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Friday Analysis: Koalas are thriving, Leadbeaters need foresters, so who needs eco warriors

So, despite all the silly protests, koalas on the north coast of NSW are not under threat of extinction from timber harvesting after all. In fact, to quote the State’s Natural Resources Commissioner, Professor Hugh Durrant-Whyte – koala density is higher than anticipated in the surveyed forests and had not been reduced by selective harvesting.

“This research is the most comprehensive conducted of its type in NSW to date,” he said.

Three years it took to prepare that report. Three years, so it’s no quick assessment.

Timber NSW CEO Maree McCaskill is right in saying that findings totally vindicates the ability of the forest managers to care for the land under their responsibility and protect koalas.

The industry rarely agrees with the NRC and its reports but on this occasion Timber NSW gave it a big tick of approval.

Ms McCaskill believes the finding will upset the eco-warriors but would not surprise the forest industry.

Will it shut them up though? Probably not.

The same probably applies to the Leadbeater’s Possum debate in Victoria.

As reported today, research led by VicForests has found that preserving and creating midstorey forest connectivity is in fact critical to maintaining Leadbeater’s Possum populations.

Again, will it end the debate and endless court cases? Probably not.

But at least in both cases the forestry industry will have facts and figures at their disposal to combat the emotional and often inaccurate complaints against the industry.

Meanwhile an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says sustainably managing our native forests for timber, delivers the best climate change mitigation results.

As AFPA CEO Ross Hampton pointed out this week sustainably managing our forests for timber production, as practiced in Australia, is one of the best ways we can tackle climate change.

He said anti-forestry activist groups often ignore scientific evidence to claim that we should lock up the small percentage of multiple-use public forests to tackle climate change.

But he points out, this misguided ideology has led to disastrous policy decisions to shut down the native timber industry in Victoria and Western Australia on the false premise that it will lead to better climate change outcomes and fanciful tourism jobs.

As Australian Forest Contractors Association chairman Adan Taylor commented in an interview with Australian Forests & Timber News to be published later this month: “…it’s very interesting how they (the tourism industry) think they’re going to maintain the native forest access without the timber industry paying for it”.