The National Parks Association of NSW (NPA) has welcomed plans by the NSW Green Party to end native forest logging in state forests and instead use them for conservation and recreation to benefit both the environment and nature-based tourism.
The Greens' plans would see some state forests—those of highest biodiversity value—transferred to the national parks estate, and the rest utilised for sustainable recreation and low-impact tourism development, such as eco-lodges and 'glampsites.'
'Transferring high conservation value state forests to the national parks estate would be a step on the road to completing a comprehensive reserve network to protect our native species and ecosystems,' said NPA Science Officer Oisín Sweeney.
'And using lower conservation value state forests to expand recreation and tourism opportunities would maximise the economic return from our fantastic landscapes—much as they do in New Zealand,'
NPA CEO Kevin Evans said 'buffering core protected areas is best practice park management. Because the primary function of national parks is the conservation of nature, activities that damage nature are not appropriate. But adjacent state forests could provide the opportunity to expand tourism without compromising the natural and cultural values of national parks.'
'It's a much better use of our state forests than heavily subsidised logging which kills koalas and other threatened species.'
'This model would give the National Parks and Wildlife Service options to increase the quality of the visitor experience in NSW national parks, and get more people outside having fun. We hope the government will realise the opportunities and work with The Greens to make this happen.'
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