Greens call on Premier Berejiklian to end native forest logging

Koala

Jan Barham MLC, the Greens NSW Forests spokesperson, has called on the new Premier Gladys Berejiklian to take action on climate change and the environment by halting the logging of public native forests.

“It’s time for the new Premier to act on climate change and the environment by putting a stop to the logging of public native forests in NSW. The Berejiklian Government has an opportunity to protect biodiversity while delivering new economic opportunities in tourism, recreation and plantation forestry by bringing an end to destructive and unsustainable logging in state forests,” Ms Barham said.

“It will be a test of the new Premier to see whether she listens to the science and the community by recognising that the Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs) have failed, and a new direction in forest management is essential for the future of our forests and the protection of vulnerable species such as koalas.

“The RFAs have failed to deliver ecologically sustainable forest management [1] and the state’s native forestry sector has been poorly managed and unprofitable over many years. The Government cannot consider new forest agreements and needs to recognise that the future of timber supply is in an enhanced plantation industry.

Ms Barham noted that as well as the biodiversity benefits, protecting native forests would make an important contribution to addressing the state’s need to improve on climate action.

“Saving our forests would deliver a substantial opportunity for carbon capture. The NSW Forestry Corporation manages 1.8 million hectares of native forests and research from the Australian National University has shown that natural eucalypt forests in southeast Australia store an average of 640 tonnes of carbon per hectare.[2] Preventing the destruction of mature forests and allowing logged areas of native forest to regrow has the potential to make an effective contribution to climate change mitigation.

“The NSW Government has set a long-term aspirational greenhouse gas emissions target but hasn’t taken responsibility for urgently acting on climate change now. They didn’t support the Greens’ Climate Change legislation that would require a whole of government approach to meet annual carbon budgets and identify strategies to reduce emissions. The new Premier can change course, beginning with the clear need to preserve our forests and use them to store more carbon.

“The 1992 National Forest Policy Statement signed by all states promised a Comprehensive, Adequate and Representative reserve system and ecologically sustainable forest management, but this hasn’t occurred. The decisions of the current Government will decide whether the next quarter of a century will see irreversible damage to forests, the extinction of more native species and continued global warming. I urge Premier Berejiklian to set NSW on a better course for future generations.”

For further comment, please contact Jan Barham directly on 0447 853 891

[1] Review of evidence concludes Regional Forest Agreements a failed model for forest management

[2] Green Carbon: The role of natural forests in carbon storage

Parliamentary Action on Forests

Support the crucial campaigns to protect and grow forests across New South Wales:

In the final 2016 sitting of the NSW Legislative Council I’ve put these motions about forest protection on the Parliamentary record:

Great Southern Forest

1. That this House notes that the “Great Southern Forest: A new approach to native forest management for jobs, wildlife and carbon” is a proposal presented by a alliance of conservation groups including the National Parks Association of NSW, National Trust and South East Region Conservation Alliance that “would reorient the Federal and State governments to recognise our native forests as the best land-based carbon store and to use carbon funding to invest in regional employment in tourism and forest protection.”

2. That this House notes that the Great Southern Forest proposal recommends that:

a. the Commonwealth and NSW Governments recognise ceasing public native forest logging is a cost effective and environmentally valuable way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions,

b. the Commonwealth and NSW Governments agree on protocols for the cessation of public native forest logging to be eligible for Emission Reduction Fund credits,

c. the NSW State Government change the management focus of public native forests from logging to carbon capture before NSW’s Regional Forest Agreements for the Southern Forest Region expire between 2019 and 2021, and to immediately commence negotiations to secure carbon credits from the Australian Government’s Emission Reduction Fund, and

d. the NSW Government links such carbon credit revenue with regional tourist infrastructure, wildlife protection and forest restoration, to generate long term, sustainable jobs in the region and to protect public native forests and endangered wildlife.

Forests Forever

1. That this House notes that the North East Forest Alliance’s “Forests Forever” position statement:

a. identifies that the Forest Agreements for upper and lower north east New South Wales have not delivered a comprehensive, adequate and representative reserve system or ecologically sustainable forest management, and

b. calls for a rapid phase-out of the logging of public native forests in order to protect and restore:

i. threatened and other native species habitat,

ii. water yields, water quality and stream health,

iii. carbon take-up and storage, and

iv. forest health and natural processes.

During the summer we’ll be producing new forest campaign materials and working to support the communities and campaigners working across the state to prevent destructive logging of native forests and promote alternative uses of forests for tourism, recreation, carbon sequestration, etc.