FCNSW planning staff access forest resources in the Urunga management area.
FCNSW planning staff access forest resources in the Urunga management area.

Urunga and Nambucca Heads forests set to trial cable logging

THE NATURE Conservation Council has renewed calls for the NSW Government to abandon plans to trial cable logging on steep slopes on the North Coast.

The call comes following a report in a Sydney newspaper on Sunday morning that the Coalition is set to overturn a ban on cable logging if it wins the state election.

The report stated "a government discussion paper reveals the trials will take place after the election in forests west of Urunga and Nambucca Heads."

NCC chief executive Kate Smolski said this form of logging would have a devastating impact on the region's native species and water quality in streams and rivers.

"Logging on slopes over 30 degrees was abandoned years ago and must not be allowed to return to our forests," she said.

"The environmental costs are simply too high.

"In the upper Bellinger Valley, 80,000 tonnes of soil washed into the river during as single logging operation on steep slopes in the early 1990s.

"As a result of the community outcry and a damning Land and Environment Court judgment, State Forests were subsequently required to prepare environmental impacts statements before logging, and steep lands were effectively removed from forestry operations.

"We call on the major parties to rule out this highly destructive practice.

"This issue cuts across political boundaries.

"This is about the long-term survival of koalas, gliders and many of our other iconic forest species."

Ms Smolski said the North Coast region's struggling koala population, which is under intense pressure from habitat fragmentation, disease, and inbreeding, would be further threatened by this proposal.

"We are utterly opposed to the practice and take no comfort from assurances the trial will be closely monitored by the Environment Protection Authority.

"A recent finding of an Upper House inquiry into the authority's performance revealed the EPA was either unwilling or unable to effectively monitor and enforce forestry regulations.

"So we have no confidence they could effectively oversee a trial of cable logging."