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  • Writer's pictureGregory Andrews

Australia's Native Forest Logging Must End

Updated: Nov 13, 2023

Australia's native forests are some of our last vestiges of biodiversity. And they're critical for mitigating climate change. But the very agreements meant to protect these invaluable ecosystems are actually facilitating their decline. The Australian Government's Regional Native Forest Agreements outsource forest protection to the states and exempt our forests from the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act. The Government must reclaim control of them and put an end to native forest logging.

Native Forest Agreements (NFAs) were established in the 1990s as a compromise between conservationists and the logging industry. The idea was to strike a balance between maintaining timber supply and protecting forests. But they've proven to be fundamentally flawed. They outsource responsibility for forest management to state governments and organisations like VicForests which has consistently proven itself incapable of effective or ethical forest management. Political interests have been prioritised over ecological integrity. Our native wildlife and climate have payed the price.

One of the most significant issues with NFAs is the exemption they provide from the EPBC Act. This exemption means that native forest logging is subject to virtually no scrutiny. This makes it easier for destructive logging practices to go unchecked. The laws designed to safeguard our environment are sidestepped when it comes to forests, allowing for widespread habitat destruction and biodiversity destruction. Countless species dependent on these forests, like the Greater glider, Swift parrot and Leadbeaters possum are displaced and facing extinction as a result.

Our remaining forests also act as crucial carbon sinks, capturing and storing vast amounts of carbon. When logged, they release stored carbon back into the atmosphere, contributing to massive greenhouse gas emissions. The logging also causes worse bushfires which release even more carbon into the atmosphere. To combat climate change effectively, we must protect our forests and allow them to continue their role as carbon sinks.

The case for ending native forest logging is further bolstered by the potential economic benefits of transitioning to sustainable alternatives. Destroying forests is short-sighted and depletes a finite resource, whereas sustainable forestry practices, coupled with the preservation of high-conservation-value forests, can provide jobs and long-term economic stability. Investing in native forests can yield valuable dividends through ecotourism, biodiversity conservation, and carbon sequestration.

It's time for the Australian Government to step up and:

1. Revoke the exemptions that NFAs provide from the EPBC Act, ensuring that native forests receive the protection they deserve.

2. Cease native forest logging and support affected communities with sustainable alternatives and job opportunities.

3. Invest in restoration and conservation of high-conservation-value forests to secure the long-term health of these ecosystems.

Australia's native forests are an irreplaceable national treasure. They are an important key to arresting dangerous climate change and protecting what remains of Australia's precious biodiversity. The Australian Government must take back control, put an end to native forests logging, and pave the way for their protection and the invaluable services they provide.

My son Noah was devastated when he witnessed VicForests' destruction back in 2015.

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