Nanna visits forest near Batemans Bay

Nanna Bron saw a bit of the native forest logging firsthand last week when she called in to Batemans Bay on her holiday travels. She contacted the Brooman State Forest Conservation Group, which we met in October last year when they succeeded in getting the 20,000 signatures on the petition they presented to Parliament. They were very keen to show a Nanna around the forest, and she was met by the awesome forest defender Joslyn van der Moolen.

The following is Nanna Bron’s account:

Setting off from East Lynne on the Princes Highway we viewed the destruction being inflicted by logging on this beautiful spotted gum forest which was extensively burned in the 2019-20 Black Summer bushfires. Logging this forest including remaining unburned sections is an absolute aberration which the Brooman and other conservation groups in the region are determined to halt.

We stopped at a logging compartment where the devastation was horrible, as it always is. We observed that many trees, although officially left standing, were so damaged by gashes from the logging machinery that they will be vulnerable to disease and die anyway. A heart-wrenching moment came when we heard the distinctive call of a Gang-Gang in a nearby patch of as-yet-unlogged forest. This unbelievably cute little cockatoo (my favourite bird) is listed federally as an endangered species and has lost 70% of its numbers in recent years, particularly after the fires. To realise that their habitat is being logged by the NSW government is unthinkable. As the breeding season is mostly October to January, locals will continue to observe the site to see if the birds are nesting in a nearby hollow. This will at least trigger protection of the nesting tree from logging.

Apart from citizen science observation of logging operations, another strategy of the Brooman Forest group is to talk to the local people and the media to get them on side with the idea of no logging in native forests. They set up regular Forest Embassies on the Princes Highway (the next ones are on January 21, February 18, March 18 and March 23) and take people on forest tours. One of their central messages is on carbon emissions. The local Forest Worth More Standing fact sheet shows that 20% of total emissions in six local shires would be avoided if native forest logging ceased. This information is increasingly cutting through with people, as is the news that local job prospects would improve, rather than be threatened, if public forests were managed for tourism and low-impact recreation instead of logging. Sourcing timber 100% from plantations on marginal agricultural land which is processed into timber for the construction sector markedly increases regional job numbers.

The idea of low-impact recreation rather than logging in state forests jogged my memory of the Nannas’ meeting with James Griffin, NSW Environment Minister, in May 2022. Mr Griffin enthusiastically proposed this idea but of course didn’t support the petition to halt logging when it was debated in October. The Brooman Forest group, like the Knitting Nannas, will be looking for candidates to support in the NSW election in March who will commit to climate-saving actions like ending native forest logging.

Nanna Bron

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