Protecting Nature through Community Action

Anne Dickson, 
President, National Parks Association of NSW

Australia is a world leader in extinctions yet there are plans to continue to destroy swathes of natural forests that are home to wildlife found nowhere else on earth.  

Why would you want bushfires to increase by eroding the natural defences of moist forests, making them drier and more fire prone? Why would you want to reduce water supplies to our growing coastal towns and cities? Why would you knowingly increase carbon emissions when they are causing our climate to become more hostile and why do we subsidise an industry in decline? What sense is there in native forest logging when these are the consequences?

We have two million hectares of public native forest along the coast of NSW where logging takes place under Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs). These agreements have failed economically, environmentally and socially yet both state and federal governments intend to extend them.

Imagine if these wonderful forests became free of logging and instead were places where brush-tailed phascogales and squirrel gliders had the hollows in old trees that they need to survive, were lantana is kept at bay due to an intact canopy and where koala populations are increasing rather than decreasing. Imagine if forests became the cornerstone of thriving regional communities. Imagine native forests for all rather than for a declining logging industry.

NPA has a vision for natural state forests free of logging with appropriate protection for wildlife. It would mean opportunities for walking, horse-riding, cycling and appreciating nature, without being affronted by clear-felled land.  It would mean the supporting infrastructure would be ecologically sensitive and it would mean new business opportunities and new jobs in conservation, recreation and tourism. Coastal water supplies would be protected and carbon kept in the forests. It would mean putting nature conservation and the health, wellbeing and economic future of our communities first.   

This is not an easy vision to achieve and we can only achieve it with your help. We know from recent polling in Ballina and Lismore that the vast majority of people (90%) support protecting public native forests for wildlife, water supplies, carbon stores and recreation.  We now need the government to listen.  There are many ways you can help. It may be as simple as joining the conversation, or helping financially, or you may be able to contribute your time to the work to be done.  Let us know what works for you. Anne Dickson: president@npansw.org.au

 

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