Media Release - 04/05/16
Activists highlight National Park logging outrage
Friends of the Earth (FoE) has today released pictures showing destructive logging operations occurring inside the Murray Valley National Park, part of Australia’s largest remaining River Red Gum forest.
The pictures highlight the impact of a so-called ‘ecological thinning’ program that was recently approved by Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt. The program allows logging and extraction of Red Gum timber across 22 ‘plots’ within the National Park.
FoE activists photographed the impact of tree felling operations within a 9 hectare ‘plot’ within the Millewa Forest, close to the Murray River. They also identified the large timber stockpile, where logs from the thinning are being stored as firewood.
‘These pictures confirm that so-called ‘ecological thinning’ is just a foot in the door for logging in New South Wales’ National Parks,’ said FoE River Country Campaign coordinator Morgana Russell.
‘The mechanical harvesting machinery, log trucks, timber stockpiles and devastated understorey vegetation speak for themselves. This is logging by stealth,’ Morgana Russel said.
‘The River Red Gums of the Murray Valley National Park are an iconic Australian ecosystem. They are also part of an internationally significant Ramsar listed wetland. Just six years after receiving protection as a National Park, Environment Minister Greg Hunt has opened the door to this destructive practice,’ Morgana Russel said.
‘National Parks are meant to be protected in the interest of all Australians. If these forests aren’t safe from logging, where is?,’ Morgana Russel said.
Friends of the Earth is concerned that the New South Wales Government, in cooperation with their Federal counterparts, is using this so called ‘ecological thinning’ trial as a test case to legitimise logging in National Parks across the State and Australia.
‘The science on Red Gum forest health tells us that water is the key to their survival. Over-extraction of water for irrigation, river regulation and lack of adequate environmental flows are the drivers of declining health in these forests. Logging is not a viable or sustainable solution to address these problems. Logging in National Parks simply appeases interest groups at a cost to all Australians and our environment,’ Morgana Russel said.
Comment: Morgana Russell, Coordinator – River Country Campaign - Friends of the Earth Melbourne
High Resolution Images available on request