The Last Stand: NSW native timber fights to survive as Victoria and WA succumb to hyperbole

After forest re-sprouting koalas are breeding up faster than ever.

Fri 10 Mar 23


I fear the native timber industry is finished in Victoria and Western Australia. So, this is the last chance for NSW (state election March 25).

I don’t understand why you won’t call out Dr Brad Law (principal research scientist, forest science unit, NSW DPI) and the NSW Natural Resources Commission.

There was a huge difference in koala densities between logged forests and national parks in 1991.

There were three times as many koalas in dense regrowth from heavy logging and in plantations compared to unlogged forests.

Dr Law cited a paper by Dr Rod Kavanagh (research scientist, State Forests NSW) that demonstrated this by saying “koalas can tolerate selective logging”.

Since then, koalas have increased in unlogged forests because trees declining from a lack of mild fire continually resprout the soft young shoots that koalas rely on.

With all the resprouting from the Black Summer fires, koalas are breeding up faster than ever.

Law, DPI and the NRC are not forthcoming with these facts. After it was already decided to declare koalas an endangered species last May (on advice from Law among others), they released ‘info’ that NSW north coast ‘metapopulation’ of koalas remained stable through five years including Black Summer. They used data from mid-altitudes and mid-habitat value to conceal the facts.

In November 2022, the NSW Natural Resources Commission produced a summary paper: ‘Koala and habitat response after the 2019-20 wildfires in north-east NSW: Forest Monitoring and Improvement Program’.

The use of median values for elevation (756 m) and habitat quality (0.56) obscures the fine detail of ongoing increases in koalas at low elevations despite temporary reductions in areas burnt by high intensity fire.

The fact is increases in koalas outweighed losses in fires. Law’s data show that ‘occupancy’ increased from about 75% to 97% in low altitude north-coast forests. But you have to read and understand three separate papers by Law and his colleagues to appreciate what happened.

We will get a Great Koala National Park in NSW whoever wins the election because the bureaucracy is hiding the science and even some timber industry journals and organisations aren’t prepared to call it out for what it is… BS.



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