Forestry opt for burning over biodiversity to restore forest health

Yesterday, the same day I heard about it, Forestry Corporation closed submissions for its draft hardwood forest management plan for coastal forests. While containing the usual props, on forest health issues the plan suggests ” . . . In some situations, frequent, low-intensity fires can be used to mitigate dieback and Forestry Corporation will use low intensity prescribed burning to protect forest health, economic assets and people.”

Actual situations where low-intensity fire has mitigated die-back are not specified, not doubt because there aren’t any. This is perhaps because all one call really expect from frequent low-intensity burning is that the drier less fertile areas are likely to burn first and each subsequent burn will increase the size of these less fertile areas.

However,  FCNSW’s solid statement does confirm its rejection of generally accepted theories about forest ecology, outlined in the National Forest Policy Statement. So when FCNSW use fire to mitigate die-back, one assumes it will be approved by the regulators, particularly the EPA. Should that be the case, the NSW government’s commitment to the NFPS becomes questionable.

Apart from that FCNSW propose no changes, no doubt on the basis that the government will give them enough trees, which of course means logging koala habitat.

On the issue of sawlog resource outside Bermagui, Murrah, Mumbulla and Tanja State Forests, it’s difficult to believe there is much left. According to Forestry’s most recent review of yield estimates (2012) there were enough sawlogs in the Eden region to last six years from the beginning of 2008.

Exactly where the sawlogs are coming from now is unclear, although we know the review failed to acknowledge logging in at least one Bermagui SF compartment,  checking the yield estimates did provide another logging history for the contentious compartments, 618-619 in Nullica State Forest.

According to data then State Forests provided for the Eden RFA, logging undertaken in Cpt 618 during 1974 was confined to coupe one, no integrated logging had been undertaken in Cpt 619 prior to the RFA.  However, subsequently the boundary between the two compartments was changed and the aforementioned review indicated coupe 1 had not been above completely logged, purple areas on map above. The question would seem to be why would FCNSW breach the IFOA and log the same coupe in Cpt 618, before logging the unlogged coupe?

The answer may be that FCNSW thinks it can do whatever it likes, while expecting every one will agree with their strange ideas.


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