Principles

The Greens NSW believe:

1. Australia is globally significant for its biodiversity and forests are a key element in this biodiversity.

2. Wild forests, native forests, rainforests and multi-aged and old growth forests are significant in maintaining water quality and quantity, protecting threatened species and their habitat.

3. It is incumbent on government to assess and enhance the ecosystem values that forests provide, including water and soil quality, biodiversity and carbon capture.

4. Forests maintain water quality, help to suppress salinity and provide the most efficient water catchments for cities, towns and farms. Large tracts of forests can help stabilise local weather patterns and micro climates, and increase local rainfall by up to 15%.

5. Logging old trees increases transpiration when new trees grow as replacements.

6. Soil compaction resulting from logging and clearing decreases water infiltration rates and increases runoff rates and erosion.

7. Logging often increases the risk of fire in mature natural forests, creating a situation where fire could destroy the entire forest.

8. Controlled burns after logging expose soil to desiccation and erosion, decreasing the health of soils by destroying microorganisms and insects and results in increased carbon dioxide, methane and black carbon emissions that increases global warming.

9. Burning forests for power is not renewable energy. It creates more greenhouse gases than burning coal, creates pollutants that are injurious to human health, and destroys vast quantities of trees.

10. Cessation of logging on public native forests will protect their unique biodiversity, essential ecosystems services, human health, cultural and spiritual significance.

11. Disturbing the forest floor through logging results in weed invasion that increases the probability of Bell Miner Associated Dieback, infestations such phytophthora, drying out and degradation of soil and increased fire risk.

12. Protecting native forests, restoring degraded native forests and re-establishing forests on cleared land is important for wildlife habitat, wildlife corridors, ecosystems and catchment protection.

13. All mining, gas extraction, pumped hydro and other damaging industries should be banned from state forests and other high-conservation-value forests.

14. Establishing an environmentally sustainable plantation industry will replace the logging of native forests.

15. Promoting and fostering the development of alternative fibre sources and their associated industries will reduce the need for logging and wood-chipping.

16. Protecting native forests is an essential and efficient way to deliver reductions in global warming and should be part of the government’s efforts to tackle climate change in line with the Paris Climate Agreement.

17. All native State forests should be reclassified as reserves under the National Parks and Wildlife Act or as Indigenous Protected areas. Wilderness, Wild Rivers and World Heritage assessments and nominations should be undertaken on all forested lands.

18. The forests of NSW provide a range of vital ecosystem services to the people of this state, as well as a wide range of healthcare and wellbeing benefits. Protecting forests directly and indirectly increases the health and wellbeing of all citizens.

19. Sustainable, nature-based and educational tourism and recreation activities in our forests are to be encouraged and supported.

20. The establishment of an effective regulatory system for all timber products on all land tenures is essential to protect biodiversity, ecosystem services, landscape and cultural values and promote carbon sequestration.

21. Aboriginal peoples have managed native forests for tens of thousands of years, deriving their spiritual and cultural identity, life and livelihood from their lands and waters. Respectful engagement with Indigenous communities will enhance understandings of cultural heritage and best practice for continuing custodial action for forests.

22. Aboriginal people have a vital role in managing forests and should be able to derive economic, social and cultural benefit from future uses of forests (excluding logging).

23. The principle of intergenerational equity must be incorporated into decision making on forest management.

 

Aims/Actions

The Greens NSW will:

Protect Native Forests

24. Implement a prohibition on the logging and clearing of all native forests, rainforest, multi-aged and old growth forest, high conservation value areas and timbered crown lands.

25. That given 97% of native forests logged in South East NSW are wood-chipped that all native forestry logging in South East NSW cease.

26. Integrate forest management and repair into catchment and healthy river management.

27. End destructive logging laws and enhance state and federal environmental protection laws.

28. Oppose payment of further taxpayer subsidies to the logging industry.

29. Cease log, wood pellet and woodchip exports from NSW forests.

30. Revise and regulate all operating procedures for logging across all land tenures as part of a transition to end logging.

31. Resist the influence of corporations and lobbyists from the biomass and woodchips industry that allows export of unsustainable New South Wales wood products.

32. Introduce legislation to ban all industrial activities which will impact native State forests and other high-conservation-value forests. These industries include, but are not restricted to: mining, gas extraction, quarries, biomass burning for electricity generation, firewood and pumped hydro.

33. Ban the conversion of native forests into quasi-plantations and plantations.

34. End Wood Supply Agreements, pertaining to native forests, entered into with Forestry Corporation.

35. Legislate quality, genuine forest certification systems.

36. Ensure third party appeal rights, to enforce environmental legislation for forests, are reinstated in full as soon as possible.

37. Fund councils to protect their forest assets and resources through zoning and development control.

38. Reverse the 2013 amendment to the Protection of the Environment Operations (General) (Native Forest Bio-material) Regulation by the NSW government. This will then prohibit native forest biomass, including whole trees, to be used in electricity generation. Ensure Best Practice Management of Plantation and Private Forests. Many of these points apply in a transition scenario.

39. Mandate minimum standards of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for all forestry operations.

40. Ensure strict supervision of logging on private land.

41. Demand effective implementation and enforcement of vegetation clearance controls and environmental protection measures, on public and private lands.

42. Ensure that there is no exemption for private land logging in any legislation.

43. Revise, regulate and monitor all operating procedures for logging across all land tenures.

44. Provide assistance to private land holders to protect threatened species habitat, wilderness, rainforest, town water catchments and high conservation value or ‘old growth’ forests.

45. Ban all logging in water catchment headwaters.

46. Where logging is still occurring, ensure that only quality and sustainable logging practices are used. Ban clear-felling, forest burning, chemical weeding with sprays and other destructive practices.

