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‘Endangered’ status for NSW koalas welcomed by AFPA

The Australian Forest Products Association NSW has welcomed the Federal Government’s decision to boost protections for koalas while raising the threatened species status from ‘vulnerable’ to ‘endangered’.

Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Forest Products Association NSW, Victor Violante, said the reclassification should prompt all governments and conservationists to focus on addressing the real threats to koalas: catastrophic bushfires, urban expansion, feral animals, disease, and car strikes.

“Koala protections must be based on science and evidence to ensure the survival of this iconic species,” Mr Violante said.

“This must include recognising that NSW’s sustainable native forest industries are part of the solution and play a vital role in forest management and mitigating the threat of catastrophic bushfires.”

A recent NSW Government study of koala populations in NSW’s north-east forests using advanced koala detection technology found that timber harvesting has no impact on koala numbers. The study found:

“… past timber harvesting did not influence koala occupancy. There was no difference in results between heavily harvested, lightly harvested and old growth sites.

“Time since harvesting and the amount of harvesting in the local area did not influence occupancy. There was also no difference between National Park and state forest sites.”

–        Dr Brad Law, NSW Department of Primary Industries

“Native forest industries are often mistaken as a threat to koalas when in fact we are part of the solution,” Mr Violante said.

“The facts are that NSW’s native forest industries regenerate the forest by law after harvest, ensuring no net loss of forest area. Also, the industry only operates in ‘regrowth’ forests that have previously been harvested, and all our old growth forests are protected.

“Our sustainable forest industries will continue to work with the NSW and Federal Governments to manage our native forest estate to deliver the best environmental outcomes and protect our iconic koalas into the future,” Mr Violante said.