16 Feb 2021 - Joanna Bodley
Forestry Corporation of NSW (Forestry Corporation) is recommencing timber harvesting on the South Coast and Eden with additional environmental safeguards and restates our commitment to ecologically sustainable forest management which ensures good environmental outcomes.
Daniel Tuan, General Manager Hardwood Forests said Forestry Corporation has been working constructively with the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) for the last 15 months to negotiate site-specific operating conditions for each harvesting operation in bushfire-affected coastal forests on a case-by-case basis. But progress has been too slow to avert the imminent closure of the timber industry on the South Coast and Eden and the loss of jobs in local communities which will occur if timber harvesting does not recommence.
“We believe the additional environmental safeguards we have proposed provide the right balance which Forestry Corporation is required to strike between environmental considerations; the need to support the regional communities reliant on timber industry jobs; and meet its supply commitments with small family businesses and key local mills,” Mr Tuan said.
In the coming weeks Forestry Corporation will recommence renewable timber harvesting on the South Coast and Eden to meet the conditions of the Government’s ruleset for native forest harvesting, the Coastal Integrated Forestry Operations Approval (CIFOA) which binds Forestry Corporation and the EPA and already prescribes protections for wildlife, soil and water and enables sustainable timber to be produced and the trees regrown.
“To this ruleset we will add additional environmental safeguards in recognition of the impacts of the 2019-2020 bushfires. Operations will be on a temporary basis until the results of the wide-ranging review by the National Resources Commission, due later in 2021 with which Forestry Corporation continues to co-operate,” Mr Tuan said.
The additional environmental safeguards include:
- Greater numbers of habitat trees retained in each operation
- Large areas excluded from harvesting at both the Local Landscape Area and Operational Area levels
- Additional ecology surveys
- Additional buffers on all riverbank and environmental protection zones which are already excluded from harvesting.
‘’We will put in place robust operating procedures to manage compliance with the additional safeguards and share the outcomes,” Mr Tuan said.
Australian native forests naturally regrow after fires and that regeneration is well underway in many areas.
“The hardwood timber industry is a major contributor to employment and economic activity on the South Coast and Eden. We believe this temporary solution strikes the right balance between supporting regional jobs and communities with ecologically sustainable forest management,” Mr Tuan said.
Media contact: Joanna Bodley 0427939543