The Bees Nest fire west of Dorrigo has left a trail of destruction.
The Bees Nest fire west of Dorrigo has left a trail of destruction.

Habitat loss at critical level as fire threat continues

With fires destroying vast tracts of forest across the region, there are renewed calls to protect the remaining habitat of our native species.

For months before the fires west of Coffs even took hold, protesters had been fighting plans by Forestry Corporation of NSW to log State Forests in the Upper Kalang.

The corporation is currently undertaking planning and road improvements for a selective harvesting operation in areas of Roses Creek and Scotchman State Forest.

The forests comprise the headwaters of the Kalang River. Community volunteers and environmental experts from the Friends of Kalang Headwaters (FKH) have been camped in the area conducting flora and fauna surveys and documenting breaches.

They say they have documented a host of breaches related to roadworks in preparation for industrial logging.

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has confirmed they are looking into the claims.

Now with the massive Bees Nest fire already taking out 95,658 hectares and current concerns it could link up with two other major blazes to the north there will be even less habitat available for our native species.

 

The Bees Nest fire is likely to link up with two other major blazes to the north.
The Bees Nest fire is likely to link up with two other major blazes to the north.

The Friends of the Kalang Headwaters are therefore calling on the NSW Government to permanently protect the State Forests currently earmarked for logging as a form of conservation reserve.

"To do otherwise will adversely impact these globally significant forests," Mark Graham from FKH said.

"The recent fires severely affected our globally significant wildlife, particularly during the time of the year that maximum breeding activity and migration is happening. Because of these fires, habitat and biodiversity have been lost, as have sources of food and safe breeding places during this most sensitive season."

 

A chopper working to contain the fires west of Dorrigo.
A chopper working to contain the fires west of Dorrigo.

Having these forests burning across such a broad scale and at such a high intensity means most of the mobile native birds, bats and insects that lived in these forests have had to fly elsewhere in order to survive.

The forests of the Kalang Headwaters are a known refuge for these displaced native species.

"All unburnt, unlogged and intact native forests on the Mid North Coast now need to be retained and protected to ensure a future for our wildlife. Any logging of the Kalang Headwaters will take away this important unburnt refuge for our globally significant wildlife."