DESPITE vocal opposition to the logging of Tanja State Forest, Forests NSW has released the harvest plan for the area, signalling an imminent start to work.
The logging is scheduled to start next week.
According to the spokesman for concerned residents collective Friends of Chinnock, Jamie Shaw, the plan also revealed more than 6000 tons - about 85 per cent of the trees to be harvested – would be sent to the woodchipper.
Mr Shaw said this was in direct opposition to residents’ demands that logging – if it had to be done at all – be restricted to saw logs only.
However, his claims weren’t backed up by details sourced from Forests NSW.
“This is a demolition plan not a harvest plan,” Mr Shaw said.
“There have been very recent koala sightings in Tanja Forest by Forestry staff, yet the plan fails to mention them or to identify other threatened species like powerful owl and swift parrot, regularly heard and seen by locals.
“The koala is listed as nationally threatened and the regional population is on the brink, yet Forests are intensively woodchipping 180ha of forest in an area known to harbour this iconic species.
“Decisions like these may cause the extinction of koalas in our region,” he said.
In a statement to the BDN, a Forest NSW spokesperson said no koalas had been detected in the area to be logged.
“The harvesting operations will be conducted in accordance with the Eden Integrated Forestry Operations Approval, which includes a Threatened Species Licence detailing comprehensive prescriptions for the protection of flora and fauna,” the spokesperson said.
“In term of koalas, the compartments have been surveyed in accordance with licence conditions as well using the best practice grid-based survey technique.
“No records of koalas have been detected in the area planned for harvesting.”
The Forests NSW spokesperson confirmed 177ha within compartments 2102 and 2104 of Tanja State Forest were scheduled for logging, but denied woodchipping was the purpose of the harvest.
“The principal purpose of the logging at Tanja is to supply sawlogs allocated under wood supply contracts to Blue Ridge Hardwoods sawmill in Eden.” the spokesperson said.
“Trees and parts of trees not suitable for sawlogs will be sold as pulpwood and firewood.”
Mr Shaw said “massive community opposition” to the harvest plan remained.
“The Friends of Chinnock call upon Forests NSW to fulfill its promise to hold further consultation and to reach a settlement with residents that protects koalas and halts this destructive wood chip logging,” he said.
“If this logging goes ahead we will live with the bushfire threat for decades to come.
“We will still be fighting hard to protect Tanja Forest and put a rational and sustainable value on our native forest.”