Over-logging threatens industry
OVER-LOGGING and widespread abuses of licence requirements in state-owned forests were threatening the long-term viability of the timber industry, the Greens candidate for Oxley Jeremy Bradley said.
“The numerous breaches that I witnessed yesterday in local forest harvesting areas are appalling and inexcusable,” he said.
“I am not surprised that a complaint affecting Forests NSW’s accreditation under the Australian Forestry Standards, for timber sourced from upper north-east NSW, will now be referred to the world’s biggest assessor of sustainable forest management. If our forest products lose this accreditation it will mean that the state will lose the marketing advantage associated with sustainable timber products.”
The North East Forest Alliance plans to refer its complaints about Forests NSW management to the Program for Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes (PEFC), an international organisation that covers 35 member countries, 209 million hectares of forests and 500 different organisations.
Mr Bradley said PEFC-accredited timber attracted a premium and was essential to permit export of timber to some countries.
Among his concerns are the loss of habitat trees by loggers ignoring exclusion boundaries; the selection of blackbutt trees for retention in preference to other species; piling trash from logging around hollow habitat trees, meaning post-harvest fires would easily destroy them.
He said the new Forests NSW policy of “heavy single tree selection” was proving disastrous for native animals and birds and was forcing an undesirable “tree change” from a diverse native forest to de-facto plantation forests.
He said Forests NSW was being forced into unsustainable harvesting because of agreements hammered out between the Labor Party and the CFMEU, the union which represents workers in the timber industry.