The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) have raised concerns with the Forestry Corporation of NSW after recent compliance operations in Tantawangalo State Forest.
“The compliance operation last week is part of an ongoing investigation into active logging operations in Tantawangalo State Forest,” an EPA spokesperson said this week.
“As part of this operation, we met with local community members and the Forestry Corporation of NSW.
“We advised the Forestry Corporation of NSW of concerns with identifying rocky outcrops and their boundaries and encouraged them to improve their practices.”
The spokesperson said more information on the result of the compliance check will be available once their investigations are complete.
According to the EPA, a rocky outcrop “has an area of 0.2 hectares or larger, where 70 per cent or more of the surface is composed of exposed boulders of more than 0.6 of a metre in diameter”.
A Forestry Corporation of NSW spokesperson said the definition is “very subjective”.
“Rocky outcrops are an important environmental feature in this region, but they are notoriously difficult to define because what constitutes a rocky outcrop is often very subjective, even for very well trained and highly experienced staff,” they said.
“We’ve been working collaboratively with the EPA for many years to continuously improve identification of rocky outcrops. As part of this work we’ve been using LiDAR technology to improve identification of rocky outcrops in the region.
“LiDAR uses millions of tiny lights beamed down from an aircraft to accurately map and model ground features, including those under the canopy, so it’s something that could have great benefits in removing any subjectivity over the long term and something we’re investing significant resources and money in,” the spokesperson said.
A second compliance operation was undertaken by the NSW EPA at Tallaganda State Forest on the Southern Tablelands, and are also planned for the state’s North Coast.
EPA director of forestry Michael Hood said the authority plays an important role in ensuring logging operations in native forests are sustainable and can continue to support environmental, social and economic values for current and future generations.
“Native forests provide clean water, healthy wildlife habitats and regional employment for communities all across NSW,” Mr Hood said.
“The EPA’s logging rules are in place to protect these.
“Between January and March this year, the EPA has already been on-site at 18 forestry operations, on both public and private land, to ensure correct practices are being followed.
“Our aim is to target high risk operations where there are important values to be protected, such as rivers and streams, or threatened ecological communities or species, such as koalas.”