Illegal logging destroying koala populations, report says
A NEW REPORT by conservationist Dailan Pugh titled ‘Clearing Koalas Away’ has found that 23, 000 hectares of koala habitat in northern NSW has been cleared.
Koala habitats in northern NSW are 50 per cent larger than the Royal National Park alone, leaving conservationist concerned for the koalas’ survival.
Dailan, a prominent environmentalist sourced the data through a freedom of information request, in order to measure the extent of logging across koala habitats.
“They’re hitting them really hard. We’re looking at about 40 per cent of koala habitat in state forests,” Dailan told ABC news. “Their own modelling is showing these areas are important but they’re ignoring that.”
The data and satellite images show that protected areas are still being logged. (Image Credit: Dailan Pugh)
Last year, Mark Speakman, the former Minister for the Environment, explained that the Environment Protection Authority was investigating logging in northern NSW because the intensive harvesting was not consistent with the Authority’s regulations.
The ‘Clearing Koalas Away’ report alleges that Forestry Corporation, which manages the commercial native and plantation forests in NSW, is taking advantage of the ‘single-tree selection’ rule, which permits the harvesting of 40 per cent of eucalyptus trees, while the remaining 60 per cent is protected.
However, Dailan explained that the protected eucalyptus trees were only off-limits for a temporary period.
Data from the report shows that protected areas were simply logged at a later date, destroying habitats and food sources.
“It’s definitely clear-felling and it’s totally illegal,” Dailan told ABC News. “They’re meant to retain 60 per cent of the area, and they’re in there taking 80 to 90 per cent without a doubt.”
Habitat loss remains the biggest threat to koala populations.
A spokeswoman for the Environment Minister told ABC news that the government was committed to stabilising and increasing koala populations.