An attack on a comprehensive system of protection

As part of their new Integrated Forestry Operations Approval (IFOA) the NSW government is proposing a review of mapped old growth forest protected for the past 20 years.

The intention is to make large areas of old growth in state forests available for logging in order to make up a saw log shortfall of 10,000 cubic metres per annum on the North Coast.

These forests were identified and mapped in a rigorous process under the supervision of all agencies and key stakeholders in an open and transparent process involving an Old Growth Expert Panel in 1998.

The mapped High Conservation Value (HCV) old growth, rainforest and wilderness in state forests were protected from logging in management zones in 1999, most being included in Special Management Zones protected under the Forestry Act 1916.

These areas were identified as part of the comprehensive, adequate and representative reserve system and counted as contributing to reserve targets for old growth, forest ecosystems, national estate, fauna, flora and Centres of Endemism in the 2000 Regional Forest Agreement.

Mapped HCV old growth forests in the Upper North East are also legally protected as a heritage item under the NSW Heritage Act 1977 plus an additional 20,000 ha of old growth was included in Special Management Zones in 2003.

The Office of Environment and Heritage has been responsible for reviewing old growth and rainforest mapping on private lands – this has resulted in mapped old growth and rainforest wrongly deleted.

The opening up of protected old growth for logging involves opening areas included in the informal reserve system for a multitude of conservation values.

It is not just an attack on old growth, it is an attack on the state and Commonwealth's agreed Comprehensive, Adequate and Representative Reserve System.