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Expiry of first Regional Forest Agreement offers opportunity to end the forest wars

Wednesday the 3rd February is a milestone in the long and chequered history of native forest management in Australia. The first Regional Forest Agreement (RFA) expires in East Gippsland following 20 years of destructive logging. Instead of just extending them, prolonging conflict and driving species towards the edge, now is the time to chart a new course says the National Parks Association of NSW (NPA).

Regional Forest Agreements are 20-year deals between the state and federal governments that permit the logging of public native forests. Across Australia, almost 7 million hectares of native eucalyptus forests are logged under 10 RFAs[1]. The RFAs were an attempt to marry conservation, logging and recreation to bring an end to the ‘forest wars’ that pitted conservationists against the logging industry. They haven’t worked.

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Review of evidence concludes Regional Forest Agreements a failed model for forest management  (Parks Protection News)

Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs) that have been the framework for public forest management in NSW for 20 years have failed to achieve any of their top-line aims, a new study has found.

The Agreements, which were the centrepiece of the peace deal that ended the “Forest Wars” of the 1980s and 1990s, were supposed to lead to:

  • Creation of a comprehensive, adequate and representative system of forest reserves;
  • Implementation and enforcement of ecologically sustainable forest management practices;
  • Development of a viable, ecologically sustainable timber industry;
  • Ongoing research into ecological, economic, and social aspect of forest management.