The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has categorically denied the statements made by the North Eastern Forestry Alliance (NEFA) about the effects of logging on koalas.
The furore began after the Bellingen Shire Courier-Sun ran an article quoting NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh about recent findings of an EPA koala mapping study.
Mr Pugh said research by the EPA assessed koala populations in four north coast state forests and they (EPA) found higher koala activity is “positively correlated with greater abundance and diversity of local koala feed trees, trees and forest structure of a more mature size, class, and areas of least disturbance”.
However, in a stern statement to the Bellingen Shire Courier-Sun, an EPA spokesperson said “there was some misleading information in your stories about koala mapping published last week”.
“The EPA’s Koala Habitat Mapping Pilot (the recent EPA study you refer to) did not assess koala populations; nor did it assess the impacts of wildfire, logging or the trends in koala populations in state forests,” the spokesperson said.
“The purpose of The EPA’s Koala Habitat Mapping Pilot project was to test the adequacy of three different mapping methods to map koala habitat in areas subject to forestry in NSW public forests.
“The main finding of the pilot was that the mapping methods tested were not accurate enough for the purposes of managing koalas and their habitat in state forests, and that further study was needed. This is now underway.
“The NSW Government is continuing to undertake further research to improve its understanding of where koala habitat occurs, and ensure a precautionary approach can be taken to managing koala habitat and populations under the remake of the four coastal Integrated Forestry Operations Approvals.”