Letter to the Editor - April 20: Doubts over Forestry facts

DEAN Kearney's letter (CCA, April 9) - "Logging really is sustainable", desperately massages facts and figures to prolong what is undoubtedly a dying practice, the logging of public native forests.

Last financial year, Forest Corp's native forest division announced its first profit in more than a decade, over which period the multimillion dollar annual losses were funded by the taxpayers of NSW.

However, that small profit comes at immeasurable cost to the forests, and the native fauna that call them home, with major reductions to pre-harvest surveys, designed to identify threatened species that need to be protected.

Funding of weed and animal pest control has been slashed, and the out-of- control lantana, a major factor contributing to Bell Miner Associated Dieback, is having eucalypt forests dying along the east coast. The protected areas, corridors etc that Dean talks about includes strips along riparian zones, protection of which the government has just halved with buffer zones, reduced to as little as 5 metres. Other protected areas include rainforest, heath, wetlands and old-growth, most of which do not support feed tree species for our iconic koalas, the only threatened species he bothers to mention.

As for the claim only two per cent of the state's forests are logged annually, that comment is deliberately designed to mislead, inferring forests are only logged once every 50 years, when in fact forests with suitable timber are regularly logged at intervals less than 20 years, and occasionally after 10 years.

The two per cent claim, which may or may not be accurate, can be made because the forest estate includes large areas where logging doesn't occur, such as wetlands, heath, very steep ravines, buffer zones around rivers and creeks, protected forest types like rainforest and endangered ecological communities, and areas that simply do not grow trees suitable for timber.

John Edwards,
South Grafton

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