8 April 2022
NSW forest industries welcome the Federal Government’s National Recovery Plan for the Koala, which acknowledges that scientific research in NSW has found sustainable timber harvesting has no impact on koala prevalence.
Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) NSW, Victor Violante, said the Recovery Plan should prompt all governments and conservationists to focus on addressing the real threats to koalas: catastrophic bushfires, urban expansion, feral animals, disease, and car strikes.
“Koala protections must be based on science and evidence to ensure the survival of this iconic species,” Mr Violante said.
“This must include recognising that NSW’s sustainable native forest industries are part of the solution and play a vital role in forest management and mitigating the threat of catastrophic bushfires.”
The Recovery Plan cites a recent NSW Government study of koala populations in NSW’s north-east forests that used advanced koala detection technology and found that timber harvesting has no impact on koala numbers. The study found:
“… past timber harvesting did not influence koala occupancy. There was no difference in results between heavily harvested, lightly harvested and old growth sites”, and
“Time since harvesting and the amount of harvesting in the local area did not influence occupancy. There was also no difference between National Park and state forest sites.”
– Dr Brad Law, NSW Department of Primary Industries
“Native forest industries are often mistaken as a threat to koalas when in fact they are part of the solution and already doing a lot of the heavy lifting in koala conservation,” Mr Violante said.
“The facts are that NSW’s native forest industries regenerate the forest by law after harvest, ensuring no net loss of forest area. Also, the industry only operates in ‘regrowth’ forests that have previously been harvested. Selective harvesting means koala habitat trees are retained, and all our old growth forests are protected.
“Meanwhile, the sustainably harvested timber is turned into vital hardwood timber products for the housing construction and renovation sector industry, such as floorboard and decking, supporting thousands of jobs across the state and avoiding the need to import even more of these products from developing countries that are at high risk of deforestation and illegal logging.
“Our sustainable forest industries will continue to work with the NSW and Federal Governments to manage our native forest estate to deliver the best environmental outcomes and protect our iconic koalas into the future,” Mr Violante concluded.