Gumbaynggirr sacred fire lit on Horseshoe Road

Twenty kilometres off Waterfall Way along the high, dusty ridgeline that is the Horseshoe Road, you'll find a protest camp called the Biodiversity Embassy.

The vanguard of action to prevent logging of native forest around the headwaters of the Kalang River, the camp threw open its tent flaps on Sunday to welcome about 200 people.

They came to see the lie of the land, to participate in a sacred fire lighting and smoking ceremony, to enjoy a picnic with music, and to strengthen their collective resolve to preserve the rich flora and fauna of Scotchman and Roses Creek state forests.

Ecologist Mark Graham said it's been a privilege to be camping up there for the last month, sharing the space with koalas, potoroos, spotted quolls, glossy black cockatoos and greater gliders.

"These forests are globally significant," he told the crowd. "We're in the middle of a super highway of nature that goes from down near Urunga right through this massive chunk of forest through the Kalang valley and beyond Point Lookout.

"We're here because we don't want any logging to happen at all in these forests. The type of industrial logging that the Forestry Corporation is proposing is simply not compatible with the environmental values that we've found in this forest."

Pointing south and west from the camp, Mark indicated the compartments of Roses Creek State Forest.proposed for logging, which includes compartment 128 that abuts the Baalijin Nature Reserve.

"Did anyone notice just how flat the country is up here?" he asked.

Everyone laughed, because the first thing you notice is how steeply the valleys drop away from the road.

Mark said that although Forestry claims its logging will be selective, their harvest plan maps indicate yellow sections where most forest cover will be removed using big harvesters, excavators and skidders.

"Those yellow blobs are pretty much every ridgeline coming down off the Horseshoe to a long way down in the valley. All the ridges are proposed to be effectively vapourised."

He said the only thing that would stop this happening was people power.

"I'd encourage anyone who has an hour, a day, a week to give thought to being here, for the forest," he said.


A response from a Forestry Corporation spokesperson, received August 27:

"In undertaking our planning for these areas of forest we have identified and mapped 600 hectares that will be set aside as biodiversity and landscape protections, which leaves just under 20 per cent of the total area available for selective timber harvesting in which some trees will be harvested now, while others are left to grow on to be harvested later, or kept permanently for their habitat value.

"Throughout each area that is to be harvested our staff will carefully search the area for threatened species and habitat. They will mark out exactly which areas can and can't be harvested and which trees must be retained as a seed source or for their habitat value. This marking is done both physically in the forest and electronically, with each tree electronically tagged using high resolution landscape mapping, mobile computing and GPS technology."