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Koalas need protection from logging in NSW

Logging is set to start within weeks in a forest that supports the last known koala colony on the NSW far south coast.  There has been a fractious debate between staff from the Department of Environment and Climate Change, which managed the koala research effort, and Forests NSW, the government agency that will manage the logging operation.

The marsupials are listed as a vulnerable species in NSW, but there is controversy over how many are still alive in the wild.

SMH article

Early results showed evidence of koalas at about 50 sites in forest between Gulaga and the Mumbulla mountains.

Based on these findings, the NSW Environment Department issued a statement which described Mumbulla as ''a stronghold of the species'' on the far South Coast.
Timber harvesting in Yabbra Forest near Casino late last year damaged areas used by the highly endangered black-striped wallaby, koalas and yellow-bellied gliders, among several other protected native species, according to an independent report.  A high proportion of trees used by koalas and gliders had been felled and some buffer zones around waterways had been ignored.

Greens MP and south east NSW spokesperson Lee Rhiannon has called on Premier Kristina Kenneally to step in to save a koala population under threat from logging in the Mumbulla State Forest. The NSW Premier should hang her head in shame if she allows the last known koala habitat on the far south coast to be destroyed on her watch, Ms Rhiannon said.

Forests NSW has indicated that logging in Mumbulla State Forest will start early in March 2010.

see the map of the area

According to the Australian Koala Foundation, koalas are in serious decline suffering from the effects of habitat destruction, domestic dog attacks, bushfires and road accidents. The Australian Koala Foundation estimates that there are less than 80,000 koalas left in the wild, possibly as few as 43,000. 

There are four states where koalas occur in the wild - Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia - and each state has its own legislation.

The Federal Government passes responsibility for protection of koala habitat to the states.

The NSW Government first listed the koala as ‘Rare and Vulnerable’ in 1992 and this status was later reaffirmed as ‘VULNERABLE’ within the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995. In recognition of the continuing decline of koalas and koala habitat in NSW, in early 1995, the NSW Government introduced State Environment Planning Policy No 44 - Koala Habitat Protection (SEPP 44).

This is the first state-wide species-specific planning policy introduced by any government in Australia. This Policy aims to encourage the proper conservation and management of areas of natural vegetation that provide habitat for koalas to ensure a permanent free-living population over their present range and reverse the current trend of koala population decline:
(a) by requiring the preparation of plans of management before development consent can be granted
in relation to areas of core koala habitat, and
(b) by encouraging the identification of areas of core koala habitat, and
(c) by encouraging the inclusion of areas of core koala habitat in environment protection zones.

Reported: Two other scat sites were located in Murrah SF that team participants concluded were likely to be koala scat but further analyses were unable to provide definite confirmation of this (B. Triggs pers. comm.). One of these scats, collected at 766574/5955437 could only have been from very young animal if it was from a koala .

Even one koala means that it is koala habitat.  Destroying potential habitat is adding to the threat!

Our relationship with non-human species is ambivalent and there are some species that serve our interests, for resources or companionship, and others that are treated as novelties and thus seemingly without any real purpose. There is so much indifference to Australia's original native inhabitants, and our environment, and our extinction record is the worst in the world.  In the last 200 years nearly 40% of mammal species that have disappeared are from Australia (WWF figures).

With increased urban living, population growth and cultural diversity, we as a society are becoming divorced from Nature and our unique land.  As an aggressive, and arrogance self-centred species, we humans could easily eradicate our native animals, even flagship ones like kangaroos and koalas.  They are all on the extinction trail, and all vulnerable to attacks by humans who see them as no more than vermin or rodents - optional features without any real value that can even be killed for sadistic entertainment or steal their homes for selfish interests.

We as a society embrace the suffering baby koala hit a close range, but ignore the on-going savagery of land-clearing and urban sprawl.  Losing trees makes koalas vulnerable to sadistic humans, stress, starvation and roving dogs.

Koalas should be declared Endangered now, before it is too late to save these world-famous flagship and much-loved animals.

Our governments have hijacked long-term interests in Australia's biodiversity for the short-term benefits of jobs, population growth and profits.

