NSW Forests under attack

NSW FORESTS have been accused of failing to protect up to 10 threatened and one highly-endangered species at Yabbra State Forest, west of Bonalbo.

An audit conducted by the North East Forest Alliance found more than 50 breaches to statutory licence conditions and four acts of Parliament.

“It’s appalling,” wildlife ecologist David Milledge said.

Mr Milledge was part of a team of zoologists and botanists, with environmental activists Dailan Pugh and John Corkhill, both recipients of Orders of Australia for services to forest conservation, who undertook the audit.

Mr Milledge said Forests NSW, owners of the forest, identified the 11 species in a 2007 prelogging survey. When it logged the forest it was required to take certain actions to protect their habitat.

Forests NSW was required to retain 50 per cent of the forest’s canopy to protect the highly-endangered black-striped wallaby, however in large tracts of the forest the canopy was down to 10 per cent, Mr Milledge said. It was also required to leave a mosaic of groundcover. According to Mr Milledge this also had not happened.

To protect koalas Forests NSW was required to leave a percentage of koala habitat trees, and again Mr Milledge alleged it failed to do this.

To protect the endangered yellow-bellied glider Forests NSW was required to identify and mark feed trees. These are trees where gliders have scratched notches to get at its sap in order to feed.

Mr Milledge said no trees had been identified by Forests NSW.

Forests NSW had also failed to maintain forest buffer zones along drainage lines, required to stop soil enteringwaterways, he said.

Mr Milledge said Forests NSW had also failed to protect the marbled frogmouth, wompoo fruit dove gloss black cockatoo, sooty owl, rufous bettong, little bent-winged bat, large-eared pied bat and the eastern faliftrelle.

The Environmental Defenders Office recently lodged a complaint with the NSW Department of Environment,Climate Change and Water.

Forests NSW said reporting the breaches to the department was the right thing to do.

It is expected the department will conduct an investigation into the allegations.



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