Claims operation will see plant species "extinct"
LOCAL conservationists have slammed a Forestry Corporation logging operation near Bellingen for destroying "dozens" of nationally endangered plants.
A volunteer survey team trekked through the Upper Kalang forests on the weekend when they said they discovered the damage done to the Milky Silkpod plants in preparation for logging soon to commence.
Jonas Bellchambers said the team identified 110 new plants, 39 of which had sustained damage.
He called on the Environment Minister Matt Kean to take action or "bear responsibility for the demise of the Milky Silkpod."
"With more logging and roading imminent it is highly likely to wipe out a good part of this population," Mr Bellchambers said.
"Like for most species, it's a death of 1000 cuts, and before we know it another plant has blinked out and has gone from our planet completely.
"We are in the midst of a major extinction event. Here we have a clear example of why, because government and industry just don't care."
A Forestry Corporation of NSW spokesperson however defended the logging operation saying they will be monitoring and managing the endangered species, which according to the Corporation's data was present in large numbers.
"Timber harvesting in the regrowth State forests around the Kalang River has been carefully planned with detailed ecological surveys, cultural heritage surveys and soil and water assessments undertaken as part of the planning process," the spokesperson said.
"We have undertaken targeted surveys in this area and our data indicates there are a large number of the Milky Silkpod individuals which we have mapped. Our survey data indicates that there are at least 20,000 plants of this species across our forest estate."
"Our monitoring of these plants across a broad range of areas where burning or timber harvesting has occurred shows that the plants typically increase in number in the years after disturbance as they regenerate along with the rest of the forest."
Earlier this month residents' group Kalang River Forest Alliance staged a protest outside the Forestry Corporation NSW Coffs Harbour office in opposition to the upcoming logging plans.
President Catherine Jones, a long-time resident of Kalang, said the group's concerns included that the area contains some old-growth timber and that the "fragile" soil would cause issues with erosion.