Government agreements – ways to avoid accountability

The recent $35,000 penalty imposed on the Forestry Corp in the Land and Environment Court for a poorly planned burn in Mogo State Forest seems to be one of the ways the NSW government avoids accountability.

According to the judgement the penalty, agreed between Forestry Corp and the EPA, for burning along five kilometers of tidal water front with many adjacent oyster leases, is to be spent on identification and mapping of a ‘Threatened Ecological Community located on State Forest Estate in South Eastern NSW.’ – on the tablelands. 

This mapping was undertaken in coastal forests as was evident in the logging plan for Compartment 2069 in Bermagui SF, although they logged the Endangered EC anyway.

In other news the Australian National University have released a report suggesting that generating carbon credits offers a viable financial alternative to so called commercial forestry although a spokesperson for Primary Industries Minister Katrina Hodgkinson reckoned their carbon price was over estimated.

However as co-author of the report Andrew MacIntosh, associate director at the ANU’s Centre for Climate Law and Policy pointed out ”The growth in eucalypt plantations has been massive, and these are now coming online and muscling in on native forest logging,” .

The problem for native forests is that they aren’t growing back as quickly as the old trees are dying or being logged and one of the issues I raise in my slightly late letter to Minister Hodgkinson re the exclosure area etc., is the ongoing use of the ‘modified Jacobs growth stage assessment‘ to determine tree age.

 

DC 003

 

The issue being that the assessment doesn’t account for the impacts of die-back in any form and when it comes to categorizing growth, trees like the one above, soon to be bulldozed for the Dignams Creek highway re-alignment, are difficult to fit within the Jacobs growth stage assessment.

Such issues are part of determining the number of ‘biodiversity credits’ required to destroy forest and I’m looking forward to a response to a few pertinent questions from Roads and Maritime Services on the issue, although they have gone a bit quiet. 

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