Recent media coverage[1] detailing Forestry Tasmania’s dismal audit by the Forest Stewardship Council clearly highlights the folly of the NSW government’s ongoing ‘remake’ of the Integrated Forestry Operations Approvals (IFOAs) says the National Parks Association of NSW (NPA).

Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification is the international standard used to identify products from well-managed forests[2]. Certification is highly sought after by the native forest logging industry as it seeks a social license for logging operations that environment organisations across Australia condemn as highly destructive.

Forestry Tasmania’s chairman, Bob Annells, told the Tasmanian parliament that the FSC audit highlighted three areas where Forestry Tasmania needed to clean up its act:

  1. The ongoing clear felling of old-growth forests
  2. Protection of threatened species habitat, including the swift parrot and;
  3. The methodology used to identify threatened species habitat.

But what relevance does this have for NSW? Lots, according to NPA Science Officer, Dr Oisín Sweeney:

“As part of the IFOA remake the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) engaged the Forest Practices Authority of Tasmania (FPA) to be a supposed independent reviewer of the IFOA remake[3],”

“Given that the FPA is the Tasmanian regulatory body which has overseen the continued logging of old-growth forest and the disastrous decline in swift parrot numbers, how on earth does it make sense to seek their advice as to how to regulate logging in NSW?”

“A field assessment of the IFOA remake by an independent ecologist concluded that the remakes, which will shorten the logging cycle to between 7 and 10 years, would ‘result in the implementation of virtual plantation forestry’ and will ‘most likely result in the eventual loss of most of the habitat attributes providing resources essential to the life cycles of threatened species[4]. Not surprising when you consider the FSC audit in Tasmania.”

“We think the citizens of NSW would be horrified if they knew this was in store for our public native forests and the animals that live in them” Dr Sweeney said.

NPA CEO, Mr Kevin Evans said, “Environment groups in NSW are united in their opposition to native forest logging because they know it’s environmentally reckless.”

“You can put lipstick on a pig but it doesn’t fool anyone. This FSC audit calls the industry’s bluff: FSC accreditation isn’t possible for the native logging industry because it’s simply too damaging to our forests. The IFOA remakes are an attempt to legitimise the mining of timber from public forests to meet over-estimated timber quotas.”

“The public doesn’t want wood products that cost the lives of koalas, gliders and quolls. The public wants peace of mind that their wood products come from well-managed and demonstrably sustainable sources.”

“A look at time lapse images on Google Earth[5] is horrifying. Logging in NSW is not ‘selective’ or ‘sustainable’. It’s clear felling, pure and simple. It’s scary to think the IFOA remake will make this worse.”

“If this happened in Indonesia or the Amazon people would be shocked. Why do we let it happen here? It’s time to end this madness and complete the transition to plantations” Mr Evans concluded.

[1] http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-12-04/forestry-tasmania-needs-to-change-more-practices-to-gain-accred/7000986?section=tas
[2] https://au.fsc.org/en/about-fsc
[3] http://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/forestagreements/coastIFOAs.htm
[4] D. Milledge: Brief report on a field inspection to demonstrate proposed changes to IFOA prescriptions designed to protect threatened species and their habitats during forestry operations, compartment 10, Queens Lake State Forest, 30 June 2015
[5] Before and after pictures prepared by Dr Oisín Sweeney from publically available images on Google Earth

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