Forestry 'decimating' koalas
RESIDENTS of Wiriri Road in Clouds Creek State Forest remain at loggerheads with Forests NSW over harvest operations currently underway in the area.
Spokeswoman for the residents' group STAND, Meredith Stanton, said Forests NSW avoided community participation during the planning process for logging operations which began back in January this year.
“Residents here have been monitoring koala populations for the last 30 years and seen their numbers decimated by previous logging operations,” Ms Stanton told the Coffs Coast Advocate.
“The current harvest plan fails to note this decline or provide adequate protection for core koala habitat or for a range of other threatened wildlife such as yellow-bellied gliders, endangered frogs and bats.” She said the operations were counter to Ecologically Sustainable Forest Management objectives and repeated calls for the harvest to be delayed until adequate consultation and wildlife protection had occurred.
A spokesman for Forests NSW said consultation commenced with residents eight months before harvesting began and that face to face and written dialogue had continued since January.
He said Forests NSW had incorporated Ms Stanton's fauna information into plans and operating procedures, including widening buffer zones for a frog found within the first fortnight of operations.
“However it should be pointed out that surveying is a continual process with identification of species such as koalas triggering further detailed survey and reservations,” the spokesman said.
“We have encouraged Ms Stanton to submit any evidence of species to us for review and incorporation into our records and plans.”
STAND is inviting north coast communities to join them on Friday, May 29 outside Forests NSW Coffs Harbour offices to protest against their inadequate public consultation process and to demand increased protection for vulnerable wildlife,
Visit www.stand.moonfruit.com or phone Meredith Stanton on 02) 66578040.