture.

Mr Sullings re-assessed logged trees and inspected the damage to giant trees as reported to the EPA, which had dismissed the felled trees as not being giant trees and the damage to others as “superficial”.

His report details the potential harm resulting from the damage, stating, “The damage to trees that are not intended for harvesting is extensive.

“There are many instances of evidence of where large machinery has been run into the trunks of trees, and over their structural roots, and many more instances of evidence of where large trees have been felled against
trees that are meant to be protected.”

Mr Graham said despite a giant hollow-bearing tallowwood apparently having been chopped into pieces by logging machinery and bulldozed into a pile (with photographic evidence being submitted to the EPA), the EPA has stated that no giant trees have been destroyed and that there is an “absence of harvesting machinery impact”.

Mr Sullings wrote, “Of even greater concern is that reports of serious and deep systemic wounding to several marked giant habitat trees caused by heavy machinery impacts and reported to the EPA as legitimate crimes have all been dismissed outright as ‘superficial’.

“In my professional opinion, the damage I observed yesterday cannot be considered superficial.

“In my personal opinion, it is at best, the result of an absolute lack of professionalism on the part of Forestry Corporation of NSW, and at worst, is the willful destruction of one our region’s – and our species’ – greatest assets.”

The report has been sent to the EPA.

Mr Graham invited the EPA and Environment Minister James Griffin to “join us in measuring and inspecting these trees as they seem to have not seen, measured or documented the evidence that we reported to them”.

“The EPA must impose a Stop Work Order on these horrific koala extinction operations and Mr Griffin must do his job and stop the extinctions being caused and accelerated across our public forest estate.”

By Andrew VIVIAN

One thought on “Assessments Of Logging By The EPA in Ellis State Forest Challenged By Conservationists

  1. What compels us to argue over milometres on a tape measure when before our eyes there are trees that were there when Captain Cook sailed past. The Public has been hoodwinked by Treasurer Matt Kean and his cohorts who profess to care for Koalas and kept secret the outcome of the investigation by the Natural Resources Commission which clearly states Not to Log Recovering Forests damaged by the Black Summer Fires and to Stop Logging what remains of our Native Forests. The Public will demand real protection of Koala Habitat at the Ballot Box on the 23rd March 23rd March 2023.

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