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Logging of Bermagui forest is providing a perfect example of how Australia’s laws to protect wildlife are not working, according to forest campaigner, Ms Harriett Swift.
Ms Swift, who is convener of the Chipstop campaign against woodchipping says that wildlife in State Forests covered by a Regional Forest Agreement (RFA) do not have the protection of the Commonwealth’s principal environment law, the Environment Protection & Biodiversity Conservation Act.
“Commonwealth and State Governments assume that the RFAs are sufficient to protect them when this is patently not true,” Ms Swift says.
She says that in Bermagui forest, where logging resumed on 10 September, about 1,000 of the highly endangered swift parrots were sighted feeding during their winter migration.
“In spite of this, no meaningful measures are being applied to protect them from the logging of their feed trees.”
Forests NSW says in its Harvest Plan that it will keep 5 trees per hectare for the parrots, but, in practice, this means nothing extra for them.
The 5 trees to be saved are likely to be the same 5 trees that have been saved for every other purpose, such as a ‘recruitment,’ habitat and so on. They are just adding another label onto the same trees.
“These parrots are critically endangered, with only about 1,000 pairs altogether left in the wild, and yet our Governments are prepared to do nothing to save them from extinction.
She says that while Forests NSW must jump through various bureaucratic hoops in the name of protecting threatened species before logging is done, they never do surveys after logging to see whether these measures actually work.
“It is time that the RFAs were scrapped and wildlife given meaningful protection from logging,” she says.
20 September 2009