47. Require low impact logging machinery across all land tenures.

48. Prohibit logging and logging tracks on steep slopes which causes environmental damage, including erosion and silting of rivers.

49. Require the consideration of local factors, such as required buffer zones and high rainfall zones, when planning the harvesting of plantations.

50. Amend legislation to apply strong environmental controls for older plantations in environmentally sensitive areas.

51. Include the consideration of the cumulative impacts of logging operations in any harvest plans, particularly where there is a short time frame for numerous harvest plans in different forests/plantations in a geographical area (e.g. a Local Government area) and/or repeated logging over a period of time in any forest/plantation.

52. Develop an environmentally sustainable and profitable plantation industry that can replace the logging of native forests for timber production and jobs.

53. Encourage the purchase of lands for mixed species woodlots and hardwood timber plantations on appropriate sites, to preserve native forests.

54. Develop and implement a set criteria for the establishment and maintenance of sustainable plantations, such as: riparian zone management, species selection, weed control, chemical usage, local water demands and possible sensitivities of the area to traditional owners.

55. Empower and ensure a publicly accountable agency is adequately resourced to review and monitor forest management practices.

Ethically Manage and Protect Forests for Our Future

56. Legislate to prohibit any new intensive logging proposals, such as wood for biomass or charcoal production.

57. Create opportunities to link infrastructure needs, for ecologically sustainable tourism and recreation with new national park proposals such as the Great Koala National Park (GKP).

58. Protect a significant portion of the Koala population of the Mid North Coast of New South Wales through the establishment of the Great Koala National Park, including the possibility of extending the GKP as the need for protection of additional koala populations is identified.

59. Enhance forest based tourism and recreational opportunities by restoring public forests and adding to the National Parks estate, particularly the Great Koala Park.

60. Provide transition plans for people, industry and communities impacted by the phase out of native forest logging.

61. Create jobs in forest eco-tourism, e.g: tree-top walks, bird-watching, maintenance work etc, instead of destructive industries.

62. Promote the development of sustainable wood and fibre industries in NSW, such as hemp and other alternatives (e.g. banana leaves, bamboo, agricultural waste fibres) consistent with Ecologically Sustainable Development principles.

63. Promote and secure laws to facilitate the development of hemp-based and blended, fibre products.

64. Invest in the restoration of degraded forests and promote the creation of an environmental restoration and repair industry as a major new regional employment initiative.

65. Support a just transition of Forestry Workers into other opportunities, including future plans for forests in New South Wales. For example, all aspects of establishment and ongoing operation of the Great Koala National Park.

66. Work with local, state and federal governments to produce timely, high value outcomes for forests.

67. Educate the community about the values of forests and forest biodiversity.

Integrate Aboriginal Heritage and Practice with Forest Practice and Protection

68. Recognise and acknowledge Indigenous Australians' prior and continuing custodianship of land, much of which is now NSW Wilderness, State Forest and National Park.

69. Consult with Indigenous Australians on forest ownership and management recognising that many areas of State Forest contain sites of cultural significance to Aboriginal people.

70. Engage the local Indigenous community, including bodies like Local Aboriginal Land Council, to ensure consultation with correctly identified traditional owners and custodians.

71. Employ more forest workers who are Indigenous.

72. Ensure that any new Laws or Regulations take into account Indigenous Australians' obligations under traditional law and culture, to conserve the environment and maintain ecosystems in their natural state.

73. Ensure that any future Forest Laws must comply with The Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) which recognises a right or interest over land or waters that may be owned, according to traditional laws and customs, by Aboriginal peoples. Under the Native Title Act the NSW Government is able to negotiate Indigenous Land Use Agreements (ILUAs) to settle native title claims over public lands. There are nine ILUAs in place in NSW.

Restore Ecological Balance and Protect Biodiversity

74. Encourage public recognition that water is one of the highest value resources that can be obtained from the forest estate: that regrowth forests should be managed towards their old growth state for both biodiversity and water conservation.

75. Implement major re afforestation schemes to establish wildlife corridors linking remaining forests and woodlands, to allow movement of fauna.

76. Re-establish riparian vegetation for the health of our waterways and re-establish native vegetation in cleared and degraded areas.

77. Promote conservation approaches that assist koalas, gliders and other hollow dependent forest species.

78. Prohibit logging or clearing of all hollow-bearing trees across all tenures, with the retention of an adequate number of recruitment trees across all size classes.

79. Revise and enhance current reserve system criteria.

80. Create secure reserves, linked by corridors, across all bioregions and land tenures, including the estuarine and marine environments. Secure reserves provide habitat to:

80.1. protect the nation’s biological diversity; and

80.2. permit the ongoing biological functioning of viable populations, including their evolution and adaptation during a period of rapid climate change.

81. Develop an Integrated Firewood Replacement Strategy to end firewood collection from native and other forests, that recognises the substantial adverse health and impacts including global warming from wood heating, and that provides education programs and subsidies for low-income households to switch to low-cost, non-polluting alternatives.

82. Pursue threatened species protection on private property by:

82.2. Instigating an ongoing biological survey and research program for natural ecosystems;

82.3 Ensuring an independent scientific review of the conservation protocols applied to forestry operations and implementing the recommendations of such a review.

Address the Climate Crisis

84. Include recognition of carbon-sequestration value of standing forests in any new Forest Laws and Regulations.

85. Maintaining carbon stores in landscapes (including forests) through avoiding emissions from deforestation will help us reach our greenhouse gas emissions targets.

86. Increase percentage of durable timber products from any timber harvest to further reduce global warming.

87. Incentivise private landholders to use land use practices that preserve biodiversity and forests as carbon stores.

88. Develop methodology for calculating avoided global warming as a result of forest protection.