The NSW Government has today removed a significant threat to native forests and wildlife by suspending a project that would have removed environmental protections for thousands of hectares of old-growth forest.
“This is a terrific result for our forests and wildlife,” Nature Conservation Council CEO Chris Gambian said. “We have been saying for months that logging in public native forests must be suspended in the wake of the bushfires, at least until a full ecological assessment has been conducted.
“Suspending the old-growth remapping project is a sensible first step toward protecting our forests. The next step is to develop a plan to end native forest logging once and for all and to ensure a just transition for timber workers and the industry.”
National Parks Association Executive Officer Gary Dunnett said: “Today’s announcement by the NSW Government that it is suspending plans to log old-growth forests is a welcome result.
“Fires scorched literally millions of hectares of our forests, the need to stop logging native forests has never been more important.
“These ancient forests are home to some of the biggest, oldest trees in NSW and are among the last places on earth where koalas, quolls and gliders can live safely.”
More than 20,000 people joined the campaign led by the Nature Conservation Council to keep old-growth forests safe from logging.
“While this is a moment to celebrate, the struggle to protect our native forests is far from over,” Mr Gambian said.
“From Nambucca near Coffs Harbour to Manyana near Nowra the NSW community is calling on the government to protect the millions of hectares of native forests still on the chopping block.
“The NSW Government and the industry should be working together to transition out of native forests logging into plantations and sustainable alternatives. Recovering from the bushfires and the COVID-19 crisis is a huge opportunity to do just that.
“The native forest logging industry is unsustainable. NSW Forestry Corporation have been industrially logging public native forests for decades and now they’re running out of sizable trees so they’re scrambling for big trees in protected areas.
“Our forests are critical for wildlife, critical for water security, one of the world’s largest carbon pollution captures and they are the places we all love; places of recreation and retreat, of culture and heritage, and sacred to Traditional Custodians.”