Environment groups say their worst fears have been realised, with new evidence that the
Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (DECCW) has approved large areas of
oldgrowth forests for logging illegally and in breach of the Native Vegetation Act 2003.
An independent review of the old growth forest assessment procedures employed by DECCW when
issuing approvals to log private native forests found “the implementation of old-growth is highly variable and problematic and has apparently resulted in some areas of old-growth being potentially available for harvest".
“For three years environment groups have been raising concerns about DECCW issuing approvals
to log old growth forests across large areas of northern NSW,” said Carmel Flint, spokesperson for
the North East Forest Alliance.
“Those concerns have been ignored and this long-promised review of the process was delayed by a
year whilst logging approvals went full-steam ahead.
“Now this report has confirmed our worst fears – that DECCW have approved areas of oldgrowth
forest for logging contrary to their own laws and guidelines, including the Private Native Forestry
Code of Practice. We believe the approvals are both invalid and illegal,” she said.
“The impacts of old growth logging are severe and long-lasting. It destroys large old trees and the
hollows they provide for birds, bats and gliders to make their nests and take shelter; it leads to
invasion by weeds and feral animals; and it pollutes creeks and rivers,” said Pepe Clarke, Chief
Executive Officer of the Nature Conservation Council of NSW.
“The review assessed a sample of 12 properties where logging had been approved and,
extrapolating those results across all approved blocks, we estimate that as much as 75% of mapped
old growth on those blocks (8,490 hectares) has been illegally approved for logging,” he said.
Photo: ABC Online