The NSW Government has finally made a decision on the Pilliga-Goonoo forests and the decision is likely to decimate local timber communities.
Click here (jpg 136kb) to see a picture of 24 Pilliga West State forest, one of the WCA so-called iconic areas.
The decision to ban logging over a further 350,000 hectares will have implications for biodiversity. While the government has described the decision as achieving ‘permanent conservation’ of the iconic forests, the reality is that without active management there can be no conservation.
150 years ago, areas now thick with cypress were grassland or open box woodland with cypress controlled by local aboriginals through the use of fire.
The forests that the government now wants to ‘conserve’ are a recent phenomenon and have developed with the local timber industry – koala and barking owls habitat enhanced through responsible forestry practices.
The Government has announced that workers who lose their jobs will be offered either new jobs or receive redundancy payments of $72,000.
The picture at the above link is from Ted Haymen. He sent it to me with the following explaination, “This is compartment 24 Pilliga West State Forest, one of the WCA so called icon areas. It would have once been open box woodland but has been invaded by cypress and bull oak regrowth. Although they still look attractive, the large Box trees in this photo are at the end of their life, decaying, with many in a state of collapse. Competition from the dense regrowth has prevented the regeneration of replacements. There was a thinning operation in this block but it was stopped due to the moratorium. If left unmanaged, in perhaps fifty years few box trees will remain.”
Background information can be found at my blog post of April 21, 2005 titled ‘Timber Communities and National Parks (Part 1)‘ (scroll down to find it).