New South Wales Environment Protection Authority fines state's forestry agency AU$45,000 for breaching post-fire logging regulations in 2020; Forestry Corp. cut mature habitat trees in Mogo State Forest, home to numerous threatened species

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CHIPPENDALE, Australia , March 15, 2022 (press release) –

NSW Forestry Corporation logging contractors cut down at least 70 mature habitat trees in Mogo State Forest on the South Coast in clear contravention of post-fire logging regulations, a NSW Environment Protection Authority investigation has found. 

The EPA has ordered Forestry Corporation to pay $45,000 for three separate breaches of Site-Specific Operating Conditions (SSOC) for Mogo State Forest Compartments 17A, 161A and 173A between May and December 2020. 

The results of the lengthy EPA investigation have only just been made public. [See attached penalty notices.] This brings to $78,000 the fines applied to Forestry Corporation for offences committed in the past three years in Eurobodalla Shire alone. 

Mogo State Forest is home to threatened species including powerful owls, greater gliders, gang gang cockatoos, yellow-bellied gliders and an important food source for the critically endangered swift parrots. 

Gang gangs [1] and yellow-bellied gliders [2] recently had their threat status upgraded, largely because the 2019-20 Black Summer bushfires have made their survival more precarious. 

The EPA was alerted to the breaches by volunteers of Coastwatchers Association Inc. who conducted thorough inspections of the forest after logging operations were completed. 

The EPA investigation was prompted by the detailed photographic evidence with GPS coordinates that Coastwatchers provided. 

Coastwatchers spokesperson Nick Hopkins, whose own home was destroyed by the fires, said: “The destruction of vital habitat trees so soon after the Black Summer bushfires was utterly appalling. Hollow bearing trees were scattered all over the forest floor like dismembered corpses. 

“Our members recorded at least 70 tree hollows that logging contractors had cut down in clear breach of the post-fire orders. 

“These hollows are critical for many species that bore the brunt of the catastrophic fires. 

“The recent decisions by the Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley to upgrade the threat status of some forests species was directly linked to the Black Summer fires. 

“At the end of the day, our own government is responsible for this vandalism. Forestry Corporation is owned by the NSW Government, so ultimately the government is responsible.” 

Nature Conservation Council Chief Executive said: “This incident should give the board and senior management at Forestry Corporation pause for thought about the role the organisation is playing in the management of our forests  

“NSW state forests are not simply a natural resource – they are critical ecosystems that are not only vital for our wildlife, they are essential for wellbeing of our society. 

“Forestry Corporation should not merely be a supplier of timber. It should be a world leader in sustainable forest management. These fines show just how far the corporation has to go to reach that standard.” 

REFERENCES 

[1] Gang-gang cockatoo to become threatened species after large drop in bird numbers, 1-3-22, The Guardian  

[2] Federal listing of yellowbellied gliders as threatened is another reason to end native forest logging in NSW, 7-3-22 Nature Conservation Council. See also the Federal Environment Department Species" target="_blank" >https://www.environment.gov.au/cgi-bin/sprat/public/publicspecies.pl?taxon_id=87600">Species Profile and Threats Database.  

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Dan Rivard
Dan Rivard
- VP Market Development -

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