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Forestry Corp NSW fined over habitat loss

Urgent changes are needed to Australia's biodiversity offsets system, which is failing to stem the rapid destruction of the environment, experts warn.

Urgent changes are needed to Australia's biodiversity offsets system, which is failing to stem the rapid destruction of the environment, experts warn. Photo: Getty

Logging trees that provide vital habitat for endangered native animals in NSW has led to the state’s appointed environmental and land manager copping $45,000 in fines.

The Forestry Corporation of NSW has been slapped three $15,000 fines by the NSW Environment Protection Authority for felling ‘hollow bearing’ trees used for habitat by native species.

The fines were for felling trees with hollows in Mogo State Forest on the South Coast in 2020.

Trees with hollows serve as vital habitat for endangered native species, the NSW EPA said, and the fines are the largest available for that particular infringement.

Forestry Corp NSW has appealed one of the fines.

The corporation, owned by the NSW state government, is in charge of managing environmental conservation, land management, tourism and the renewable logging of timber over two million hectares of the state.

Following the severe damage from the 2019/2020 Black Summer Bushfires, specific conditions for forestry were put in place in the Mogo State Forest by the EPA.

The conditions were designed to provide further protection to the already damaged forests, including that all trees with hollows, particularly important to native wildlife, would be permanently kept in place.

“The ongoing survival of endangered hollow-dependent species relies on the availability of trees across the landscape with a range of hollow shapes and sizes,” said EPA Executive Director Regulatory Operations Carmen Dwyer.

“Any decrease in the availability and diversity of tree hollows can lead to a significant loss of species diversity and abundance.”

– AAP

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