Conservationists have held a protest against weakening native forest logging laws in Narooma.
Protesters at an Environment Protection Authority “consultation” on the new laws described the event as farcical. The outcome is a forgone conclusion. In a few weeks’ time the current appalling draft will become law, regardless of anything that anyone said in Narooma.
Governments should stop deluding themselves and the public that our forests are a magic pudding that can keep on producing woodchips indefinitely.
It is simply impossible to reconcile logging at current or greater intensities with meaningful environmental protection. The new laws will simply clear the legal decks for the industry to go for broke while there are still some trees remaining.
NSW and federal governments should now be looking urgently for fair and responsible ways to wind up the industry. For decades the south coast region has endured the most intensive logging in the state to supply the Eden chipmill.
The draft new laws, known as Integrated Forestry Operations Approvals (IFOAs) implicitly acknowledge that logging in our region will remain the worst in the state. Other regions will catch up a little, but ours will still be the winner in the race to the bottom.
SERCA is one of a number of forest campaign groups around NSW that have been boycotting similar “consultation” events.
Harriett Swift, Bega
Burning no protection
For the benefit of Dr Bill Johnston (Letters, May 29), credible science tells us that broad acre forest burning does not provide leverage against wildfire, in this bio-region. Greater protection for life and property comes from focusing fuel reduction efforts in the immediate vicinity of human developments.
I do agree that about 100mm of rain is required to moisten the soil profile, where soils are about a metre deep. However, the reduction in soil water holding capacity means regular rainfall is required to avoid extensive canopy die-back.
Keen observers would have noticed an increase in the number of brown leaves in forests over the past couple of weeks, due to a lack of moisture. Regrettably there aren't too many people who care about the decline of our forests.
Rather, NSW government agencies have learnt that all one has to do to get rid of native species, koalas for example, is to burn forest. Hence the 'whole of government' approach to koalas has involved the burning of some 10,000 hectares in Dampier and Moruya State Forests in the past couple of months.
Not surprisingly an increase in fire intensity can be expected when the majority of tree leaves are brown and dry.
However, it seems everyone has to stomach the NSW government's ridiculous claim that broad acre burning does not reduce soil moisture content and therefore does not increase the probability forests will again turn brown and increase wildfire intensity.
Robert Bertram, Bermagui
In your hands
Working Guide Dogs experience high levels of every day distractions from pet dogs, including attacks – overwhelmingly from off-lead dogs. These distractions can cause handlers, who are blind or vision impaired to experience anxiety, a loss of confidence, and have their safety and independence compromised.
We’re encouraging pet owners to keep their dogs on-lead when out in public and follow simple Guide Dog etiquette, to reduce these distractions. By keeping control of your own dog, you can help create a safe community, not just for Guide Dogs and their handlers, but for everyone.