Call for halt to Yambulla logging

The South East Region Conservation Alliance (SERCA) is calling for an immediate halt to logging in Yambulla State Forest, on the far south coast near the Victorian border.

In a letter to the Minister for the Environment, Matt Kean, the group cites a new government report indicating that logging will almost certainly lead to the regional extinction of the Yellow-bellied Glider. 

The Yellow-bellied glider is listed as vulnerable in NSW and was identified as a species requiring urgent management intervention by the federal Government’s Wildlife and Threatened Species Bushfire Recovery Expert Panel.

Spokesperson for SERCA, Harriett Swift said that the summer bushfires and the long history of intensive logging in Yambulla have created a crisis for the forest and any surviving wildlife.

“Logging in these circumstances is unethical and reckless. To virtually guarantee the local extinction of this glider for a yield of charcoal contaminated woodchips defies logic,” Ms Swift said.

According to approval documents on the Forestry Corporation website, Yambulla compartments 345A, 350A, 355A and 357A are yielding 100% pulp logs for woodchipping.

The Yambulla operations are currently the only active logging on the South Coast, after stop work orders and difficulties meeting environmental standards halted or delayed all others.

Eighty percent of State Forest available for logging was burnt in the summer bushfires and since then logging has gone ahead under special “site specific” approvals for logging in burnt forest.

Recent reports quote logging contractors saying that they are not able to comply with the site specific approval conditions and still make a profit.

Ms Swift said that an operation yielding 100% woodchips for export cannot be justified on the grounds that this is an essential industry.

“Indeed, we cannot even be sure that the chipmill will find a buyer for the woodchips, since charcoal contamination is generally unacceptable in the industry,” she said.

The SERCA call comes after reports this week that the Environment Protection Authority and the Forestry Corporation are at loggerheads over conditions under which burnt forest can be logged.

Reports suggest that the Forestry Corporation has told the EPA that it will not abide by site specific approval rules and intends to resume logging under the old pre-bushfire rules.

“This is just another example of how out of touch with reality the logging industry is,” she said.


25 September 2020