STAND at Clouds Creek gets vocal
THE protest against logging in Clouds Creek State Forest has gained pace, with local residents planning a second rally this month.
Last Saturday, residents from the group STAND gathered in the forest, with members claiming the Forests NSW logging operation was unsustainable for the native habitat.
STAND member Meredith Stanton said residents were also disappointed by what they considered had been an inadequate public consultation process.
“We feel the actions by Forests NSW to avoid stakeholder and community participation in the planning process is counter to Ecologically Sustainable Forest Management objectives,” she said.
“We are calling on the NSW Government to delay the harvest until adequate consultation and wildlife protection is implemented in the current logging operations.”
A Forests NSW spokesperson denied there had been a lack of community consultation. He said Forests NSW staff met with residents in December and again in January before logging began, with forest neighbours receiving letters in early 2008 and draft plans available last July.
Ms Stanton said Forests NSW ecology reports highlighted the decline of koalas in the area since 1998, yet harvest plans had failed to provide adequate protection for core koala habitat.
However, earlier this year Forests NSW representative Steve Pickering said 52 per cent of the area was in reservation for rainforest, old-growth and flora and fauna exclusions.
He said the area had been ecologically surveyed.
“Harvesting staff will be surveying for koalas as they mark out the forest, and any high-use areas found will be excluded from harvest in accordance with standard prescriptions under the threatened species licence,” he said.
While Forests NSW said the logging, which started in January, would take three months, wet weather has caused delays.
STAND will hold a public protest in Coffs Harbour on Friday, May 29. For more information visit www.stand.moonfruit.com or phone Meredith Stanton on 6657 8040.
'We are calling on the government to delay the (logging) harvest.'