Environment groups seek support to protect native forests

Locals are holding events to raise awareness about the effects of forestry on endangered animals, fires and water supply. Photo: Paola Torti.

DESPITE being disappointed by recent court rulings and Environment Protection Authority (EPA) regulation changes, Coffs Coast residents attempting to protect state forests from forestry operations are stepping up their awareness campaigns to encourage more community members to support them.

Current and planned logging operations in several areas have dismayed conservationists who are concerned about endangered species, water pollution, weed growth and possible increased bushfire risks.

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These claims are disputed by Forestry Corporation NSW, which says its contractors always operate within its legal obligations.

The Bellingen Environment Centre (BEC) is calling on all local conservation groups to band together to provide a united front to protect forests.

The BEC is particularly concerned with protecting Pine Creek State Forest and Tuckers Nob State Forest, which conservationists say are vital to the viability of the planned Great Koala National Park.

To raise awareness, a gathering will be held in Bellingen as part of a national ‘March in March for Forests’ campaign organised by the Bob Brown Foundation.

Groups will call on Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and his government to protect native forests in perpetuity.

The event will feature a range of speakers discussing forest conservation.

Live music and food and coffee will also be offered.

Bellingen organiser Kaz Selbie said 5,000 people rallied on the streets for native forests in 2023.

Ms Selbie said several environmental groups are teaming up to amplify the message.

“We are hoping that we can get more supporters for our local groups to protect our forests, land and water.”

On a smaller scale, the Friends of Tuckers Nob have a ‘koala picnic’ and a bush dance planned in coming weeks.

The picnic will be held at Maam Gaduying Park in Bellingen at 3pm on Sunday March 3.

Attendees are urged to come in koala-themed attire and take part in a march, with a band, across Lavenders Bridge to hear some short talks.

By Andrew VIVIAN

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