After only 15 months, the Office of Environment and Heritage has released comments received on its whole-of-government NSW koala strategy. Perhaps the most important of these, at least for the south coast, are those from the South East Timber Association (SETA). Not surprisingly the comments are consistent with Forestry’s, arguably bizarre, understanding of both forests and koalas. From this perspective, all forests are killed by wildfire and then grow back. So all of the trees are the same age, all of the time.
This idea appears to stem from some Victorian and southern NSW forests where various ash eucalyptus dominate. Unlike most eucalyptus species, ash types are more likely to die in a wildfire. However, this isn’t always the case and ash can frequently be found with other species. For example, the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) and Parks, recently translocated 600 koalas from French Island, with 400 of these going to forests around Kinglake. The forests around Kinglake were burnt in the 2009 bushfires, but clearly not all the trees died.
Aside from the predicable understanding about forests and koalas, that they prefer regrowth forests, the SETA submission included the logging history map below. This map is quite different to previous logging histories.
Also among the comments is a submission from Coast Watchers, a conservation group based in the Eurobodalla shire. According to these comments the last confirmed sighting of a koala in the shire was at Nerrigundah in 2013.
Forestry Corporation has recently provided detail of the compartments, totaling 9.700 hectares, it burnt in Moruya and Dampier State Forests. As indicated in the map below, circles with green crosses are koala records and the burning (blue hatch) was north east of Nerrigundah. The NSW government has developed and approved a burning plan for the Murrah Flora reserves, although details are yet to be made public.