Early last week NSW Green David Shoebridge put a motion to the NSW Parliament that –
” Condemns the government for failing to protect the koala populations of Pine Creek and Bermagui State Forests.
Investigates and prosecutes Forests NSW for its flouting of regulations surrounding the protection of koalas in Pine Creek and Bermagui State Forests.
Takes immediate steps to protect the State’s vulnerable koala population by instigating a permanent halt to logging in both Pine Creek State Forest and Bermagui State Forest; and
Undertakes pro-active and independent koala habitat surveys in all state forests which have significant potential for koala populations in order to permanently protect existing and potential koala habitat from destructive logging operations.”
While well meaning, it’s a shame that the Bega Greens won’t follow up on the proposal for ‘pro-active and independent koala habitat surveys’ and we have to believe the OE&H that endemic koalas are now extinct in the Yurammie/Tantawanglo forests. Regrettably the local group Yurangalo don’t talk about koalas, even though earlier this year FNSW approved plans to log three compartments in the so called ‘special management zone’.
Also, as the notion has some support, the possibility that ‘island koalas’ have been trans-located to undisclosed areas in the south-east corner cannot be completely dismissed.
Currently, the non-independent long-term ‘koala habitat surveys’ are seemingly purposeless, because the soil landscape is the major factor determining existing and potential koala habitat.
However, if there was a ‘pro-active’ approach to the surveys, the data from them would be very useful to help stop further logging but, as previously suggested to the OE&H, this would require ensuring that plot measurements are repeatable and that the utility of the survey methods is maximized.
Not surprising, Timber Communities Australia dismissed the Shoebridge motion suggesting koalas need more trees planted on ‘fertile’ agricultural land, while the Bega Greens remain silent and inactive.