Review of forestry conditions and compliance

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has amended the site-specific biodiversity conditions (SSBCs) to clarify search and survey requirements and strengthen protections for greater gliders.

These changes require Forestry Corporation of NSW (FCNSW) to implement a 25-metre logging exclusion zone around any tree in which a Greater Glider is sighted during FCNSW’s search and survey. 

This is in addition to the existing exclusion zone requirement, which protects trees where Greater Glider dens have been identified. Dens are used by Greater Gliders as shelter, for sleeping during the day and raising their young.  

These amendments have been made to increase protections for other trees known to be used by Greater Gliders, where dens have not necessarily been identified but are likely to be present.  

Changes have also been made to clarify requirements for how nocturnal search and surveys must be conducted. This includes requiring search and surveys to be conducted at night, with the first transect of the search and survey commencing within 30 minutes of sunset to increase the likelihood of observing gliders leaving their dens. 

Without these amendments and clarity to search and survey requirements, FCNSW has advised the current conditions would have a material impact on the state’s wood supply.  

The February SSBCs did not reflect the shared understanding of the EPA and FCNSW that only the first part of the search and survey had to commence within the first hour of sunset. As a result, the EPA is not issuing Stop Work Orders at this time. However, we are still investigating potential non-compliances with the SSBCs.  

FCNSW has been informed of our regulatory expectations and the requirement to implement these new SSBC requirements going forward. Scheduling of current and proposed harvesting operations is a matter for FCNSW. 

We understand there is community concern for the conservation of threatened species and forests and we remain committed to fulfilling our statutory obligation to protect the environment and independently regulate all licensed industries, including native forest operations.  

We will continue to regulate FCNSW activities to ensure the rules are complied with and will regularly review these settings to ensure that they are operating as intended.