NO ELECTRICITY FROM FORESTS
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TURNING BACK THE CLOCK ON CLEAR-FELLING
The NSW government is proposing to change the current logging rules to allow clear-felling of areas of up to 45ha in forests between Granfton and Taree; a 180-fold increase in intensification of logging. (The current limit is 0.25ha!)
FIGHT FOR THE FORESTS- WHY THIS IS NECESSARY
The present industry plan, supported by government and Forestry Corporation, is to massively increase clear felling of native forests, under minimum regulatory control and either wood chip or use whole logs to burn them for electricity generation on the North Coast,(Bulahdelah, Kempsey and Grafton are considered possible sites by some) or to export markets in countries such as Japan, China, Korea and Europe for the same purpose.
Future industry resources demands are estimated as more than an extra one million tons per year. They will be guaranteed under seriously flawed Regional Forest Agreements for the next 20 years. Past harvesting practice suggests the projected volumes are widely over estimated, especially if they are kept within the proper environmental limits needed to protect biodiversity and are unsustainable.
Current harvesting volumes are already having serious detrimental effects on our fragile forest ecosystems and climate. Further intensive harvesting of wood to be used as fuel to produce electricity is destructive and senseless.
Logging for fuel will be done on such a scale that it can only have disastrous consequences: - the replacement of the existing extremely diverse forest communities on the North Coast with mono cultural plantations, leading to them becoming biological deserts with mass extinctions of many threatened and endangered species of flora and fauna.
SELLING OFF OUR FOREST FUTURE TO OVERSEAS MARKETS
Demand from lucrative overseas markets in Europe, Japan and Chinafor woodchips for fuel will intensify logging
Koalas found in our local forests have been severely affected by loss of habitat already – their numbers have declined by as much as 50% over the past 15- 20 years in our region due in no small part to overcutting, illegal clearing and generally poor controls of forest logging. What will be the population in another 20 years?
Forest industries and local companies have been organising for some time (since at least 2011 and perhaps earlier) and have invested heavily in plant and equipment and public relations helped by their political friends at both at federal, state and local government level. This includes financial support and government subsidies and grants. There are credible estimates of an existing State subsidy of over 11 million dollars per annum*. (Australia Institute: “Money doesn’t Grow on Trees”)
It will require intensified logging of forests on private land and some in the Forest industry sector are seeking to allow logging in National Parks to expand resource availability to meet the projected demand.
By some estimates there are only 600 people employed in the NSW timber industry. The promised job increases are limited by further automation and mechanisation and will be short term as they overcut the resource.
Highly mechanised industrial forestry practices compound environmental damage, and is akin to mining, as the forest will not be able sustain the volumes of timber needed to continue operations. They will run out of supply, leaving the public with seriously degraded forests with a host of many long term negative impacts. These will be felt throughout the community for generations to come.
Climate change is another serious consideration. There are many adverse climate change impacts from harvesting trees. Our standing forests have an important role to play as carbon sinks and they should be allowed to function as such. Burning wood, a carbon-based fuel, will produce massive CO2 emissions equivalent or worse than burning coal.
FAILURE OF PROPER GOVERNANCE
The Forestry Corporation has failed to properly administer the necessary regulatory frameworks to maintain public confidence in them managing our forests.
The Forest Corporation should be acting as guardian of forest. There has been a total lack of transparent and accountable practices. The industry increasingly acts as a law unto itself with a culture which ignores the need for proper scientific environmental assessments to ensure adequate protection for wildlife and the development and application of other environmental safeguards.
IRRATIONAL DECISIONS THAT HARM FURURE GENERATION
Currently, taxpayers fork out an average of $11m per annum to cover losses incurred by hardwood logging by the Forestry Corporation NSW. This money is far better spent on schools, hospitals, and transitioning to proven renewable sources such as wind and solar.
These are our forests. We must have a say in how they are managed. How can the public have any faith in the reviews underway which seem to have predetermined outcomes revealed in FC and Industry pronouncements and documents.
We must call for the current review of RFA s to be broadened to be an Independent Commission of Enquiry. All current practices and future proposals by the Forest Corporation and forest industries must be independently assessed and changed.
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