Continuing the national trend, eagerly led by Tony Abbott’s government, of systematically winding back environmental protection the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) has recommended ‘ecological thinning’ (read commercial logging) in the Brigalow-Nandewar State Conservation Areas (SCAs).
The recommendation to ‘adaptively manage’ these forests sets a dangerous precedent for other SCAs.
Currently, thinning would be vulnerable to a legal challenge - which may just explain another recommendation in the NRC report: to ‘amend’ the National Parks and Wildlife Act to permit commercial logging in SCAs!
The NRC either misunderstands or chooses to ignore ecological reality. “The NRC report states that dense stands of white cypress pine and buloke cover 15% of the SCAs in question. This can simply be viewed as broad-scale heterogeneity and is not alarming when viewed on a landscape-scale. It is hardly a cause for dramatic intervention that will require the use of heavy machinery, risking damage to threatened species and habitats in the process” the NPAs Science Officer, Dr Oisín Sweeney said.
The NPA also believes that the painstaking, 6-year process known as the Western Regional Assessment that resulted in the Brigalow-Nandewar Community Conservation Act has been shown complete disrespect.
“That a 6-year process involving all stakeholders can be undermined by a report that was biased in its terms of reference from the very beginning seriously damages community confidence in natural resource management” said Kevin Evans CEO of the National Parks Association.
“The fact is, the Community Conservation Act guaranteed up to 57,000m3 of white cypress pine per year for 20 years for the timber industry. This is on top of a $48m industry restructure package, funded by the citizens of NSW, designed to assist those who wished to exit the industry. How much is enough?”