The identification and protection of habitat for threatened and endangered species, including the Swift Parrot, is a priority. In every timber harvesting operation of NSW State forests there are robust regulations that were specifically developed with input from expert scientific panels to provide a high level of protection for threatened species during forestry operations within the broader forested landscape that is predominately managed for conservation.
These regulations ensure:
- 83 per cent of public forests are permanently protected and never harvested for timber, largely in the formal national park estate
- 43 per cent of the State forest estate is protected via permanent retention of areas such as rainforest and old growth forests, wetlands and riparian zones, threatened ecological communities, ridge and headwater habitat and rocky outcrops
- A further 10-13 per cent of the available harvest area in Coastal State forests is identified and permanently retained in habitat clumps containing trees with valuable habitat features
- Less than one per cent of State forests is harvested in any given year and each of these operations is carefully planned to ensure hollow-bearing trees, giant-trees and various nest, den, roost trees and nectar or feed trees are protected and at the conclusion of operations, each harvest area is completely regrown.
Swift Parrot habitat on State forest
In NSW, critical Swift Parrot habitat is the flowering resource rather than nesting habitat. The flowering resource is widespread and sporadic and the birds respond through their mobility, with Swift Parrots recorded in Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour and through the Riverina.
The available habitat for Swift Parrots includes permanent conservation reserves such as national parks as well as State forests. Timber harvesting only takes place in a very small proportion of the State forests in this area and surveys and broad area habitat searches are carried out prior to every forestry operation to identify records and ensure suitable habitat is set aside. In addition, Forestry Corporation staff are involved in annual coordinated Swift Parrot survey. Each forestry operation complies with specific prescriptions that require nectar trees to be identified and retained throughout the harvest area where Swift Parrots have previously been recorded. This ensures the ongoing availability of flowering resources throughout the entire forest estate notwithstanding harvesting operations.
Impact of the 2019-20 fires
While the 2019-20 fire season impacted large areas, the severity of fire impact was not uniform across the landscape. Fire severity is important to consider, as areas affected by low severity fire are expected to have less impact and quicker recovery than areas burnt at high severity. In line with the precautionary principle, Forestry Corporation has carried out an environmental assessment that takes into account the mapped fire severity across the landscape, which is available on our website.
Sightings of Swift Parrots continue to be recorded in close vicinity to recent harvesting operations, suggesting that the management conditions within State forests continue to provide sufficient foraging resources for Swift parrots to continue to use forests that have been harvested for timber.
Long-term monitoring programs are being developed specifically for Swift Parrots to continually assess the effectiveness of the conditions regulating forestry operations and inform future management.