Ongoing problems with Clouds Creek State Forest logging
A Recap
Over the past two years we have reported major logging breaches, and illegal logging, in a series of
State forests in our region. At Doubleduke State Forest, our alleged logging of an endangered
ecological community (EEC) will see Forests NSW appear in the Land and Environment Court
within weeks. That agency has already been fined for the illegal logging of another EEC, Lowland
Rainforest, in Grange State Forest, and our charges of more rainforest EEC destruction at Wedding
Bells State Forest is apparently still under investigation, All of this comes on top of an earlier
incidence of rainforest logging at Yabbra State Forest in 2009, which was reported by the North
East Forest Alliance, and also attracted a fine.
Of major concern is the ongoing failure of Forests NSW to correctly identify forest types. At
Doubleduke, the EEC was initially described as Sydney Peppermint, a species that does not occur in
the region. At Grange, the rainforest was mapped as Scribbly Gum – Blackbutt, despite neither
species occurring there. Now, following an audit of Clouds Creek State Forests, we have found
Warm Temperate Rainforest incorrectly identified to allow logging to occur without a buffer zone.
At the adjoining Ellis State Forest, we found a rainforest remnant, described on the Harvest Plan as
a Giant Stinging Tree, Fig community, again with neither species being present.
When all of these mapping errors favour logging interests, with none of them identified, much less
corrected, by ecologists or foresters involved in pre-harvest surveys and mark-up procedures, we
have to question – what is going on.
At Grange State Forest where the extensive Lowland Rainforest was logged, no one, not the officer
compiling the map and harvest plan, none of the six
(6) ecologists named as having been involved
in the ecological survey of the forest, or the foresters who marked up the forest for logging, reported
the very obvious fact the community was nor the
Scribbly Gum – Blackbutt, dry sclerophyll
community mapped on the harvest plan
.
Latest developments at Grange SF
When we reported the crime, OEH employed an independent ecologist who made the damning
observation that:
“Much logging debris (including fallen rainforest trees that have been fallen for
seemingly inexplicable reasons) is piled around the remnants".
While this act of deliberate
vandalism may have appeared to the ecologist to have been inexplicable, we believe the debris was
deliberately placed there for burning to destroy the remaining remnants and the evidence. OEH's
inspector, Bill Faulkner, reported that the crowns from logged old-growth trees (see below) had
been destroyed or hidden, again, we believe, this was done to remove incriminating evidence.