New NSW logging rules delayed – bigger issues still ignored

Contrasting with previous statements, the EPA has recently announced that its ‘remake’ of the Integrated Forestry Operations Approvals (IFOA), aka the logging rules, will now be released for public comment early next year. The remake is intended to provide “no erosion of environmental values and with no net change to wood supply”. Unfortunately this approach is largely dependent on ignoring the current erosion of environmental values and the fact that current wood supply agreements are unsustainable.

Looming large among the issues not considered in the remake is soils, or any credible understanding of them.

Among other things, the Regional Forest Agreements for Eden and elsewhere, require the ‘development of appropriate mechanisms to monitor and continually improve the sustainability of forest management practices’ on several matters and including  soil and water conservation.

There isn’t much evidence of this happening in coastal NSW, however soil sodicity is an issue most coastal locations, including northern Queensland, as reported on the ABC’s Lateline recently.
In this case eroding sodic soils in the Normanby River are estimated to discharge a sediment volume equivalent to ‘a line of dump trucks running from Sydney to Perth and then back again’. All of this sediment eventually ends up heading toward the great barrier reef. Restoring the eroded gullies costs up to $30,000 per hectare and up to $100 million would be required to substantially reduce erosion in the catchment.

ripdamage2Closer to home, around 400 people took part in the Climate Action festival, organised by the Greens and held in Bega recently. The BDN reported ” . . . In her welcome to country speech, Djiringan elder Aunty Colleen Dixon spoke to those gathered by the banks of the once prosperous river about the immediate need to prevent further environmental degradation of the region’s ecosystems. ”

It’s interesting that the Greens apparently don’t have an issue with forest management in National Parks. Most of the forest in the Murrah river catchment has been National Park for over a decade, although tenure change hasn’t improved things in riparian areas.

Similarly, the association with National Park management and climate change gets little consideration. if that were the case it would be apparent that the contribution public forests in the Bega Shire make to atmospheric CO2 concentrations, through regular burning, greatly exceed individual contributions, before consideration of logging.

Of course this is not meant to detract from the excellent work of local groups like South East Forest Rescue that, as I write, have halted logging in Glenbog SF. To achieve this positive development some-one is chained  to a machine, another is perched up a tree and the NSW Police are trying to sort things out with FCNSW.


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