Harvest plan finalised for Pine Creek timber plantations
Forests NSW has drawn on community feedback and recommendations from the koala management plan in finalising its planned harvest of a timber plantation in Pine Creek State Forest.
Forests NSW has set aside almost two thirds of the available plantation area in the compartments to provide for koalas.
Forests NSW North East Region manager Craig Busby said Forests NSW wanted to emphasise to the general public that the timber harvesting proposed for Pine Creek State Forest was from a hardwood plantation.
"The plantation was established with eucalypts in the late 1960s and early 1970s and was thinned by Forests NSW in 2001," he said.
"The local community, including members of both the Bellingen Environment Centre and the National Parks Association, were consulted regarding the proposed harvesting operations and their input has been incorporated into the final plan.
"Forests NSW planners undertook an assessment of koala habitat in the area during the planning of this operation in conjunction with members of local environmental groups.
"Koala protection zones from the Pine Creek State Forest Koala Management Plan have been applied and additional measures have been implemented above and beyond this.
"Further, Forests NSW will replant the plantation with koala preferred eucalypt species as well as eucalypt species preferred for sawlogs, both of which occur naturally in these forests."
Harvesting is proposed to begin early next week in approximately 50 hectares of the 150 hectare compartment.
"The timber to be harvested is predominantly flooded gum with some blackbutt, both of which are in strong demand from local sawmills," Mr Busby said.
"Forests NSW believes that this plantation harvesting and replanting will deliver an excellent, balanced outcome for both the local timber industry and koalas."
Notably in 2003, 2786 hectares of the former Pine Creek State Forest was transferred to the conservation estate and added to Bongil Bongil National Park.
This transfer included 81 per cent of the mapped high quality koala habitat in the Pine Creek State Forest.
"When we look at the protection offered to koala habitat in this region, both within the State forests and in the surrounding National Parks, we can be confident that both the local timber industry and koalas will continue to thrive together," Mr Busby said.
Media contact: Sarah Chester (02) 6036 2110 or 0417 207 669