With the loss of Aboriginal forest management across Australia during the 19th century, historical evidence has revealed a change in the structure and species composition of large areas of Australia’s native forests.
The forests and woodlands that have not been cleared for agriculture or urban development now carry a denser understorey and a greater number of trees, than was typical in forests that existed prior to European settlement.
An increasing frequency of large scale wild fires as well as the harvesting of forests for a range of forest products has also contributed to a reduction in the average size and number of mature trees and an increase in area of relatively dense regrowth of various ages.
As concerns are raised about the changing biodiversity and decline in populations of icon species across both public and private land, it is becoming more obvious that regardless of land tenure, active forest management is required to maintain biodiversity. Regardless of land tenure, threats to biodiversity, including introduced predators and herbivores, high fuel levels and invasive weeds must be actively managed.
Regulating, Auditing and Enforcing the Forest Management Rules.
The NSW Environment Protection Authority has been appointed by the NSW Government to provide independent oversight of the rules that govern the harvesting and regeneration of native forests. It might be reasonable to expect that the regulator would undertake this roll in an even-handed and ethical way.
Over the past 4 years, South East Timber Association members have had an ongoing disagreement with the handling of a fundamentally flawed report into the discolouration of the Wonboyn Lake by flood waters in December 2014. The report was written by a Scientist – Land and Soil Assessment from the Office of Environment and Heritage. EPA staff committed to amend the report at a public meeting at Wonboyn on 10 February 2016. Professional forestry staff in the EPA discredited the report.
In August 2017, following repeated requests by the NSW Shellfish Committee, the uncorrected report dated June 2015 was released. Copies of some of the material released under a Government Information (Public Assess) Act (GIPA) application. The fundamental issue of potentially dishonest or unethical conduct by at least two EPA Forestry staff members were not addressed by the EPA or the Ombudsman’s office.
Despite repeated requests, the EPA has refused to withdraw the report, despite the author stating that due to misconceptions, he was happy for his report to be scrapped. Copies of some key GIPA documents are attached to the summary of four years of EPA stonewalling.
If you think there is a case to answer, please share this story with your local member, the NSW Environment and Forestry Ministers and the Premier and Deputy Premier.
If you work in the forest industry and have been affected by unethical or dishonest conduct by EPA staff, that you would like help in resolving, contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
Who Ensures the NSW EPA is Held to Account Update
GIPA EPA394 Document 12 Directive to Michael Hood to Finalise Documents and Release
GIPA EPA394 Document 19 I am Happy For My Report to be Scrapped
GIPA EPA394 Document 8a – EPA Forestry Staff Critique of OEH Womboyn Catchment Report Review
For more than 20 years, the area of forest in southern Australia states, subject to regular mild burning has declined. Activists who subscribe to a wilderness belief, underpinned by an unconscious acceptance that terra nullius applies to the Australian continent, actively campaign to eliminate human initiated low intensity burning from the Australian bush
By choosing to deny the use of fire by Aboriginal people across the Australian continent for tens of thousands of years, these activists and complicit politicians and bureaucrats are inflicting perverse outcomes on our native forests and associated biodiversity. Aside from the incidence of high intensity wildfires, chronic forest decline now affects millions of hectares of native forest across Australia.
The following article provides historical context to the use of fire by Aboriginal people, examples of the impact of the loss of regular low intensity burning and what needs to be done to restore forests to a more fire safe and healthy condition.
Use of Fire to Improve Native Forest Ecological Health Aug2019
The Regional Forest Agreement renewal process has stimulated a fresh round of outrage from activist charities that seem more focused on using the process as a fund raising opportunity, rather than looking at the biodiversity outcomes across state forest used for timber production and the outcomes from the greatly expanded conservation reserve system. The following submission looks at opportunities for improved biodiversity outcomes from all public native forests.
SETA Submission on the Extension of the NSW RFAs March 2018
Travelling Stock Reserves (TSRs) are parcels of Crown land reserved under legislation for use by travelling stock. According to the Local Land Services website, LLS is responsible for the care, control and maintenance of almost 500,000ha of TSRs in NSW. The LLS has published a draft planning framework for TSRs.
Given the important ecological roll TSRs play in agricultural landscapes, the submission below, has been made by Vic Jurskis to the General Purpose Standing Committee No. 5, that will review the Primary Industries, Land and Water budget. The committee has the opportunity to question the Minister for Primary Industries and department staff on how money will be spent.
Management of Travelling Stock Reserves
A face book post by a couple, who care for orphaned and injured native animals, was recently brought to the attention of the South East Timber Association. The carers had found a swamp wallaby, which had unfortunately been caught in a wild dog trap. Despite the care given to the wallaby, she and her joey died. The post unleashed a string of abusive comments about hunters.
Given the response to this sad incident, the post begs the question as to why there is not a torrent of abuse against vehicle drivers who take a daily toll on wallabies, wombats, kangaroos and a wide variety of less common species. A series of questions raised by Greens Party NSW Upper House Member Mehreen Faruqi also brings attention to the Greens Animal Welfare policies and the potential for these policies to allow predators to inflict carnage on our native fauna.
Feral Animal Control and the Welfare of Native Fauna
Greens Perverse Policies Push Native Fauna to Extinction