“The key threat to almost 90 per cent of our native species in NSW is the clearing and disturbance of native vegetation,” Kate Smolski, chief executive of the Nature Conservation Council, said.
The tally of 999 threatened species may itself be in doubt, with the government report noting “there have been no updates to these analyses since , and there is little new information
Environment Minister Mark Speakman said the lack of data and monitoring was “part of the flawed biodiversity conservation scheme which we inherited and which we aim to fix by adopting all the recommendations of the Independent Biodiversity Legislation Review Panel”.
These recommendations include: “Develop and implement a robust whole of government monitoring and evaluation framework to enable reporting on the condition (quality and extent) of biodiversity, effectiveness of management actions and the objectives of the proposed new ‘Biodiversity Conservation Act'”..
Mr Speakman is also seeking approval from Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt to allow avoided forest harvesting activities to be considered under the Emissions Reduction Fund, which could give the NSW government an incentive to set aside native logging.
“It is only sheer bloody-mindedness from the Baird government that continues to see our beautiful native forests bulldozed and wood-chipped at a loss,” David Shoebridge, Greens MP and Forestry spokesman, said.
“It’s a new low for the Coalition when it refuses even to monitor the impacts of logging on threatened native species such as the yellow-bellied glider and the black striped wallaby,” he said.
The forestry industry, though, rejected the TAI report, saying it downplayed the value of the sector by focussing only on the state corporation.
“Timber plantations do not supply enough wood to meet our needs and so alternative timber sources would be overseas, where forests may not be as sustainably managed, or non-renewable products like concrete and steel,” a Forestry Corporation spokeswoman said.
“The forestry sector as a whole directly employs 22,000 people in NSW,” the spokeswoman said, noting the TAI paper estimated the jobs of forestry and logging at less than one-tenth that amount.
Maree McCaskill, general manager for Timber NSW, said the timber industry required a long-term sustainable supply of both quota logs from native forests and private plantations.
“The industry has no interest in denuding or moon-scaping the state of NSW as it would mean the end of business for them and … many of these companies have been in business for over 140 years,” Ms McCaskill said.
“Forestry is a highly technical science and it underpins the industry which in NSW is the most highly regulated in the world and the forests are continually being replanted and regenerated.”