Working with nature – against forests

Without much fanfare the Narooma News reports on a visit to logging operations in Yambulla SF by members of the Japanese Tropical Forest Action Network (JTFAN).  Harvesting team leader Tom Halliday said  “The tour provided a valuable opportunity to share with international visitors the nuts and bolts of world-leading forest management systems employed by the Forestry Corporation to manage State forests across NSW,”

According to the Harvesting Plan two of the three adjacent compartments being logged were also logged in 2007 and given the 5 year return limit on logging, they are back in as soon as they can be. While it’s uncertain what the JTFAN learned on their visit, local issues like the 9 stream crossing not referred to in the HP probably weren’t discussed.

However and apart from wood chipping, opinions about fire management practices between others on the visit including Bega Greens Keith Hughes and Harriet Swift and South East Forest Exporters Peter Rutherford are similar in several respects.

In a recent letter to the Bega News Peter Rutherford started with “I am writing on behalf of all the ignorant “bogans” who actually care very much about our native forests to comment on the letter from Diana Gillies (BDN, 9/4).” Spruiking the benefits of fuel reduction burning he implies Aboriginals did the same thing and that ” Anyone who flew over the devastated forests near Melbourne after the 2009 fires would have observed some areas of forest that had trees with green, rather than scorched or blackened crowns.The areas of forest had burned, but at a much lower intensity than the surrounding forest, due to the low litter levels left after FRBs.”

In contrast the OE&H recently released their Statewide ‘Living with fire in NSW National Parks’ strategy (read burning plans) for National Parks although they say that ‘ knowledge about traditional Aboriginal burning practices and their impacts is fragmentary, and assumptions about Aboriginal fire usage and impacts remain speculative.’

Despite the fragmentary and speculative assumptions an increase if fuel reduction burning is proposed to reduce bush fires but there is also reference to fires during 1993–94 ‘ re-burning areas already extensively burnt in 1987–88, with adverse biodiversity impacts.’

At a local scale  the impacts of integrated logging and a back burn during drought 33 years ago are slowly coming together with data from 5 plots representing 30 hectares of what was ‘Coastal foothills dry shrub forest’. As indicated in the map below all plots are Allocasuarina littoralis forest with some retained and younger eucalyptus even though not all of it was logged. I’m not expecting all plots to turn out this way although a consistent theme of negative impacts from those who care and nature seems to be emerging.



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