Protecting giant trees in Doubleduke State Forest
The EPA has acted on community concerns about giant trees in Doubleduke State Forest on Bundjalung Country near Grafton, leading the Forestry Corporation of NSW (FCNSW) to voluntarily suspend tree harvesting there.
Update: 20 April 2023
FCNSW has completed a remap of active harvest areas as requested by the EPA on 14 April 2023.
The additional mapping provides assurance to the EPA and the community that all retained trees in active harvest areas have been identified and mapped.
Having regard to remapping works undertaken by FCNSW, a voluntarily suspension of operations is no longer requested by the EPA.
The EPA will continue to monitor and enforce compliance with the CIFOA at the Forest.
The decision and timing to recommence operations in the Forest is a matter for FCNSW.
The EPA actively monitors and enforces compliance at crown forestry operations conducted by FCNSW.
On 11 April a complaint was lodged with the EPA alleging breaches in the forest.
EPA officers conducted a site inspection in the forest on 13 April. The inspection identified that FCNSW had not mapped two giant trees in accordance with the Coastal Integrated Forestry Operations Approval (CIFOA) and Protocols.
“A giant tree is defined as one whose diameter is greater than 140cm when measured at 30cm above ground height," EPA’s Director Regulatory Operations, Steve Orr said.
“Under the forestry laws all giant trees must be retained.
“While these two giant trees have not been harvested, they were not mapped.
“We’re extremely concerned that there is a risk that other giant trees may not have been mapped in accordance with the CIFOA."
After the inspection the EPA asked FCNSW to immediately suspend operations in Doubleduke State Forest and remap the active harvest areas.
FCNSW confirmed it had voluntarily stopped harvesting trees in the forest.
FCNSW will continue to maintain tracks and process timber already harvested in the forest.
A number of other alleged breaches were not substantiated.
FCNSW is fully cooperating with the EPA.
The EPA’s investigation is ongoing.