Embargo: 21 March 2022

Let’s mark International Day for Forests with an end to native forest logging

South coast conservationists are calling on the NSW Government to mark the International Day of Forests 2022 by following the example of Western Australia and Victoria and calling an end to native forest logging.

It is now ten years since the United Nations resolved that 21 March on each following year should be observed as the International Day of Forests.

“Since that resolution was made, more than five and a half million tonnes of woodchips have been exported from Eden,” says South East Region Conservation Alliance (SERCA) Deputy Convener, Harriett Swift.

“In the same period, the NSW Forestry Corporation has lost $56.6 million on its native forest logging operations, with NSW taxpayers footing the bill.

“That $56.6 million actually understates the cost to taxpayers because there have been tens of millions of direct taxpayer subsidies paid to the industry as well.

“Owners of the chipmill have reported profits of $13.5 million during this time, but have failed to lodge Annual Financial Statements with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission for 3 of those 10 years, so that figure is likely subject to change.

“This is a shameful record which can no longer be justified, even by the staunchest supporters of the woodchipping industry.”

Ms Swift said that the theme for the International Day this year is ‘sustainable production and consumption.’

“This fits well with SERCA’s goal of ending native forest logging and sourcing wood products from plantations.

“Virtually all wood used in construction these days is already plantation softwood. The transition has been underway for years; we just need to complete it.

“In our region the vast majority of native forest hardwood trees are chipped and exported, to be made into paper, mostly in China.

“The South Coast is learning the hard way about the cost of climate change and we simply cannot afford to continue managing our forests in a way that exacerbates climate change and increases the risk and intensity of bushfires.

“If there is one good thing that might come from the disastrous Black Summer bushfires it could be that they force the logging industry and our Governments to open their eyes and see that they can’t get blood out of a stone.

“After more than 80 percent of south coast State Forest was burnt in the fires, business as usual simply isn’t an option,” she said.

“SERCA is partnering with the Nature Conservation Council in the “Worth More Standing” campaign which also starts today.

“We are very pleased to be part of this campaign and look forward to a successful outcome.”

Contact: Harriett Swift

Logging in Nadgee State Forest, typical of post bushfire logging for woodchips.