Mood: don't ask
Harriet Swift a qualified journalist and local land holder from Bega writes:
Sent: Tuesday, November 04, 2008 9:40 AMSubject: [chipstop] Bermi tomorrow
Just to confirm, .....tomorrow at the Bermagui logging compartment .... Meet at the bus shelter on the corner of Wallaga Lake Road and the Cobargo road by 8.30am.
The koalas need you there with your placard!
This animal was seen and photographed less than a year ago almost directly over the road from Box Flat Rd, where logging started last Monday. See http://www.chipstop.forests.org.au/bermi_logging.htm
NSW Primary Industry minister may think there are no koalas around, but this critter looks a lot like one to me.
See you tomorrow?
Indeed the spin doctoring of the NSW government continues so as to avoid the gravity of the picture above.
We will try to explain to those of good faith how we understand the public's natural forest estate: At 20% land cover 200 years ago it was like two loaves of bread in an already sparsely forested wide brown land continent.
Now come forward 220 years and we only have one loaf left, or 10% land cover and most of that is trashed and disrupted as well.
And Environment Minister Tebbutt was on abc tv news in Sydney last night arguing that 89 conservation reserves were already in place on the NSW South Coast. What does this really mean?
No need to worry about logging of koala habitat down there as per reports of the ABC tv and Sydney Morning Herald here?:
1. www.smh.com.au - Last koala habitats get the chop Date: October 28 2008. Ben Cubby Environment Reporter.
2. PM - Protestors push for preservation of native forests 6 Nov 2008 Reporter: Jayne MargettsMARK COLVIN: With a fresh round of logging starting in NSW, conservationists are calling on the State Government to stop cutting down native forests.
Logging has just begun on an area of land at Bermagui on the state's south coast.
Protestors have been out in force arguing that all native forests should be preserved as carbon sinks, and as valuable habitats for animals.
Jayne Margetts reports.
(Sound of chain saw)
JAYNE MARGETTS: Another swathe of Australia's native forest is getting the chop.
This time it's a 180 hectare area of land in between two national parks at Bermagui. John Hibberd from the Conservation Alliance wants it and other areas like it to be preserved as carbon sinks.
JOHN HIBBERD: All native forests are really important for carbon sinks. As they get older more and more carbon is stored in them and we believe that if native forest logging stopped in Australia a massive saving in carbon emissions could be made at the stroke of a pen.
I'm not talking about carbon emissions straining and something in 10 to 15 years time, right now the Federal and State Governments across Australia could massively reduce the carbon emissions of this country.
JAYNE MARGETTS: Environmentalists and local residents have begun a campaign to protect the forest.
ENVIRONMENTALISTS: Save our forests!
JAYNE MARGETTS: Protestors say the forest is a valuable habitat for animals, especially the severely depleted koala population. But so far their calls have fallen on deaf ears.
POLICE OFFICER: Your arguments, your discussions about koalas are irrelevant to me.
JAYNE MARGETTS: The police have been blocking them from entering the logging site.
POLICE OFFICER 2: All you people right now are currently within the exclusion zone
PROTESTER: Remove the loggers then.
POLICE OFFICER 2: If you don't leave the exclusion zone you'll be arrested. Okay? You've got 2 minutes.
JAYNE MARGETTS: One woman who swore at a police officer was carted off to the station.
FEMALE PROTESTOR: I wanna be arrested!
JAYNE MARGETTS: Environmentalist Prue Acton says the forest is only just recovering from the last logging operation 20 years ago.
PRUE ACTON: The spotty gums are only just coming back, when they're starting to have their full carbon and their full size and their full beauty and the understorey is coming and the animals are returning and the soil is stabilising. What are we doing instead? We're just going to chop them down.
JAYNE MARGETTS: Research from the Australian National University is adding weight to the campaign. A study has found that eucalypt forests hold three times the amount of carbon than was previously thought.
And there are economic arguments too.
Dr Judith Adjani, an economist from the ANU say the logging of native forests is unnecessary.
JUDITH ADJANI: We can substitute for, easily substitute for all of our native forests chip exports using our hardwood plantation resources. If we want to not log native forests we can do that because we have enough plantations both hardwood and softwood to meet virtually all of our wood needs.
JAYNE MARGETTS: The protestors are hoping to get their message through to the state government.
John Hibberd again.
JOHN HIBBERD: We're asking the State Government to immediately intervene in this matter. We want them to stop the logging not only in this Bermagui corridor forest but also in the forest to the South where the logging is intended to move next year and where the koalas are actually living and breeding at the moment.
And we also want them to scrap the Regional Forest Agreement. That agreement was made 10 years ago. It's now out of date. The world has moved on.
JAYNE MARGETTS: But The NSW Environment Minister Carmel Tebbutt says large areas of forest are already protected under legislation and there's no plan for a review.
CARMEL TEBBUTT: There were very important conservation gains that came out of the Regional Forest Agreements. 300,000 hectares of national parks and reserves added for example in that Eden area as a result of the Regional Forest Agreements. Now it is simply not possible to go back and unpick those agreements, without placing at risk those important conservation gains.
MARK COLVIN: NSW Environment Minister Carmel Tebbutt ending that report by Jayne Margetts.
The trouble for Minister Tebbutt and all of us is that Australia never had much forest to begin with. Since 1788 via agriculture and now especially mechanised woodchipping we have already lost fully 50% of our forest.
