Productive Forests and koalas - understanding causes and and their effects

medium_Trees, regrowth 4,  in Upper Hastings 23 July, 2013.jpgMEDIA RELEASE from the Taskforce

The North Coast Forest Taskforce disputes any insinuations made by NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley MP that managed timber harvesting has a detrimental effect on koala populations on the North Coast community of NSW.

Comments reported as being made by Mr. Foley are without basis and Mr Foley appears to be confusing sustainable timber harvesting practices with general land clearing. In particular there is no evidence that a tenure change from professionally managed forests to minimally managed National Parks will do anything to assist koala populations. In fact koala experts suggest that koalas generally move out of National Parks as they prefer regrowth leaves which they are unable to find in National Parks because there is no active management.
Unfortunately there appears to be little understanding of the threatening processes facing koalas. What is however well known is that land cleared for urban and agricultural development represents a significant threat to koala populations, followed by predators (particularly feral and domestic dogs) and motor vehicles. It is therefore suggested that Mr Foley turns his attention to the more effective solution of actually addressing the known threats to koalas by investing in areas around urban and rural centres where habitat has become fragmented and threats from dogs and cars are the highest

Other significant risks to koalas include tree dieback, bush fires, droughts and climate change, none of which has to do with the sustainable timber production from North Coast Forests. In terms of the major impacts, policies and strategies have been developed to reduce their impact on the environment, particularly the control of feral pests and traffic management.
The North Coast timber and forest industry is now managed in accordance with world's best practice. All timber harvesting in NSW state forests is subject to licence conditions under the Threatened Species Conservation Act and the Fisheries Management Act and the Protection of the Environment Operations Act. Under this regulation if evidence of high koala activity has been determined, timber harvesting is not permitted. Further to this Forestry Corporations timber harvesting operations are certified as sustainable under the Australian Forestry Standard.
Should Mr Foley’s plan ever see the light of day it will be massively damaging to this most important regional industry, the economies of many towns, the sustainability of timber production forests and their proactive, and evolving management

The North Coast Forests’ Taskforce wishes to respectfully invite Mr Foley to visit the area to become acquainted with the real facts about the koalas, regional jobs and wood products.


Media Contacts and further information
Dr Douglas Head, Australian Solar Timbers, 0408 856 022
Trevor Sargeant, North Coast Forests taskforce Coordinator, 0431 737 024