Protestors march through Wauchope for the National Forest Uprising

A crowd of 75 men, women and children in Wauchope joined the nationwide National Forest Uprising on Wednesday.

Carrying placards, their message to the federal and state government was that the current forest-clearing practices need urgent attention.

Organiser Vicki Burrows says that forests are disappearing so fast in NSW and Queensland that World Wide Fund International has put Australia on its list of global deforestation hot spots - the only one in the developed world.

"We want to inform the public what has been going on with our state and private native forestry.  We needed our own forest uprising since we are Timbertown and we are witnessing industrial logging, even before the Integrated Forestry Operations Approvals were approved," she said.

IFOAs set the rules for how forestry operations can be carried out on State forests and Crown timber lands in NSW.

"Over 3,000 objections were submitted to the new forestry guidelines.  We are very concerned that our native forests are going to be used for bio-fuel which is to pelletize our wood and burn it in a forest.

"Biomass emits an awful lot of carbon.  Gone are the days where we respected our old loggers who loved our Australian bush and went in caringly and took out logs."

She said the protest was not about stopping logging, but about informing people about what is going on.  

"It is about the atrocious, open-clearing, industrialised logging that is going to be increased because they have just passed these Integrated Forestry Operations Approvals.  

"This destroys local habitat, increasing the pressure on native animals, including our iconic koala.  The new logging rules increase logging intensity to include 140.000ha between Taree and Grafton 39% of which is koala core habitat. Now they're allowing 60ha areas to be clear felled. Its limit used to be 0.25ha. 

"If forestry is going industrial, then why not plant on vacant agricultural land and farm the trees, leaving the remaining native State forests to habitat, biodiversity and carbon credits?" she told the crowd.

Sorell Masters said she joined the protest because she's concerned about the State government's proposals for biomass fuel.

"The Forestry Corporation is being funded by the taxpayer, and I object to my taxes being used for that.  The koala population is being annihilated and soon all we will have are those concrete statues," she said.

Miriam Loftus joined the protest because she is opposed to using native forest wood in power stations.

"Burning wood produces more CO2 than burning coal and cannot be considered as a renewable energy source," she said.

"Selling pellets to Asian countries will add to greenhouse emission while damaging our catchments, our wildlife and the forests.  We need to mitigate climate change and global warming, and keeping forests intact is a key tool in doing this."

Another protestor, Wendy Hee says she went because she is not a 'Greenie' and doesn't have a problem with logging, but she is worried about thoughtless logging.

"All this change of legislation has happened, and our forest is being logged and it needs saving," she said.

General Manager of Forestry Corporation of NSW’s Hardwood Forests Division, Dean Anderson, said there seems to be some confusion about how forestry is managed in NSW.

Forestry Corporation has been carefully managing timber production, environmental protection, recreation and firefighting in the State forests around Port Macquarie for more than 100 years.

"Each year, a tiny proportion of the trees in these forests are harvested and regrown to supply renewable timber for floors, decks, fences, wharves, power poles and a range of other products," Mr Anderson said.

"Timber harvesting is vastly different from land clearing because every time we harvest a tree, we ensure that many more regrow in its place so that these State forests will continue to provide us with timber for our homes for generations to come.

"There are tight regulations around timber harvesting to ensure it is sustainable, that native flora and fauna are protected and that all harvested areas rapidly regrow into thriving, diverse, natural forests. Recent changes to forest regulations have only strengthened protection for flora and fauna and have also increased long-term monitoring to ensure the rules in place are delivering the best environmental outcomes for the forest including the wildlife.

"Wood is one of the most renewable building products available, and careful management is ensuring our State forests continue to thrive and that our community has access to sustainable, responsibly sourced timber for generations to come."

The protestors began at Forestry headquarters, then walked to Bain Park, and some motorists sounded their horns in support, drawing cheers from the demonstrators.

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