Letter: our forests, but for how long?

We have cherished our forests. They contain some of the world’s most extraordinary trees with superb timber to make beautiful houses and furniture. Forestry has been the backbone of local communities. 

Thirty years ago forests were protected to ensure sustainable availability of timber and ongoing safeguards to native birds and animals; but recent changes in state government policy and practices may see local forests traded in international deals where low-grade usage brings little benefit to regional communities.

The Forest Corporation’s plans for our State Forests would include, if approved, a 180-fold increase in the intensity of logging over in the ‘North Coast Intensive Zone’ that stretches from Grafton to Taree. 

A high percentage of previously off-limits old-growth and rainforest areas opened for logging. With an end to selective logging practices, the forests will be clear-felled by heavy industrial machinery in extended forest sections up to 45 ha, up from the current 0.25 ha.

Perhaps most alarming, timber will be chipped, pelletised and burned in wood-fired power stations at 3 ‘hubs’ in the region. 

The Forest Corporation is already negotiating the sale of 58% of the North Coast and Tablelands timber to overseas interests as fuel for burning in power stations. 

Adrian Guthrie, Pappinbarra