FORESTS NSW has recognised concerns expressed by the community and temporarily halted its logging in the Tanja State Forest.
The suspension of harvesting in one compartment of the forest near Mogareeka comes after local action group the Friends of Chinnock (FOC) presented a number of proposals, including that Forests NSW sell trees to residents rather than harvest them.
Forests NSW has not taken up that offer and has also rejected calls to limit the logging program to taking saw-logs only, but FOC spokesperson Jamie Shaw said the suspension was a small victory.
“Forests NSW has recognised the local residents’ concerns and we applaud them for delaying logging in this compartment,” Mr Shaw said.
“Unfortunately, road works being undertaken in another compartment indicate that logging there will start shortly.”
Central to the residents’ objection is the fact that 80 per cent of trees to be harvested will be for wood-chipping.
The FOC, Mr Shaw said, had put forward its position to Federal and State MPS, including Andrew Constance.
“We are determined to push Forests NSW for a saw-log only operation and the residents’ offer to buy the trees still stands,” Mr Shaw said.
“The community is dismayed by the rejection of a solution to this potentially destructive wood-chipping that causes serious long-term damage and only perpetuates forest conflict.”
In its response to the FOC’s proposals, Forests NSW said it would not sell any trees to residents as it was “not just royalty” at issue but also the need to meet “long term wood supply commitments”.
Forests NSW southern region planning manager Daniel Tuan confirmed that the harvest in one compartment had been suspended but logging in two other compartments would continue as planned.
“I trust that this will allay some concerns for those residents particularly in the vicinity of Mogareeka.”
Mr Tuan said he was open to discuss any further issues with community members.
The Friends of Chinnock are holding a community meeting tonight at 6pm in Tathra Hall and all stakeholders are invited to attend.