Concern about preparations for logging near the headwaters of the Kalang River has prompted environmental activists to call a public meeting for Wednesday June 26.
Last week, Paul Hill from the Kalang River Forest Alliance took a small group from Bellingen Environment Centre and North East Forest Alliance to inspect work he had noticed was happening in Roses Creek State Forest.
"What's started up there is the roading," Paul said. "There's a bulldozer and one of those small excavators with a chipper head on it.
"They've opened up a new road, which is like a two-lane highway going down along a ridge. And halfway up at Wyendah they've cleared a log dump area."
Paul said it was steep country that drains straight into the Kalang and it was highly prone to erosion.
"My concern is that any disturbance up there will affect the river. This is the most erodible area on the east coast, by Forestry's own soil studies."
However, a spokesperson from Forestry Corporation NSW said the timber harvesting has been planned over several years with "detailed ecological surveys, cultural heritage surveys and soil and water assessments undertaken as part of the planning process".
"In the Kalang River catchment there is extensive mapping of rainforest, old growth and steep slopes and all of this is excluded from any disturbance during harvesting," the spokesperson said.
"We are also proposing to extend the buffer zone on the Kalang River from 50 metres to 100 metres, which means the areas to be harvested are quite remote from the river itself and we are confident that water quality will not be compromised by the harvesting activities."
This documentary from 2017 depicts the beauty and unique ecosystem of the Kalang area and discusses past and future logging operations:
Catherine Jones said the area below where the logging would occur is rich in aquatic life, including platypus, yabbies, crayfish and turtles.
Local residents have also seen and heard koalas and one has a spotted quoll as a regular visitor.
"This is a very special ecosystem with old growth and rainforest snuggled in between Roses Creek State Forest, Scotchman's State Forest and Oakes State Forest," she said.
The Forestry spokesperson confirmed that "Roading operations are currently underway and harvesting will likely start next month".
The community meeting will be held at the Worship Centre near the Uniting Church on Wednesday June 26 at 6pm.
- This story was updated on June 24 to include a response from Forestry Corporation of NSW