Logging is likely to resume in Bulga State Forest according to local conservationist Sharyn O’Dell. 

These days logging happens away from the public eye. The Forestry Corporation doesn’t want anyone seeing what they are doing, so they close the forest. They’ve just closed a big area of Bulga Forest from now until January 2024. 

“We’ve been out in the forest a few times now looking for Koalas. They are in there and they are breeding, because we’ve seen different size scats, and we saw a young one in a tree. We’ve also seen Greater Gliders. It’s an absolute thrill seeing a glider, and Greater Gliders are amazing. They are about the size of cat with an enormously long tail. They can be black or white or a combo and they have the cutest pink ears. “Twenty years ago, Greater Gliders were common, since then their population has crashed. Logging is one of the many reasons for that. They need the bigger, older trees and they are  disappearing from the forests. Forestry Corporation say they run a sustainable operation and that for every tree they cut they grow another… but when you cut a giant, having a seedling to replace it is not the same thing. Trees are so slow growing.

“Most of the rainforests were logged, most of the old growth was logged, much of the mature forest has been logged, and now we’re left with a mostly young forest that doesn’t have the habitat components that so many species need. So much of our State Forests are now ecological deserts. There are so few animals there, so little plant diversity. You only have to go and have a look to see what I mean,” explained Sharyn.

Sharyn was arrested earlier in the year as part of the wave of forest protest actions that swept the region and is still waiting for her case to be heard.

“It’s pretty crazy, I just went to a Landcare meeting, where we were told there was buckets of money to help landholders like me, plant corridors of vegetation across our properties for Koalas to use. Those seedlings will take 20 years before they are much good to a Koala, and yet the same Government is  knocking over hundreds of thousands of fully grown Koala feed- trees right across the region.

“It would make much more sense to use the money to save the trees that are already grown. I’ll plant trees but the drought wasn’t that long ago and there’s another hot and dry summer coming. If it’s anything like what’s happening right now in the  northern hemisphere, we could be living in hell on earth, it’s not the best conditions for seedlings. And if they do grow into saplings… they’ll still be a long way off being a Koala feed-tree.

“Besides Koalas are notoriously fussy eaters. They only eat some types of gum leaves from their favourite tree species, and don’t eat from every tree. We don’t know why they favour some trees over others. What if I plant a corridor of ‘feed’ trees and they aren’t what Koalas like to eat. “That’s why I’m joining up with others in my community to defend the standing trees. We know the logging is wrong, we know the Koalas and Greater Gliders are in trouble, and it seems our governments are not going to do anything meaningful about it. As always, the people need to lead. Please join us!”

Susie Russell

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