As logging operations in the Corunna State Forest wind up, anti-logging protesters are claiming success, while urging the government, and the community, to consider alternative uses into the future.
Corunna’s Elizabeth Walton said the protesters had some wins.
“They have not clear felled,” she said.
“From what we can see from the outside, there does not seem to be breeches; not in the way we’ve seen in other compartments.”
Ms Walton said she was still concerned for the fate of the vulnerable masked owl, photographed in the compartment during forest operations.
The good thing to come of this is public awarenessSean Burke
Forestry Corporation spokesman Lee Blessington said there were suitable sites in exclusion zones within Corunna for the masked owl to live and nest in.
“Around Corunna there is the occasional tree suitable for nesting – trees left from before the forest was cleared (for dairying in the nineteenth century),” he said.
“It’s likely they roost in remnant trees on adjacent farmland and comes in to Corunna to feed.”
Ms Walton disputes the Forestry Corporation’s assessment.
“The NSW State Governments advice is the masked owl has a range of 500 to 1000 square metres,” she said.
“The Corunna Forest is exactly the habitat these owls chose to live in; these owls don’t relocate.”
Mogo’s Jos Van Der Moolen visited the Corunna Forest Embassy protest site and said she was impressed. She said, by allowing logging to continue, the government was giving tax-payers money away.
“The native forest sector runs at a loss,” Ms Van Der Moolen said.
“Forests are a recognised carbon sink. With a mechanism for carbon credits, the NSW Government could be paid to leave the forest standing and Forestry could manage it for other aspects, such as recreation.”
Sean Burke has been protesting logging the state’s south-east forests for over thirty years, and said they were getting a lot of support – honking horns – as people drove by the protest site.
We’ve gathered the science together and put it in the proposal.Sean Burke
“The good thing to come of this is public awareness,” Mr Burke said.
He said forests like Corunna provided many opportunities aside from logging.
“We need the carbon captured here at Corunna … we have an opportunity to offset are emissions,” Mr Burke said.
“We could have millions of dollars every year, employing people to restore the old forests. Particularly aboriginal people working in the traditional way.
“We need to learn from their 50 to 70 thousand years of fire science.”
Mr Burke said alternatives to logging had been developed.
“People can go to greatsouthernforest.org.au, we’ve gathered the science together and put it in the proposal found there.”