Attention: NSW Regional Forest Agreements
I strongly believe that the current RFAs in New South Wales should not be renewed. They have failed in their objectives to provide for conservation, for ecologically sustainable use and management of forests and for successful and thriving timber industry.
All three RFAs in NSW have resulted in significant losses of native forests, destruction of protected and, for many years, native forest logging has operated at an economic loss. The current RFAs account for the value of forests in a narrow way, which has contributed to their failure. It is time to move away from this form of forest management to a model that measures the value of forests beyond what timber they can provide.
A lack of accountability in forest management is a key element of the failure of the RFAs. There have been continued breaches of codes aimed at protecting native species, often with little consequence. Many of these breaches have only been documented and uncovered because of the ongoing work of conservationists. The Government has failed both in their role to regulate and review logging operations.
A compounding issue is the Government’s unrealistic wood supply contracts. The pressure of these contracts has driven greater logging of native forests, leaving protected and endangered species destroyed or damaged. This highlights the need to move away from a model of forest management which measures value nearly solely on timber production, so that everyone in New South Wales can enjoy the benefits that these public resources can provide.
The RFAs are a failed model of forest management. There needs to be significant change to how forestry resources are managed going forward to ensure the success and viability of our environment, climate and industry.
1. Stop native forest logging
Native forest logging is both an ecologically and economically unsound practice. Moving away from logging these public native forests is the most important change that is needed in forest management.
2. Recognise the value of forests beyond timber production and investigate alternative ways to use state forests
The forests of NSW are a public resource and vital ecosystem that serve every person in this state. Protecting and preserving these public assets can provide much greater value than just the timber they currently provide. In moving forward with public forest management, it is incumbent upon the Government to assess and investigate the wider value that forests provide.
3. Establish a Great Koala national park
In NSW, the iconic koala is listed as vulnerable, with nearly every population on the east coast in decline. Habitat destruction from logging native forests is a significant threat to the species. Establishing a Great Koala National Park would be a significant step towards preserving this species and changing how forests are managed in NSW. It offers the opportunity to shift towards a model of forest management that allows the people of NSW to enjoy these public resources, while protecting and preserving the inherent value of these forests.