Coffs Coast conservation groups back National Forest Statement

There is now a coordinated, national view on forest protection.


A NUMBER of local conservation groups are amongst more than 60 nationally that are signatories to the Australian Forest Network Position Statement.

The groups call on Federal and State Governments to immediately stop logging and all other destructive activities in public native forests.

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Their reasons are not new: that climate change and biodiversity loss hastens the extinction of species, particularly since the 2019/2020 bushfires in eastern Australia.

Scientists and economists around the world are calling for immediate and far-reaching action to address climate change and biodiversity loss.

One action that has strong support from experts, as well as overwhelming community support, is to stop the logging of native forests.

Australia’s native forests are ecologically unique and provide invaluable benefits to our society.

The benefits to society from healthy native forests are said to include carbon storage, water supply, erosion control, pollination, nutrient recycling and biodiversity.

As well, native forests are culturally, economically and spiritually significant to First Nations Peoples and provide Australians with recreational and spiritual benefits.

They point out that a significant area of Australia’s native forest is on public land, which means it is directly under the responsibility and management of governments on behalf of the public.

The groups call on State and Federal Governments to stop the logging in public native forests immediately, develop stronger regulations and incentive programmes to encourage private landholders to protect and restore forests, recognise the rights and interests of First Nations in the public forest estate and genuinely consult and negotiate on future forest management.

In addition, the statement asks for an end to public subsidies across the logging industry, a ban on the use of native forest wood as biomass for electricity generation and investment in ecologically-sensitive farm forestry plantings for biodiversity and timber.

One of the local signatories, Kevin Evans, from the National Parks Association and a driving force behind The Great Koala National Park, said, “Over the years, some groups have supported what they call sustainable logging in native forests.

“However, with the increasing severity of climate change and unprecedented diversity loss, everyone now agrees logging must end immediately,” he said.

Mr Evans said the national agreement will now enable unified lobbying to gain bipartisan support for an end to native forest logging.

He said the National Parks Association opposes the Federal Government’s plan to allow native forests to be used as ‘biofuel’ as part of its Renewable Energy Target (RET).

According to Mr Evans, “This is absurd”.

“Our local vision is that The Great Koala National Park will provide water security, a future for our koalas and other native species and local employment opportunities.”

By Andrew VIVIAN

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