” For decades our forests have been overworked for the benefit of a few. The impacts of the mega fires require a reset.Documentary maker and NPA Far South Coast President, David Gallan
All of us have a responsibility to protect our natural heritage, the unique plants and animals of our public forests.
Never more than now.”
Many of the wildlife icons of our native forests, species such as Greater and Yellow bellied Gliders, Sooty and Powerful Owls, Koala, Quolls and Platypus, only thrive in unmodified forest. Logging damages the forest from canopy to creek, removing the diverse cover, shelter and resources these species demand.
Protecting our native forests not only makes environmental sense, it’s essential for resilient regional economies and healthy communities.
Research by The University of Newcastle demonstrates that one of the jewels of the forest estate, the Great Koala National Park, is good news on every front.
“There are many other benefits to the proposed GKNP which go beyond increased visitation, especially nature-based and eco-tourism in the Mid North Coast. These include mental health benefits and additional soil, water and air quality benefits … [that] will potentially generate significant positive outcomes to visitors, the community, local indigenous people and local businesses.”The University of Newcastle, Great Koala National Park Economic Impact Analysis and Environmental Benefit Assessment, February 2021
A Sustainable Future
Nature Based Tourism = the best possible outcomes for regional employment, visitor opportunities and local wellbeing
Koalas, Platypus & Ancient Gondwana Rainforest
These three ambassadors for NPA’s proposed Great Koala National Park (GKNP) have shaped the detailed design of the park, from the ancient Gondwana relict rainforests at the top of the catchment, then through the pristine creeks that support platypus and forests that contain the largest remaining koala populations in NSW, all the way down to the sea.
The GKNP envisages the transition of 175,000 hectares of State Forest to national park to form a 315,000 hectare national park that would protect two Koala metapopulations in the Coffs Harbour region.
The GKNP Economic Impact Analysis determined that the region would benefit from:
- the creation of 9,800+ additional full-time equivalent jobs
- new investment in the region of $145 million in capital expenditure and $128 million in operating expenditure
- a boost to the visitor economy of 1 million visitors who will spend $412 million.
The assessment showed that the environmental benefits of the GKNP equate to an added biodiversity value of approximately:
- $530 million for the NSW population
- $1.7 billion for all Australians
A CASE FOR CHANGE
Conservation for Native Forests
Forest conservation has been at the centre of the Australian environment movement since the National Park Trustees approved a sawmill in the heart of Royal NP back in 1920.
So why the sudden urgency? It’s pretty simple – we have finally run out of time. The sheer amount of forest that has now been cleared, the escalating influence of global heating, the advent of mega-fires and shifting regional economies has changed everything.
Our native forests just can’t cope with more damage. It’s time to treat them with the care and respect they have always deserved.
Poor land management changes everything.
220 years after we started clearing forests and native vegetation in the quest for agricultural land, we are clearing more land every year than ever before.
Five years since the NSW Government slashed protections for native vegetation, clearance rates have increased three fold.
The remaining vegetated lands, including our precious national parks and state forests, have never been more important for the protection of nature and biodiversity.
Climate change changes everything.
Despite living in a nation that is uniquely vulnerable to the adverse impacts of global heating, our leaders seem convinced that the pathway to a more sustainable future is paved by increased gas extraction, accelerating rates of land clearing, and forestry practices that desiccate landscapes and release carbon captured over millennia.
The current proposals to transition from wood chipping operations towards the production of biofuels would elevate Australia into the realm of international carbon criminals.
The fires changed everything.
Driven by climate change induced drought and heat, the fires of 2019-2020 wrought unprecedented destruction.
Just when our forests are most in need of care and consideration, NSW Forestry Corporation has abandoned centuries of cultural wisdom by ramping up logging in forests that have barely begun the long haul to ecological recovery.
Exposed soils are being swept down some of the last pristine waterways in our state and threaten the survival of endangered platypus and other aquatic species.
The economy changes everything.
Native forestry is mining away the last remnants of a tragically diminished resource, propped up by successive NSW Governments that is far beyond any rational economic or community benefit. Forestry Corporation’s financial performance is designed to hide the losses in native forestry and the massive under-writing by government subsidy and plantation operations.
Independent economic analysis tells us the only viable economic future for our forests is conservation, nature based tourism and protection of healthy ecosystem services upon which we depend.
The extinction crisis changes everything.
The fires that devastated forest wildlife by the billions left many species on the precipice of extinction as a result of this cataclysmic event.
As the forests slowly recover from the unbelievable intensity and scale of the fires it is becoming increasingly clear that many species and ecological communities may have been damaged beyond repair. Even a disaster of this magnitude cannot hide the fact that many forest dependent species were already in trouble because of the loss or damage to their habitats.
Reversing the slide into extinction will be impossible if we keep abusing the forest estate.
Protecting forests from logging and clearing will allow hollows and ground cover to develop, waterways to recover and carbon to be sequestered into the soil.
It’s time to end the destruction.
NPA’s Conservation Strengths
- Local knowledge and understanding of the value of personal experiences in nature.
- Deep experience in conservation and visitor experience in planning for natural landscapes.
- Forests for All – NPA’s compelling vision for a nature tourism and conservation based future for NSW’s public native forests.
- A mature and meticulously researched proposal for a world class Great Koala National Park.
- An implacable determination to see the end of wood chipping and reckless biofuel proposals in the South-eastern Forests.
- The proven ability to work with governments and parliamentarians of all persuasions to enhance the protected area network.
NPA acknowledges First Nations people as the traditional custodians of the lands on which we live. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging.