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VOICES FOR THE EARTH: Report criticises RFAs

A NEW National Parks Association report closely examines the Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs), and whether they have met their key aims and objectives.

The historic agreements promised to provide the timber industry with a sustainable supply of timber from public forests until 2020, after which there would be a transition to the use of plantation timber.

However, the report concludes, "In all cases, the RFAs have failed to substantially meet their goals either wholly or in part".

The report highlights the staggering losses from native forest logging in recent years, Forestry Tasmania - $64 million and the NSW Forestry Corporation $84 million between 2009 and 2012, while the value of Australia's native timber stocks declined by 30% in the decade from 2005.

Commenting on the Report, Susie Russell from the North Coast Environment Council, said the findings were no surprise to conservationists, adding: "The RFAs have clearly failed nature. For example, forest dwelling species like the Greater Glider that were considered common 20 years ago, are now threatened with extinction.

"Likewise the koala, whose home trees are still being turned into floorboards by logging companies like Boral on the North Coast of NSW, has been listed as vulnerable to extinction, since the RFAs were signed".

"Other animals and plants could be in an equally dire situation, but most of the monitoring work required under the RFAs has not been done."

Incredibly, climate change was never factored into the RFAs, and the critically important role that healthy forests will play in lowering temperatures, storing carbon, and filtering water, have all been ignored as the rampage continues in an attempt to meet contracts for timber that was never there in the first place.

Despite the obvious failings highlighted in the NPA's Report, the Federal Government claims to be committed to rolling over all RFAs for a further 20 years. This would be a biological disaster.

John Edwards, Clarence Valley Conservation Coalition

Topics:  boral forestry logging timber industry voices for the earth



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