Native Forest t Pines

1 June 1981 The Canberra Times

Sir, Your article "Spare a thought for the trees"(March 21) requires some comment. It quotes the remarks of a forester of the NSW Forestry Commission on World Forestry Day, advertising the attractions of Tallaganda State Forest.

 

What Mr. Beckhouse failed to mention was that up to 2,200ha of this native forest is under threat of imminent clear-felling for the wood- chip industry by the Forestry Commission itself, in order to convert the area to a pine plantation.

 

The National Parks Association of the ACT questions the benefits of this operation and a similar, more extensive, one between Brindabella and Tumut.

Vast areas of prime native forests in the south eastern regions of NSW are being destroyed to make way for pine plantations.

 

Is the need for wood chips and softwoods so great that we must convert ever-increasing areas of native forest to pines, destroying in the process not only the trees, the understory of shrubs, herbs and grasses, but the animals which rely on this environment for habitat?

 

Do we wish to sacrifice the varied beauty of our bushland for a harsh monoculture of introduced species which could equally well be grown on non-productive, already cleared land without the inherent devastation associated with clear-felling of native, forests?

 

Surely it is time to call a halt to this sort of activity by the NSW Forestry Commission until the cost to the community of this destruction is assessed. At the present rate of clearing the Commission is in danger of being known as the greatest and most rapid deforester in the history of white man's settlement.

 

Within our native forests there is an extremely rich and diverse collection of flora and fauna, adapted over thousands of years to the Australian environment.

 

Our native forests form part of the natural heritage of all Australians. We need to preserve as large an area of this unique environment as possible to that future generations can know and enjoy its wonder and beauty.

 

The National Parks Association believes there should be a halt to further clearing of native forests for conversion to pines until a full public inquiry is held into the economic, social and environmental impact of such action.

 

We believe the proposed Tallaganda forest operation should be subject to a full Environmental Impact Statement before any clearing is begun.

N. Esau 

President, National Parks Association of the ACT, 

on behalf of the association's committee Canberra City.