Member for Oxley, Melinda Pavey, responds to the community

Pavey statement on Kalang timber harvesting

I am aware of the proposed timber harvesting program in the Kalang River area by the NSW Forestry Corporation.

Comprehensive information about this matter is available at: This website also contains several videos where university-trained, professional forestry scientists explain their processes and protocols.

In summary:

Across the north coast, there are nearly four million hectares of forest in National Parks and State Forest. Less than 10 per cent of these forests (350,000 hectares) are available for timber production.

The Kalang River is surrounded by a number of State forests as well as National Parks and privately managed forests. The State forests in this catchment are regrowth forests that have been consistently producing timber and have regenerated naturally for more than a century. Many of the forests in this catchment were burnt during severe wildfires in 1968 and have regenerated into the thriving forests we see today.

Current Plans Forests that are suitable for timber production are divided into compartments and it is generally expected to conduct a carefully planned operation to harvest the mature timber in each suitable compartment every 20 years or so before leaving the entire area to regrow naturally over another 20 or more years. Planning Foresters spend 12 to 18 months in the compartment completing a range of environmental assessments to develop a detailed harvest for each operation.

Waterways These areas are identified during the planning process and they are set aside for protection so they are not disturbed. Sophisticated LiDAR imagery and data is used to map the terrain under the forest canopy, so the topography and location of creeks, streams and watercourses is known. In this catchment, Foresters only work on the ridgelines and leave vast areas untouched to protect waterways, including a 100-metre buffer zone on the Kalang River, which means the areas to be harvested are quite remote from the river itself. Hydrology research and water quality monitoring has consistently shown that water from streams in forests is among the highest quality in the landscape.

Wildlife Before harvesting, professional ecologists survey the wildlife, birdlife and vegetation in the area to identify threatened species and ensure the forest retains the conditions and habitat they need to thrive. They do this by establishing a range of different wildlife protection zones specific to the species found in the forest, which meet the strict requirements developed by expert scientific panels to ensure wildlife continue to thrive in State forests. Staff carefully mark out exactly which areas can and can't be harvested and which trees must be retained.

Harvest Method In the Kalang River catchment, a low-intensity harvesting method called light single tree selection is used, which means a small number of individual trees are selected and harvested and the majority of trees are left untouched.

Auditing and regulation There are regulations governing timber harvesting in NSW. This process is completely transparent and audited by the Environment Protection Authority.

Regeneration The forests will naturally regenerate after this operation.

Supplying Local Industry State forests supply sustainable wood and wood products to meet the community's timber needs and directly employ more than 500 men and women in the Coffs Harbour, Nambucca and Bellingen areas alone. The timber from the State forests in the Kalang River catchment is supplied to several sawmills in the Bellingen Valley, Nambucca and Grafton who will process it into a range of everyday timber products that may include power poles, timber flooring and decking, pallets, fencing, roof battens and plywood.

It is also important to recognise thatAustralia runs an annual $2Billion timber trade deficit by importing large quantities of tropical timbers from SE Asia to make up shortfalls in locally grown and sawn hardwoods.