Logging adds to fire risk
Peter Rutherford's letter (BDN 3/8) omitted the fact that he is a long time employee of the Eden woodchipping industry, so it is not surprising that he has a particular perspective on native forest management. His argument, that logging reduces fire risk, simply does not stand up.

Indeed, logging increases fire risk, starting with the large quantities of highly flammable debris left behind every logging operation.
But it doesn't stop there. Increased fire risk lasts far beyond the following bushfire season; it's there for the next 45 or more years.
Forests in this region remain more fire prone today because of the intensive logging from the first decades of the woodchipping industry and will be so for many years to come.

Even-aged young trees of uniform height in a dense, dry regrowth forest are always a greater fire hazard than a mature moist forest. Even when it inevitably ends, the legacy of the woodchipping industry will be more fire prone forests in this region for decades to come.

Next time Mr Rutherford writes a letter like this, I think he owes it to readers to declare his interest in the woodchipping industry.


Convener, Chipstop campaign against woodchipping

Peter Rutherford's letter, published in Merimbula News Weekly, Eden Magnet, Bega District News:

Like Diana Gillies, I also fear for the future of our forests. I fear that people actually believe the opinions of Mr Sweeney or anyone from the NSW National Parks Association, because fear campaigns are for raising campaign funds, not providing sustainable ecological solutions.

It appears that Ms Gillies is not aware of the blackest days of January and February 2003, when 60 per cent (over 400,000 hectares) of Koscuiszko National Park was incinerated by mega fires. This area was about 13 percent of the 2,400,000 hectares of the main range, between Canberra and Myrtleford, that was incinerated during the 2002-03 mega fires.

Like Nero, Ms Gillies and her armchair activist associates fiddle about native forest harvesting, while our supposedly "protected" forests are decimated by wildfires.

What is Mr Sweeney's solution to the biggest threats of mega fires, feral animals and predation, that are devastating our biodiversity across the whole continent?

A tiny fraction of the total native forest estate is still available for timber harvesting. But, these forests continue to be a critical fundraiser for the activist organisations that pay people like Mr Sweeney to run their scare campaigns.

Peter Rutherford, Merimbula