Heed the world's scientists to avoid climate crisis

The North East Forest Alliance is calling on the NSW government to follow the lead of Victoria and Queensland by stopping land clearing and phasing out logging of public native forests.

It follows a declaration by more than 11,000 of the world's scientists that we are in a climate emergency which demands major transformations in the ways our global society functions and interacts with natural ecosystems.

One of their six recommendations to avert the unfolding catastrophe is "protecting the remaining primary and intact forests, especially those with high carbon stores and other forests with the capacity to rapidly sequester carbon (proforestation), while increasing reforestation and afforestation where appropriate at enormous scales".

"As the scientists attest, protecting, regenerating and replanting forests can provide a third of the solution to the climate emergency," NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh said.

"Victoria has taken the lead on NSW by announcing they intend to phase out logging of public native forests by 2030, and south-east Queensland is still on track to do so by 2024.

"We can meet our timber needs from plantations and provide additional jobs in needed reforestation.

"We need our forests more than ever to redress the alarming declines in our biodiversity and to take up and store some of the massive volumes of CO2 we have released if we are to have any chance of limiting global heating to less than 2oC.

"Due to the urgency and the time-lag before new plantings begin to take up significant volumes of CO2 the first steps have to be to retain the trees we have by rewarding landowners for the volume of carbon they actually store, stopping broadscale land clearing, and urgently phasing out logging of public forests.

"Forests are the lungs of the earth and we must restore their function as soon as possible.

"As the recent extensive loss of trees and wildlife due to drought and fires shows, we need to urgently redress the impacts of climate heating before the crisis becomes irremediable," Dailan Pugh said.