Logging OK – while animals go extinct

Logging was in the news again this week with SEFR again delaying logging in Flat Rock SF and Forestry Corporation of NSW’s regional manager Daniel Tuan putting out a press release about how well another logging operation in Bodalla SF north of Narooma is going.

Mr Tuan contradicts the Harvesting Plan by suggesting the compartment being logged is ‘regrowth forest’ and this statement also conflicts with the old growth mapping as indicated below that found over 40 ha. in the area being logged.

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He does acknowledge 22% of the volume is being cut for firewood, arguably worse than cutting down live trees for woodchips and that sawlogs from the operation are being sent to the Eden mill to bolster supplies. It seems pretty certain that the movement of sawlogs to Eden is part of the deal with the OE&H/EPA to maintain supplies while they figure out what to do about the koala issue.

On that matter FCNSW recently released their annual report (nurture, protect, prosper) indicating ‘On the south coast we worked with the Office of Environment and Heritage on a federally-funded joint program to survey for koalas across the landscape. This will inform discussion on how best to manage koala habitat in this area in the future.’

Of course the issue is that 6 years of surveys have not brought them any closer to defining koala habitat except by  presence/absence so any further logging in forests from Bermagui to Tanja can only be seen as a threat irrespective of where koalas are.

The situation at the moment is part of what Prof David Lindenmayer describes this week as ‘Animals going extinct while millions in funding is squandered‘  where “Their plan of action is no action.” and ‘Even where triggers for action exist – such as for Victoria’s endangered fauna emblem, the Leadbeater’s possum – the state government failed to act.”

Despite this disappointment researchers have shed some light on the koala retrovirus (KoRV) by analyzing the DNA in museum pelts and comparing it to modern koalas, they have found that the virus been part of the koala’s DNA for at least a hundred years and may even go back as far as 50,000 years before the so called ‘giant koalas’ became extinct and when the Aboriginals first arrived.

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