Bellingen Mayor Dominic King Slams Forestry Failure in Tarkeeth Forest

A eucalyptus tree piled under logs awaiting the wood chipper in Tarkeeth Forest. Photo: Supplied.

 

BELLINGEN Mayor Mr Dominic King has slammed Forestry Corporation NSW for its failure to communicate with the Bellingen Shire Council on the plan for the duration of logging in Tarkeeth Forest.

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Mayor King’s statement comes amid his concerns that logging for biofuel in Tarkeeth is having a damaging effect on roads due to logging trucks, waterways due to erosion and the deforestation is a major concern for the upcoming bushfire season.

Mayor King said Council was never informed about Forestry Corporations plans to log Tarkeeth, adding he had never seen the same high levels of truck movement in the area as seen today.

“We have had damage done to our roads by big double trucks by Forestry.

“They don’t give us the recognition to even inform us that they are doing this.”

Forestry Corporation NSW sells and trucks the logs to Biomass which has two plants operated by Cape Byron Management.

Biomass’s website promotes clean renewable energy and states their fuel sources are low carbon, cost effective and renewable.

Forestry Corporation NSW Senior Planning Manager Dean Kearney told News of The Area, “We are carrying out a trial to remove by-products already on the forest floor such as branches and crowns to produce biomass instead of burning them on the forest floor.”

The Bellingen Environment Centre’s Caroline Joseph questions the validity of the so-called renewable energy and warns the label for biofuels is misleading because of the damage to the land and waterways.

“The resulting extreme erosion caused through this brutal process is a disgrace and anyone can see the tragic outcomes to the health of our rivers and estuary,” she said.

Mr Kearney denied claims by Ms Joseph that they drag trees and their roots from the ground.

“Tree roots and stumps are not removed from the forest, only crowns and branches and other products that we normally stack into rows and burn in the forest after the operation.

“The primary product coming out of this forest is quality timber needed by the community, especially in the post-fire rebuilding effort,” he said.

Mayor King has been to Tarkeeth and describes the clear-felling as smash and grab with machines going hammer and tong leaving hardly a tree standing.

“Bellingen has heavy rainfall and we know we have highly erodible soils and we have real concerns about the impact on our waterways and this has never been addressed by Forestry.”

Mayor King calls on Forestry Corporation to do things differently and be innovative and recognise the impacts of the catastrophic fires in 2019.

Forestry Corporation stated they have responded to the fires directly by moving the majority of hardwood timber to timber plantations, a move Mayor King says lacks vision.

“What is replanted is often a one species blackbutt forest which is highly flammable which I have major concerns about as we approach bushfire season.”

Mr Kearney refuted Mr King and stated “There is no reason to believe that the new plantation will have any impact on fire in the landscape.”

Mayor King maintains the logging is coming at a cost to sustainable innovation.

“There is a great opportunity we are missing for green jobs, to store carbon and have sustainable energy in this region,” said Mayor King.

By Sandra MOON

 

Tarkeeth Forest being clear felled, in what Bellingen Shire Council Mayor calls a ‘smash and grab’ from Forestry Corporation, at the expense of sustainable innovation.

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