Fifty people from the local community attended the Corunna Walk in the Forest on Saturday afternoon.
They proposed to form the Corunna Forest Protection Group in response to plans by the Forestry Corporation of NSW to undertake a timber harvesting operation in Compartment 3058 of Corunna State Forest.
The 130-hectare logging operation in the State Forest compartment between Narooma and Tilba is due to commence mid-year.
Walk organiser John Ramsay lives adjacent to the proposed harvest area and said those who participated were from all walks of life but with one motivating idea, “What can we do to save the forest?”
“The diversity of flora and fauna was evident along the short walk, which served to reinforce the value of protecting the forest,” Mr Ramsay said.
“The Corunna Forest Protection Group was formed with the aim of saving the wildlife from habitat destruction and preserving the beauty of the forest which frames the entrance to Mystery Bay and the heritage rural landscape of historic Central Tilba.”
The South East Region Conservation Alliance (SERCA) meanwhile has expressed its shock that the Forestry Corporation has moved so quickly to log local public forests its says to supply a shortfall of timber in a Victorian sawmill.
Planning is now underway to undertake logging in Compartments 2003 and 2069 north of Bermagui Cobargo Road and both sides of the Princes Highway in Compartment 3058 between Central Tilba and Mystery Bay .
“Compartment 2069 is particularly concerning to me,” SERCA Secretary Seán Burke said. “This is the only public land that provides a habitat corridor link between Murrah Flora Reserve/Biamanga National Park and Kooraban/Gulaga National Parks.
“The eastern and western sides were decimated a few years back and this operation would remove the heart of that corridor, killing any chance of koala movements between these reserve areas.”
He said these three threatened coastal compartments provided food and shelter for the critically endangered Swift Parrot on its migration through the area in autumn.
They also provide habitat for quite a few other threatened species including the endangered Southern Brown Bandicoot, the vulnerable Yellow Bellied Glider, the vulnerable Long-Nosed Potoroo, the vulnerable White-Bellied Sea-Eagle, the vulnerable Sooty and Masked Owls, the vulnerable Gloss Black-Cockatoo, the vulnerable Gang-Gang Cockatoo and the vulnerable Eastern False Pipistrelle.
“The rush to log the local spotted gum forests comes from the demand for this timber at the Heyfield Mill in Victoria,” Mr Burke said/
Managing director of Australian Sustainable Hardwoods (ASH) Vince Hurley told ABC Radio last week “What we’ve done is identify alternative, or traditional, feedstocks that can also go into the manufacturing plants, particularly the spotted gum resource from New South Wales.”
“Local coast spotted gum forests will now be paying the price for over-logging and bad management in Victoria as well as here in NSW,” SERCA deputy convenor Harriett Swift said.
“Trucks hauling these logs for a round trip over 1000km can’t be justified as sustainable, economically or environmentally.”
“Anybody who has seen the destruction caused by the industrial logging of our native forests knows that the damage isn’t consistent with good ecologically sustainable forest management as required by the Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs),” Mr Burke added.
“The NSW Government is ploughing ahead with renewal of the RFAs without considering scientific studies or analysing data on their effectiveness over the past 20 years.”
NSW Department of Primary Industry is seeking public input into the future of the RFAs up until March 12.
Details are available at http://www.serca.org.au/rfas/saving_our_forests.html