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South East NSW forests flyover shows need for transition

Video & Multimedia
Lee Rhiannon 19 Feb 2013

When I see destructive logging practices I think of all the animals that have lost their home.

These thoughts were with me when I undertook an aerial inspection of native forest logging and woodchipping in southeast NSW with Greens NSW MP David Shoebridge, Bega Greens councillor Keith Hughes and local forest activist Harriett Swift.

Forest destruction is ugly. Our flyover revealed some savage logging operations. Trees felled and land cleared on mountain ridges and slopes drives a scar across the landscape much greater than the area of immediate logging.

Our audit suggested that the compartments that are most inaccessible could be logged at a more intensive level.

David and I undertook this inspection to assist our work on a transition plan out of native forest logging.  A responsible state and federal government should be driving this work, but as they are locked into subsidising this relic industry the Greens are working with locals on a way forward that will end native forest logging and woodchipping and develop an industry restructure plan and job creation.The pristine beauty of the Wadbilliga National Park that borders local state forests is a reminder of the level of protection that should be brought in for the great southeast forests.

I think the most thrilling part of the flyover was looking down on the rugged valleys and alpine ridges of this National Park. It looked so inviting for a long bushwalk. Many of the ridge tops were covered in thick alpine heath with occasional swamps. The vegetation looked spectacular. Here are some of the photos, more of Lee's blog below:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/greensmps/sets/72157632764996470

When I see destructive logging practices I think of all the animals that have lost their home.

These thoughts were with me when I undertook an aerial inspection of native forest logging and woodchipping in southeast NSW with Greens NSW MP David Shoebridge, Bega Greens councillor Keith Hughes and local forest activist Harriett Swift.

Forest destruction is ugly. Our flyover revealed some savage logging operations. Trees felled and land cleared on mountain ridges and slopes drives a scar across the landscape much greater than the area of immediate logging.

Our audit suggested that the compartments that are most inaccessible could be logged at a more intensive level.

David and I undertook this inspection to assist our work on a transition plan out of native forest logging.  A responsible state and federal government should be driving this work, but as they are locked into subsidising this relic industry the Greens are working with locals on a way forward that will end native forest logging and woodchipping and develop an industry restructure plan and job creation.

The pristine beauty of the Wadbilliga National Park that borders local state forests is a reminder of the level of protection that should be brought in for the great southeast forests.

I think the most thrilling part of the flyover was looking down on the rugged valleys and alpine ridges of this National Park. It looked so inviting for a long bushwalk. Many of the ridge tops were covered in thick alpine heath with occasional swamps. The vegetation looked spectacular.

After looking at logging compartments in the local state forests we headed for Twofold Bay and the driver of so much of this destruction - the Eden Chipmill. The pyramid high piles of woodchips are now a monument to a dinosaur industry.  Despite this blight Twofold Bay remains a stunning coastal inlet and I am confident that the Greens transition plan will help develop a more sensitive and suitable use for the southern headland for this great inlet, which I learnt on this trip is the "third deepest natural harbour in the southern hemisphere".   

In the afternoon we had a very useful meeting on the transition plan with members of the organisations that make up the South East Region Conservation Alliance.  Many locals have put years of work into saving the southeast forests so we have a wealth of knowledge to draw on. Great emphasis was given to the role the local TAFE should play in training and restructuring so industry workers can continue in a similar line of work. Value adding industries using plantation wood was seen as a priority with some focus on local tourism.

A highlight of this meeting was our discussion about the local koala population. The Great Southern Koala Sanctuary has a great project to protect and connect koala habitat. I was very interested to hear that it is now thought that the local population has a unique genotype and could be a sub-species. A koala sanctuary is urgently needed as a recent two year survey found fewer than 50 koalas in this region.

While there is no viable future for woodchipping, there is a viable future for koalas and all the creatures of these beautiful forests we had the privilege to inspect in such a unique way.

Although I would probably prefer to walk in the forests rather than fly over the tops our aerial inspection was worth it for the unique opportunity it provided to contrast the native forest destruction with the protection our national parks afford for so many unique ecosystems.

I am looking forward to visiting the southeast for the launch of the Greens transition plan that will provide a future for local communities along with environmental protection of the region's great assets.

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