Forestry Corporation's plan to log the Kalang headwaters has been delayed due to the extra workload their staff are under fighting bushfires.
Roading operations in Scotchman and Roses Creek state forests began in June and at that time a Forestry NSW spokesperson indicated that "harvesting will likely start next month".
However, July and August came and went with no firm commencement date announced.
Friends of Kalang Headwaters used the time to undertake a succession of citizen science surveys, finding populations of endangered plants and animals that Forestry's draft harvesting plan had overlooked.
In early September, the Bees Nest fire began, and since then Forestry NSW has been part of the multi-agency force battling to contain it, alongside the Rural Fire Service, Fire & Rescue NSW and National Parks & Wildlife.
Currently the Bees Nest fire is burning within the Chaelundi State Forest, the Guy Fawkes National Park and Pargo Flat areas. It's more than 103,400 hectares in size and it has a perimeter of 912km.
Local ecologists and environmentalists have called for the proposed logging in Scotchman and Roses Creek state forests to be cancelled because these unburnt forests are serving as an important refuge for displaced wildlife.
Asked by the Courier-Sun to comment on the harvesting plan delay, and also whether there was any chance of cancellation given the impact on wildlife seeking refuge, a Forestry spokesperson sent the following response:
"Forestry Corporation has committed significant resources to fighting fires in northern NSW, including staff and equipment. We will continue assessing our resources and harvest schedule based on fire and weather conditions."
Tree-sitters Kai Wild and Ruby Oliver-King said the delay would make no difference to their activities and renewed their call for NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean to give the Kalang Headwaters permanent protection from logging.
"Forestry NSW has publicly acknowledged that its native forest operations have been severely affected by the effects of climate change but fail to see the connection between deforestation, a warming climate, increased bushfire severity and water shortages," they said.
"Given this unwillingness to accept inconvenient truths, as much as we would like to, we are unable to leave the forest unprotected. This is why we need NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean's intervention in the matter."