'Illegal logging' at Doubleduke

URGENT action is being called for by the North East Forest Alliance to stop ‘illegal’ logging of the Doubleduke State Forest, near Evans Head.

The alliance is alleging Forests NSW breached its logging licence during current operations in the State-owned forest, by failing to mark out trees and areas which are protected under the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act.

“Trained experts are required to first do searches for dens, roosts and nests of an array of threatened animals, such as the barking owl, masked owl, powerful owl, glossy-black cockatoo, koala, yellow-bellied glider, brush-tailed phascogale and tiger quoll, as well as identify localities of threatened plants,” alliance spokesman Dailan Pugh said.

On Sunday, a team of four botanists and two zoologists engaged by the alliance conducted a survey of the forest and found no markings had beenundertaken.

The team found while some areas of protected habitat were retained, they had not been marked as required under the legislation. The findings included areas of old-growth forest.

Mr Pugh said it was impossible to know how much habitat had been lost, but about six hectares had been logged during the current operation.

He said State Environment Minister Frank Sartor needed to act quickly to stop any further destruction.

“He also must ensure that they are prosecuted this time,” he said.

Mr Pugh said the forest was logged for red mahogany, blackbutt and spotted gum.

The alliance is currently preparing a report on the survey. However, a spokesman for Forests NSW has denied any wrongdoing.

“Forests NSW is harvesting in two compartments in Doubleduke State Forest,” he said.

“We have reserved 60 per cent of the two compartments, where no harvesting will take place.

“The regulator of the threatened species licence provisions governing the harvest, the Department of Environment Climate Change and Water, has provided Forests NSW with the results of a recent audit of the harvest area and it does not raise any issues with threatened species.

“Forests NSW is scheduling a regular review of the operation which will address any other aspects of harvesting procedure.”

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