World heritage proposal for koala park conservation

Tim Cadman talks through the technical details of the world heritage proposal.

COMMUNITY conservation groups have launched a proposal to create a 492,000 hectare (ha) world heritage area covering the proposed Great Koala National Park (GKNP).

Fifty people attended the launch of the world heritage listing proposal at the Cavanbah Centre last Friday evening.

They joined 70 people who attended a Bellingen launch and 35 attendees each in Bowraville and Nymboida.

The proposal has been supported by a small grant from Griffith University, and endorsed by the Koala History and Sustainability Research Cluster, based at the University of the Sunshine Coast.

Dr Tim Cadman, who had a number of roles in developing the proposal, along with 30 fellow collaborators, said the launches have been very well received.

The proposal is for 492,000 ha, of which 200,000 ha is State Forest.

Approximately 100,000 ha of the proposed world heritage area consists of forests which have been ‘adopted’ by local ‘Friends’ groups.

The Friends groups comprise local residents who live in and around the State Forests and National Parks under consideration for inclusion within a Great Koala National Park.

More than half of the koala records cited in the proposal are located within ‘Friends’ reserves, which indicate that koalas are to be found in areas zoned ‘native forest’ and ‘plantation’.

More than half of the high-conservation-value forest (rainforest, old growth, disturbed old growth) is within the Friends reserves.

Dr Cadman said there is more than 15,000 ha of zoned plantation within the proposal.

In addition to the native forest, original forest and native vegetation inside the formal plantations, there is approximately 4,000 ha of additional native vegetation and roughly 1,400 ha of high-conservation-value forest that has been converted to plantation since 1998, or is under threat of conversion.

He said the majority of this is high value koala habitat.

The major recommendation in the proposal concerns Federal and State governments more accurately interpreting historical and new information about the area proposed for the GKNP.

This includes more accurate assessment of koala numbers and conservation values so no areas are excluded.

“Without World Heritage status, our eucalyptus forests and koala habitat inside the current park will continue to be destroyed – forever.”

More information can be found at

By Andrew VIVIAN

Fifty people attended the presentation in Coffs Harbour. Photo: Friends of Orara East State Forest.

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