Please contact those below to send your objections:

Department of Climate Change, Water, NSW
Head office
59-61 Goulburn Street, Sydney
PO Box A290, Sydney South NSW 1232
Phone: +61 2 9995 5000

Mr Frank Sartor, MP
Minister for Climate Change and the Environment
Minister Assisting the Minister for Health (Cancer)
telephone: (02) 9597 1414
fax: (02) 9567 0508
Address: Shop 3A, 452  Princes Highway, ROCKDALE NSW 2216

The Hon. Ian Macdonald, BA(Hons) MLC
Minister for State and Regional Development
Minister for Mineral and Forest Resources
Minister for the Central Coast
Telephone: (02) 9228 3344
Fax: (02) 9228 3452
Address: Governor Macquarie Tower
Level 36, 1  Farrer Place, SYDNEY NSW 2000

The Hon. Tony Kelly, ALGA MLC
Minister for Planning
Minister for Infrastructure
Minister for Lands
Deputy Leader of the Government in the Legislative Council
Leader of the House in the Legislative Council
    (02) 9228 3999
    (02) 9228 3988
Street Address:
    Governor Macquarie Tower
Level 34, 1  Farrer Place, SYDNEY NSW 2000

Send a letter to Peter Garrett, and our Prime Minister. Click on the link

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Koalas or forestry?
Why is Forest NSW determined to log koala habitat at Mumbulla on the far south coast?
Who has been stopping the release of DECC’s koala survey? Surely the people of Bega Valley have the right to be informed when:
- forests from Bermagui to Tathra are due to be logged despite insufficient surveys for wildlife or effect on downstream industries
- less than 3 years of saw logs are available
- the native forest woodchip market is well down with no recovery in sight
- when FNSW is losing money from this public, i.e., “free” resource, $14.4ml last financial year
- NSW Government can declared force majeur on contracts with loggers
- south eastern forests are in trouble, losing the vital diversity of species necessary for their ability to adapt to changing climatic conditions
- science clearly tells us that logging forests make them more fire prone changing from wet to dry sclerophyll types
- Tourism is growing despite the GFC and koalas are the iconic Aussie image
- it is not just koalas that are endangered or threatened in south east forests
- polls show 77% of respondents do not want native forest logging
Surely this is the perfect time for NSW to get out of virtually all native forest logging with benefits to: climate, water and wildlife?
You can find out more at, South East Region Conservation Alliance (SERCA)

The Brisbane Courier mail carries a story today about an attempt to save koala habitat and a resulting shortfall in building of 1/4 million houses as the land is badly needed for a growing human population. There is some dispute about the mapping of the areas designated as critical koala habitat because (as I interpret the article ) of low numbers-However it is yet another clash of human expansion and the needs of native fauna. On reading the article the future for the Koala in the south east Queensland area looks pretty grim.

Koalas are under threat from logging due to start on NSW's south coast as early as Monday, conservationists say.

A study done by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) confirms there is a small but viable koala colony in the Mumbulla and Murrah state forests, which lie between Bermagui and Bega.

We in Australia are obsessed by economic returns and jobs at the expense of our environmental heritage and the little value being put on wildlife and their habitat. Jobs are only temporal. Koala numbers are under threat in Queensland and NSW. Surely timber can be found elsewhere? It is far more important to keep our environment intact and protect our native animals. These loggers have too much destructive power.

Please contact the Premier of NSW to stop this vandalism.

It's not all of us who are obsessed. It's the feral colonial governments with their corporate mates.
We need crowds to stop those bulldozers.

Thank you for highlighting this continuing threat Vivienne.

I have direct contact with the conservation campaigners onsite down at Mumbulla and Murrah State Forests. See Article

Tiger Quoll
Snowy River 3885

I have been told that a major reason that natural growth and old growth logging continues is that it is sold to the loggers far more cheaply than plantation timber can possibly sell. Although the Australian public owns and they should be available for posterity, our forests are being marketed by governments at a huge financial loss and, of course, at cost of our co-species and, ultimately, human survival. Most or all of our political leaders are no better than commercial nazis. should do an investigation of how much we subsidise the loggers and a price comparison and find out exactly who is responsible today for this ongoing historical con.

I should add that it is well-known that foresty departments have been traditionally staffed by loggers.

It is a shame that you Vivienne, are not unlike the people who make these decisions, and do not come form the bush.
It is not the loggers that are causing the decline of koalas, but bushfires. National Parks and Wildlife lock everything up and leave it. This allows the undergrowth, and fallen trees, branches to build up. When a bushfire occurs, there is so much fuel that the trees are burnt to the top along with koalas. No one survives. Victoria is a prime example of this. Back burning is neccessary to save koalas, and the loggers who make roads aka fire trails through the bush are actually protecting them.
When will people learn....