Repeating history

A year or so back NSW conservation groups/individuals were invited to negotiate with Boral Timber Fibre (woodchip) Exports (BTFE) and the erroneously named ‘Soil Association’ about an assessment of risk associated with the logging of high conservation values. BTFE had decided to work toward Forest Stewardship Council certification to access ‘controlled wood’ from all coastal forests in NSW north of Eden.

The idea was apparently to define further areas of ‘High Conservation Value’, as occurred for the flawed Regional Forest Agreements, based on the notion that reaching agreement with Boral would assist in having these forests ‘protected’ as part of the development of a National Forestry Standard.

In a letter dater 12 April the conservation groups repudiated the negotiation process and rejected the associated FSC certification process but, in response BTFE apologised, saying the ‘market is not requesting controlled wood and therefore the need for certification is not there’ and they had decided not to pursue FSC certification.

On April 15 Greens state MP David Shoebridge asked two questions on notice one about volumes and royalty of ‘miscellaneous wood’ cut down in the Eden region and the other, Yellow-bellied Glider den identification and retention in coastal RFA areas.

Leaving aside the volumes, the royalty on ‘miscellaneous wood’ ranges from $9 a tonne, similar to pulp logs and up to $42 a tonne, similar to sawlogs. There have been no Yellow-bellied Glider dens located during logging in Eden since 1999.

What this all comes back to is whether the conservation movement should have moved on from the strategies employed 20 years ago and by now, given it’s required for koalas, put their support behind appropriate management systems.

If these systems were understood and supported by the conservation movement, repudiating the State Government’s management and rejecting any involvement their processes would have occurred some time ago. Should the conservation movement employ this strategy, the saying “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” may not seem quite so applicable.




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