Letter to the Editor: What is sustainability in forestry?

DEAR News Of The Area,

AFTER many recent contributions by vested interests on the subject of the “sustainability” of the logging of (and the extraction of biomass from) our native forests, it is now time to bring a factual foundation to the matter.

What is sustainable?

Put simply, being “sustainable” is the capacity to carry on forevermore.

It is measured and reported upon in three primary categories; social, economic and environmental (or ecological), all of which must be carried on forevermore for anything to be truly sustainable.

So how does the logging of our native forests measure up on each of these fronts?

Economically the logging of our public native forests is an absolute basket case.

It loses taxpayers money hand over fist, with hundreds of millions of our tax dollars lost logging native forests in recent decades.

In the most recent reporting period (up to June 30 2023) the Forestry Corporation of NSW (FCNSW) lost about $15 million logging our native forests (aka our priceless and irreplaceable life support systems).

The logging of our public native forests has no social licence, that is, these antiquated and barbaric logging practices are socially unsustainable.

All across our region communities (including very conservative and classically “redneck” ones on the Dorrigo Plateau) are standing up to the taxpayer funded extinction logging operations of FCNSW.

There is dominant support across our region, our state and the nation for stopping logging our public native forests, with many surveys indicating a substantial majority in support of protecting our native forests.

The least sustainable dimensions of logging native forests are those of an environmental and ecological nature.

Put simply industrial logging is a prime driver of both the extinction and climate crises.

Our forest dependent fauna populations are in free-fall with many rapidly headed towards extinction because of logging.

The Greater Glider was common and in places abundant in our region in recent decades.

It has declined about 80 percent and is now Endangered because of logging and the more extreme and frequent fires caused by logging.

We face a high likelihood of extinction of our Koalas and Glossy Black Cockatoos – with massive population collapses of both in our region.

The Glossy Black had nationally significant breeding strongholds in the Nymboida catchment that now support much fewer animals because of rampant recent industrial logging of these strongholds.

Industrial logging of our native forests dries them out, it makes fires much more dangerous to our lives and properties and it destroys our water security.

Because of landscape-scale logging across the regional water supply catchment on the Dorrigo Plateau the Nymboida River was recently so putrified with sediment from logging that it was unable to be used- Grafton was put on high–level water restrictions.

Ratepayers are now on the hook for well over $100 million (potentially greater than $150 million) to filter out the muck that FCNSW put in our drinking water supply (atop the approximately $180 million originally invested in the Coffs-Clarence scheme).

Our native forests are our best insurance policy against global heating; they stabilise our climate and make it rain, they deliver and maintain water security.

Across the Great Koala National Park these forests support the most astonishingly rich evolutionary expressions of nature with some of the most ancient forests on Earth.

FCNSW seeks to remove this from us and future generations.

This pillaging simply must stop, the benefits are immediate and extend to us all, our economy, our society and our ecology.


5 thoughts on “Letter to the Editor: What is sustainability in forestry?

  1. A factual foundation thanks Mr Graham more like a bias agenda with handpicked facts to support your argument. As a driving force behind a Great Koala National Park can Mr Graham please explain to 4WDers on the Coffs Coast, mountain bike riders, horse riders, rally car enthusiasts, wood collectors, fossickers and the general public who just love a drive in nature why his agenda is solely to lock up publicly accessed state forests that have been enjoyed by generations into another national park. Will we still be able to take the kids to the creek for a swim in your koala national park. At least the Forestry mob have sunk investment and repair roads in local state forests. I would be concerned if the logging ops were generated millions because it would show there is no reinvestment in our state forests and that mum and dad timber sawmill operations were being price gouged by government in turning trees into important timber products that we all rely upon. So as you sit on your hardwood timber deck penning more great pieces of fiction Mr Graham please consider what rests under your feet and how it got to be there. That’s the one thing environmentalists can never offer a solution that works environmentally, economically and socially. Thank Goddess the Greens only achieve a minority 5 per cent of the vote, because they don’t speak for the majority on a national, state and local level.

    1. There is no lock-up agenda from me Peter and please desist from alleging that there is thank you,

      Our globally significant public native forests need active management to address the threats of weeds, fire, feral animals and the restoration of landscapes degraded by fire and land degradation (erosion, mass movement and slips) – all of it caused and exacerbated by unsustainable industrial logging.

      The only road building that FCNSW does is to facilitate their taxpayer-funded extinction logging operations. As a prime example in Clouds Creek SF where FC seeks to extinct a globally significant major colony of Endangered Greater Gliders the ONLY road management after the mega-fires of Black Spring/Summer and 3 years of flooding was done by locals to enable access for weed management and fires. That is until FC recently rolled in and spent hundreds of thousands of our taxes on logging highways to pillage these old growth forests that are a critical part of the GKNP and our drinking water supply.

      FCNSW have ignored all the other badly degraded roads and trails, with the exception of maliciously and vindictively and in a petty attempt at retribution spending thousands of our taxes installing a locked gate on these goat tracks 2 weeks ago blocking me from my home and Private Conservation Area that they trespassed upon and illegally killed my Greater Glider habitat (and admitted to such in writing!) and the next day undertook illegal camera surveillance upon me. Shut them down. Stop the extinctions, save our taxes and protect our water security.

      Try again mate!!

  2. Fanciful forest facts from a very passionate anti native timber harvesting exponent who has a history of conflating impacts and emotional rhetoric.

    It’s a well-known fact that native forestry adds more than $1b to the NSW bottom line and provides income for thousands of families. Hardly a financial ‘basketcase’. And as forests previously harvested are being harvested again, that shows how sustainable it is.

    To accuse “logging” of driving extinctions is the biggest fallacy of all, as all these “critically endangered” species seem to only exist in timber harvesting coupes. They actually exist in the 94% of forest NOT available to timber harvesting as well, as any ecologist worth their PhD would know, so it’s difficult to understand why Mr Graham refuses to acknowledge this fact.

    The most thorough koala science, carried out by people who actually have the academic qualifications to do so, show that koalas exist in post harvest regrowth forest and that harvesting has no impact on population numbers.

    Fire scientists who have spend their lives observing, fighting and helping to mitigate fire – not theorising from desktop modelling – have clearly stated that as timber harvesting occurs in small scattered areas, it can’t possibly have the impacts Mr Graham might have us believe.

    To describe heavily regulated and world certified timber harvesting as “rampant industrial logging” shows a lack of willingness to properly understand the truly minimal impacts it has, and to appreciate the multitude of carbon-storing products it sustainably provides.

    Timber production is the very epitome of sustainability.

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