June 2010
In early June, I visited a remote forest area north west of Port Macquarie. Driving
some 40 to 50km westwards from Telegraph Point along Hastings Forest Way, we
came to Bellangari State Forest where we observed some dreadful examples of the
worst type of state forest management
Looking down from an old fire lookout, now converted to a picnic ground, the
Bellangari State Forest is pock-marked by openings of virtually clear-felled forest,
clearly aimed at creating a “stand restart", something that was commonplace in the
1970s and 80s but I thought had long since been banned because of its negative
impact on biodiversity. Incredibly however, we were informed that, despite those
previous findings, this was actually part of a new scientific experiment by Forests
NSW, undertaken in conjunction with the Department of Environment, Climate
Change and Water, to determine the effectiveness of such management techniques.
Along the way we noted areas where Bell Birds are colonising, taking advantage of
the vigorous growth of dense understorey, the result of canopy reduction. It is
accepted that excessive canopy reduction is a trigger for the associated dieback that
can accompany these birds as their populations explode, and although there are no
immediate signs of the disease at Bellangari, it has taken hold elsewhere in the area.
Virtual clear-felling in Bellangari State Forest, clearly seen from a fire observation site.
Bellangari State Forest
Science or just an excuse to log.