Destruction of Habitat Triples since Act Axed; 14ha of Forests Bulldozed Each Day

Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia), September 10, 2018 | Go to article overview

Destruction of Habitat Triples since Act Axed; 14ha of Forests Bulldozed Each Day


SATELLITE imagery shows a massive spike in the destruction of NSW koala forests, with the rate of tree-clearing tripling in the state's north since the axing of the NSW Native Vegetation Act in August 2017.

Following the removal of laws protecting koala forests, more than 5000 hectares of koala habitat has been bulldozed in the NSW districts of Moree and Collarenebri at a rate of about 14 football fields a day, a new report by WWF-Australia and the NSW Nature Conservation Council has found.

Highlights

Since the repeal of the NSW Native Vegetation Act, in the Moree-Collarenebri region:

* Clearing almost tripled. 8194 ha was cleared in 2017-18, up from 2845ha in 2016-17.

* 14ha of koala habitat was bulldozed each day in 2017-18 (5246ha of habitat destroyed). The koala is designated as vulnerable to extinction under Commonwealth and state law.

* 19ha of Painted Honeyeater habitat was bulldozed each day in 2017-18 (6942ha of habitat destroyed). The Painted Honeyeater is designated as vulnerable to extinction under Commonwealth and state law.

* Habitat for 247 native species may have been destroyed in 2017-18, including habitat for nine species of national environmental significance.

* The Moree-Collarenebri region is already extensively cleared. Only 6 per cent of the study area has forest remaining while 11 per cent is sparse woodlands.

WWF-Australia conservationist Stuart Blanch said: "WWF-Australia estimates there are likely less than 20,000 koalas left in NSW and at the current rate they are on track to be extinct in the state by as early as 2050. …

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