RFA’s – just a giant legal loophole to destroy forests

Friday, May 13, 2016

700 pages and not one reason to keep logging forestsEast Gippsland was the first region to have its forests signed away under the appalling logging industry ‘free-for-all’ called the Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs). Its life of 20 years is about to expire next year and MUST NOT be rolled over for another 2 decades of legally exempt pillaging. Many reports have shown it was a massive failure for all but the export woodchip industry.


A comprehensively damning report was released this week on the complete failure of the NSW RFA’s, signed almost 20 years ago. The NSW National Parks Association showed that the ‘agreements’ opened the door for rampant woodchipping and logging with full exemption from Commonwealth environmental laws. Despite placations at the time, almost no environmental protection has been offered to forests and its wildlife.

The National Parks report comes just one month after analysis by the Australia Institute found native forest logging would be more profitable if the trees were left standing.

Key findings

  • Of the 50% of forest and woodland cover remaining in Aust, 70% of those forests have been degraded by logging;
  • Logging currently takes place in two global Biodiversity Hotspots, the Forests of Eastern Australia and Southwest Australia. There are only 36 Hotspots world-wide;
  • Most forest national parks promised by the RFA have not eventuated;
  • Logging kills protected forest mammals like gliders, possums, bandicoots and wombats. More species are now recognised as threatened;
  • Populations of forest dependent wildlife such as koalas have plummeted
  • Logging drives Key Threatening Processes like loss of tree hollows and dieback;
  • In NSW, logging now removes twice as much tree cover as urban development and agriculture combined­ and the intensity is increasing;
  • Logging has serious impacts on soil and water supplies and makes forests more fire prone;
  • Logged forest regrowth store only half their potential carbon (max) If logging was stopped it would reduce our carbon emissions immediately;

The RFA’s must be terminated as the 20 year failed agreements reach their end. The logging industry and its political supporters are of course keen to roll them over with as little fuss as possible.  Not if the combined Australian forest campaign groups can help it!  

 

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