WWF-Australia has commissioned a report that finds more than 2.2 million hectares of koala habitat could be cleared under proposed changes to tree-clearing controls in NSW.
That represents about 10% of the known or likely koala habitat in NSW.
In total more than 8 million hectares of the state’s trees, forests and woodlands could be bulldozed.
The NSW Government is introducing four new self-assessable codes for landclearing: management, efficiency, equity and farm planning.
Environmental consultancy Eco Logical Australia analysed the potential impacts of just one of those codes - the Equity Code.
WWF-Australia commissioned this report because the NSW Government has failed to provide any estimates of the impact on clearing rates from these proposed changes and all freedom of information requests have been denied.
“Under what’s proposed tree-clearing will be out of control,” said Dr Francesca Andreoni, WWF-Australia Forest and Woodland Conservation Policy Manager.
“We can’t allow our last remaining areas of forest and bush to be bulldozed.
“Scientists have warned that the new laws could see a return to broad scale clearing in NSW – this report is further proof that they’re right.
“There are already major concerns about koalas with fears they are rapidly disappearing in New South Wales.
“This amount of clearing would put koalas and many other species of wildlife in the express lane to extinction in NSW,” she said.
About 38% of the trees, forests and woodlands that remain in NSW could be cleared, much of it out west.
In fact in the Western Local Land Services Area, about 84% of the remaining bush could potentially be cleared.
Other parts of the State with large areas that could be cleared under the Equity Code include:
- The North West LLS (nearly 800,000 ha making up 45% of total mapped woody vegetation)
- Northern Tablelands LLS (over 500,000 ha making up about 29% of total mapped woody vegetation), and
- The Central West LLS (nearly 500,000 ha making up 39% of total mapped woody vegetation).
Over 2.2 million hectares of forests identified as either known or likely koala habitat could potentially be cleared under the equity code.
This equates to about 13% of the mapped forests and woodlands across the State.
Local government areas with the greatest potential impact to koala habitat include:
- Walgett LGA (183,420 hectares) in the North West
- Warrumbungle LGA (164,964 hectares) in the Central West
- Inverell LGA (105,917 hectares), in the Northern Tablelands
- Tenterfield LGA (164, 035 hectares) in the Northern Tablelands, and
- Clarence Valley LGA (150,945 hectares) in the North Coast
WWF-Australia Media Contact:
Mark Symons, Senior Media Officer, 0400 985 571, firstname.lastname@example.org
Distribution of lots (properties) which may meet the Equity Code criteria: