Due to concerns raised during the ongoing Independent Commission Against Corruption inquiry, several state and local conservation groups have called on the NSW Government to reassess the native forest timber contracts approved by former sacked Primary Industries Minister Ian (Sir Lunchalot) MacDonald.
There was a prompt response from current Minister Hodgkinson – an emphatic no, but she advised members of the public to contact the ICAC if they had any information to offer. It would appear that the Minister is putting great faith in two reports, the Auditor General’s (2009) report ‘Sustaining Native Forests Operations Forests NSW’ and Forests NSW’s (2012) ‘Yield estimates for the Eden Region’.
The former report indicates that as of 2009 the remaining volume of pulp logs in the Eden region would last less than 2 years and the latter seems not to have accounted for logging over the past four years, similarly leaving enough sawlogs to last less than two years.
To clarify these inconsistencies and few other things I’ve written to the Minister, although expecting a response would be unrealistic, the concern is that close to, if not more than half of the sawlogs remaining in the Eden region are in Tanja, Mumbulla, Murrah and Bermagui State Forests.
Greens pollies have recently undertaken a flying inspection of local forests and according to the Narooma News ” . . Mr Shoebridge and Senator Rhiannon are currently working on a transition plan for the forest industry which they will consult on with locals during their visit.”
There is some objectivity in the conservation movement, Chris Taylor’s report on the Victorian bushfires being a good example. However, when it comes to local groups like SERCA subjectivity becomes exaggeration, like the following from their website “FACT: If we took all the cars in Sydney off the road for a year – it would negate the annual greenhouse gas emissions produced from Nippon’s Eden chipmill logging in NSW. (26 million tonnes pa)”
As I understand it this figure is very loosely based on information in the ‘Green Carbon’ report that starts off well with the statement ‘ Natural forests are more resilient to climate change and disturbances than plantations because of their genetic, taxonomic and functional biodiversity’. but then suggests ‘ While the genetic and taxonomic composition of forest ecosystems changes over time, natural forests will continue to take up and store carbon as long as there is adequate water and solar radiation for photosynthesis’
The inference, that like plantations, forests will continue to grow despite the loss of functional diversity is contrary to much science and it seems logical that the business of human survival is linked to koala survival, because both need a similar environment/climate in which to survive.
According to the Green Carbon report the average net primary production (growth rates) in natural forests is 24 tonnes of biomass per hectare per year but, if that were the case there would be plenty of sawlogs to keep the business going and plenty of koalas.