THE next stage in the fight to prevent logging in the headwaters of some of the region’s most significant rivers is about to begin.

The official launch of a proposal to create a nature reserve across the Upper Kalang, Middle Bellinger and Nambucca River regions will take place on Saturday, bringing together conservationists, politicians and community members passionate about saving native forest.

Commissioned by the Friends of the Kalang Headwaters, the proposal seeks to ensure permanent protection of the forests within a formal conservation reserve.

The proposed reserve encompasses the entirety of the Upper Kalang River headwaters, the Bellinger River catchment and part of the Nambucca River catchment totalling 13,233 hectares of public land.

That includes part of all of six State Forests including Buckrabendinni, Roses Creek and Oakes.

A map showing part of the proposed nature reserve across the Upper Kalang, Middle Bellinger and Nambucca River region proposed by the Friends of the Kalang Headwaters.
A map showing part of the proposed nature reserve across the Upper Kalang, Middle Bellinger and Nambucca River region proposed by the Friends of the Kalang Headwaters.

Logging has long been a contentious issue, with the region home to a significant koala population and what is described in the proposal as “nationally significant” forests in excellent condition, lacking in weeds and feral animals.

There is a strong history of direct action to prevent Forestry Corporation operations by members of the FoKH, most notably several blockades and an elaborate aerial occupation in 2019. 

In January, Forestry Corp abandoned controversial plans to log parts of the Kalang Headwaters after the NSW Environment Protection Agency withdrew permission.

NSW Animal Justice Party MP, Mark Pearson, will be present at the launch along with Greens MP David Shoebridge, Labor MP Marjorie O’Neill and Bellingen Shire Council Mayor Dominic King.

Ruby Oliver-King from Bellingen in an aerial occupation during a protest against logging in the Kalang River Headwaters.
Ruby Oliver-King from Bellingen in an aerial occupation during a protest against logging in the Kalang River Headwaters.

“I’m thrilled to be part of this momentous event and lend my voice to such a vital project,” Mr Pearson said.

“Friends of Kalang Headwaters have really got it right – we need to protect forests for all the animals who call them home.

“Koalas in particular need all the friends they can get right now, particularly on the mid-north coast where a third were killed by the Black Summer bushfires.”

Earlier this year, Mr Pearson sat as Deputy Chair of a parliamentary inquiry into koala populations and habitat in NSW.

Mark Pearson, MLC for the Animal Justice Party. Picture: Twitter
Mark Pearson, MLC for the Animal Justice Party. Picture: Twitter

The inquiry found koalas could be extinct in NSW before 2050 and made 42 recommendations to government, including creating new national parks and ruling out logging of trees in old growth forests.

“Especially after the bushfires, we must protect the forests we have left,” Mr Pearson said.

“That’s what our recent parliamentary koala inquiry really made clear, and it’s exactly what Friends of Kalang Headwaters are hoping to achieve.”



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