Of the 10% forested land cover left on the fringes of the continent today barely 1/10 of that is mature forest with hollow bearing trees. You could think of it as the chewy crusts at the end of the loaf of bread. Most of this 10% forest land cover remaining is being sliced up. Some is divided into reserves and the rest is allocated to high intensity logging by private companies. The bigger the reserves the bigger the thrashing for anything outside the reserves including koala habitat.
The mature type of forest with nesting hollows in trunk and branches is essential to protect wildlife from going extinct locally and nationally. But it is also the type of forest industry most want to log - usually for higher volumes of chips, and usually good rainfall areas desirable for conversion to defacto plantation by high rotation logging.
Forest destruction is one of several reasons why Australia has the worst mammal extinction records in the world.
Minister Tebbutt is actually green lighting more slicing and dicing of the last loaf of bread on the table.
(Our bread board and table is made of wood too, but in our case it was recycled from a council throwout. Experts tell us we can provide most if not all our timber needs from existing plantations).
Ms Tebbutt can say there's 89 conservation reserves in SE NSW already but it's all one national forest really being cut into smaller and smaller pieces with roughly half given to the private profiteers. Like the one loaf of bread which can be sliced into 19 then cut again into 38, 76 and finally 144 pieces these symbolise the large number of new fragmentated reserves.
It's a politician's word game really: The longer the list of reserves the better it sounds but this ignores the context of a mostly treeless Australia. NSW for instance is 80 million hectares in size and most of it has no forest. So much for political sophistry.
And the smaller forest areas are easily degraded and local populations of wildlife slip into extinction - in this case the favourite koalas on the NSW South Coast at Bermigui. This is for real. It is happening now. On our watch. Not 100 years ago.
The real issue is not 89 reserves, rather
- the amount of national forest cover,
- the species and forest types, scarcity of categories,
- the level of maturity of forest type,
- green carbon storage regarding climate change, and
- rate of logging, which is still extremely high and mostly for woodchips to Eden (1 million tonnes a year, some of the best forest in the world).
Given this national, and global, context industry and tame pollies always try to bring the focus down to the local and regional level to imply a large resource is being shared between conservation and industry. Indeed that's why the egregious Regional Forest Agreement rhetoric was invented - to destory the notion of a scarce national forest estate. That's very deceptive by industry and government. It's public property being vandalised for private gain. In Europe they hardly have one forest. Same with Asia.
It's a shame the police on the NSW South Coast don't realise they are being manipulated to help destroy their own environmental future: Notice Harriet from Chipstop in this report also
Sent: Thursday, November 06, 2008 6:47 PMSubject: [chipstop] police antics at Bermagui logging
Police antics at Bermagui continue to be extraordinarily heavy handed. Here are some examples:
1. Yesterday we conducted a walk along the edge of the prohibited zone towards the logging and were met by huge numbers of police . It was largely uneventful - a couple of people got PINs (Sam got a PIN and stint in the paddy wagon for taking the piss out of Inspector Jason Edmonds) but most people complied when told by police to leave. Not much choice, given their numbers. The event was all very fluffy and staged but was probably OK TV footage. However, the funny thing was, once the main crowd left and just a few enthusiasts remained, the police became even more attentive. We were practically surrounded. Police drove by constantly in 4WDs leaning out their windows video-ing us. Others lurked in the bush behind us. One suspects they may have been expecting some more concrete action from the hard core, but they didn't get it. Eventually they gave up and went back to their post at the water tank.
2. Another instance occurred that morning when a small group started making a large sign in the sand on the beach, hoping that the ABC helicopter would see it as they left. The police turned up and told them to leave; making a sandcastle sign on the beach is apparently now illegal.
This was all quite remarkable, but today's action took the cake.
3. Two nights ago somebody wrote in very large neat white letters on the bermagui road at the approach to the logging compartment words like: flora, fauna, CO2 sinks, forests, life. It was very expertly done and must have taken hours! Today, the Bega Valley Shire Council Jetpatcher spent 2 hours spraying tar over the painted words. There was nothing wrong with the road; it did not need any repairs. The police told the council to do it because it was an "urgent and serious traffic hazard."
This gets more and more silly. I know of one example of offensive large graffiti on a road in Bega 200 meters from the Police Station that is probably a greater traffic hazard given its sexual content. That has been there for six months without a visit from the Jetpatcher.
Stay tuned for more. I am a great believer in never picking a fight with the police; our argument is not with them and they always have the last word,. However, this behaviour is exceptional. I guess they have to do something to justify their absurdly large presence there.
Between 2,500 and 3,000 trees from SE NSW and East Gippsland are cut down every working day to supply the Eden chipmill
CHIPSTOP campaign against woodchipping the SE forests, 02-64923134, PO Box 797 Bega NSW 2550 Australia, http://www.chipstop.forests.org.au
CHIPSTOP on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vJuZya1X00
This all reminds of the over eager APEC police September 2007 some of whom were exposed for failing to wear their name tags. The implication being they were willing to bend the law for a bit of extra judicial biffo against peaceful protesters.
Meanwhile we notice James Woodford has censored this logging of public forest koala habitat off his so called Real Dirt blog here. Even when it's in his local region.
Rather he's authored a story about how the State govt is wisely marshalling the Shoalhaven water resources which is run on page 4 of the Sydney Morning Herald. Too bad koalas don't like to swim eh James?
Woodford, only seems to run government endorsed stories these days. When it comes to water it helps that his spouse - after working PR for State Forests as the logging agency - then worked for the Southern Water Catchment Authority all on the government drip. So is it news or spin?