As reported in the BDN yesterday, the chair of the Biamanga board, Paul Stewart, is upset about not being consulted over the ‘Murrah flora reserves’. On the management issue Mr Stewart suggested“ . . .We already have a plan of management that covers the koalas and the logging so I don’t understand why they feel the need to reinvent the wheel.”
While ‘koala’ is referred to some 45 times in the Yuin mountain parks plan of management, consistent with the NSW government’s approach, there is no mention of die-back. Rather, burning is proposed to protect koalas. It is unfortunate that the Biamanga board is yet to disentangle its approach from forestry’s idea, that burning makes forest healthy and gets rid of koalas.
In response, NSW Environment Minister Mark Speakman said ” . . . the board was not advised due to commercial in confidence negotiations with the forestry industry”. In addition, the reserves will have a seperate management plan and the NPWS is yet to finalise its budget.”. Seemingly missing from the calculation are funds from the koala “corridors and core habitat” project. The budget and funding sources for this project, now apparently in its fifth year, is reprinted in the following table.
How these funds have and are being spent is anyone’s guess and indeed may never be known. However, it is certain that the Forestry Corporation’s role was finding replacement volume for the 2,800 hectares, originally proposed for protection from logging.
On the timber issue, ABCsoutheast quotes a Forestry spokesperson indicating ” . . . they would have harvested 40,000 cubic metres of sawlog timber and 10,000 tonnes of pulpwood timber per year from the areas now gazetted as Flora Reserves.” These figures create some uncertainty because data from the Forest Resources and Management Systems database, as indicated in the graph below, provide a very different picture of timber resource in the reserves. Figures for Murrah include Bermagui and figures for Mumbulla include Tanja.
However, Forestry also claim, for forests around Narooma and Batemans Bay ” . . over the last 10 years in that area there had been a cumulative undercut of 90,000 cubic metres of sawlog timber as measured against the RFA quota”. If this is really the case, exactly why Forestry put $320,000 into the ‘core and corridors project’ is unclear.
Finally, last week I made reference to a meeting at Tanja on the koala issue. Clarifying the matter (thankyou Mark), I now understand two meetings were held, one at Tanja and a less well attended one at ‘the crossing’ near Bermagui. Both of these meetings were initiated by the OE&H/NPWS.