Native Forest Logging since the Fires making a Mockery of our Nature Coast
Mogo State Forest has been the scene of a logging operation since March 2020. This is an ecosystem in total disarray after some of the most devastating fires in recorded history. Experts unanimously agree the forests should be left alone to recover and that logging now is like kicking someone when they are down.
In recognition of the fragility of these ecosystems the EPA imposed certain conditions on the logging before it could go ahead. One of these condition was a prohibition on the felling of any hollow bearing trees. This was designed to give the populations of many hollow dependent species of birds and mammals a chance to recover. From page 5 of the Harvest Plan: “All hollow-bearing trees (living or dead) must be retained.”
After numerous breach reports by the community in July and August 2020, and visits by EPA, work was suspended for few weeks. However when logging re-commenced the breaching also recommenced.
Dedicated members of the Eurobodalla Greens and Coastwatchers Association have been conducting rolling audits on these operations.
So far a total of 70 felled hollow bearing trees have been documented and reported in Mogo State Forest in 2020. It has been obvious all year that the contractor is unable to work compliant with the site-specific conditions imposed. This is a very similar situation to the South Brooman State Forest logging operation in 2020 where the community documented over 100 hollow bearing trees felled.
What is also obvious is that both the FCNSW and the contractor at Mogo knew they couldn’t comply and yet continued the operation. In law, to knowingly, wilfully and repeatedly break regulations is a very serious offence.
Where is the accountability for this situation? How can it have been allowed to continue for so long? And now, with all parties having known for many months the impossibility of logging within the rules, how can it be allowed to continue into 2021?