Environmentalists call for new logging policies, fearing critically endangered swift parrot
Environmentalists have sounded the alarm over planned logging in a patch of forest on the south coast of New South Wales that is home to the critically endangered Swift Parrot during its winter migration.
- Logging plans in Swift Parrot habitat are underway by Forestry Corporation NSW
- Environmentalists fear logging has additional impact on critically endangered Swift Parrot
- There are calls for policy changes to be made.
Forestry Corporation NSW is forecasting several harvest areas in Mogo State Forest over the next 12 months.
ANU researcher Debbie Saunders said swift parrots were seen in one of the patches, known as ‘compartment 146’.
“[In] this coupe, there were 180 quick parrots sighted, which equates to [more than] half of the population estimate, “said Dr Saunders,” despite the fact that every cut around it was cut down and everything was burnt as well. “
Forestry Corporation spokesperson Dean Kearney, who is senior planning director in the hardwood division, said he was aware of the parrot’s endangered status, but dismissed the parallel drawn with logging forestry.
“We know they are under pressure, but we don’t think there is an impact from our harvest.”
“ Voluntary ” regulations
In March 2021, the NSW Forestry Corporation was fined $ 33,000 by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) for infractions during logging operations on the south coast.
The EPA said forestry had not included records of the critically endangered parrot in planning for its operations in three state forests on the south coast, including Mogo.
Regarding the upcoming planned logging, the company says it plans to selectively harvest in the Mogo State Forest to reduce the impact on the endangered Swift Parrot.
“We have now migrated to a voluntary package that is in addition to the normal coastal IFOA [Integrated Forestry Operations Approvals]Mr. Kearney said.
“One of the conditions that we have put in place – on a voluntary basis – is that no tree taller than one meter [in] diameter at breast height, i.e. 1.3 meters from the ground, will be harvested. “
Calls for policy changes
For local environmentalists, however, these voluntary measures do not go far enough, according to Secretary of the Coastwatchers Association on the South Coast, Joslyn van der Moolen.
“The voluntary measures that Forestry claims to put in place, I see them just as a public relations exercise because they are unwritten,” said Van der Moolen. “And it’s not enforceable by the EPA.”
In a statement, the EPA says it will continue to closely monitor logging operations at all stages of logging, to ensure it complies with existing regulations.
“Forestry Corporation NSW has an obligation under the IFOA to notify the EPA and [the] general public at least two working days before the start of operations. “
Dr. Saunders hopes the state government will consider changing its current forest policies to ensure critical habitat is protected.
“I know the forestry agreements allow logging there. My question is why is it still allowed today?” Dr Saunders said.
“Our policy on forest management and native vegetation clearance laws continue to have an impact on this species.
“Obviously, getting the right policy in the first place will have the longest lasting effects.”
The ABC has contacted the NSW government for comment.