Early in the week, and for no apparent reason, ABC local radio ran an interview with woodchip boss Peter Mitchell. Peter whinged about the Greens, suggested their policies are much like those of the Nazis and he seemed upset about talk of ‘different forms of forest management’.
Predictably, NSW Green David Shoebridge responded with the maxim – those who use the Nazi comparison first, lose the argument. However, the Greens forest policy doesn’t actually propose different management, just the end of woodchipping although, like the NSW Government, the policy is under review.
What I hadn’t realised is that in addition to their annual report, dated 31 October 2013, Forestry released what they call a ‘sustainability supplement’. Areas of interest in the two documents include the contrasting native forest volumes. As indicated in chart below, the supplementary report has an unexplained reduction of around 260,000 cubic metres of saw logs and 130,000 tonnes of pulp logs over three years, compared to the annual report.
In contrast to the requirements of the Regional Forest Agreements, the supplementary report (Indicator 15b- Carbon balance in hardwood forests), also confirms FCNSW are still relying on assumptions about tree growth, rather than solid data.
The NSW Government’s review proposals include ‘Working with agencies to deliver key land use reforms in planning, forestry, marine management and land management.’
As part of these wider reforms, to ‘modernise the public sector’, from the 24th of February the Office of Environment and Heritage will become a public service agency. Environment Minister Parker said the reform wasn’t about downgrading the department rather – “This is just about the capacity to employ the best possible staff we can have.”
The wider reforms also include an updated ‘Priority Action Statement’ on Bell-Miner Associated Dieback, suggesting they may finally be taking the matter seriously. The plan is to map the current extent of BMAD, areas of risk and implement best practise management in National Parks.
Exactly what is meant by ‘best practise’ isn’t clear, although it seems likely FCNSW will have to do the same. Perhaps this is why FCNSW remain quiet on local issues, as a solid BMAD theory indicates pretty well all current forest management is unsustainable, especially theirs.