20 Dec 2023

ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS AN END TO NATIVE FOREST LOGGING

By Dr Kita Ashman, Threatened Species and Climate Adaptation Ecologist, WWF-Australia

As the holiday season approaches, amidst the joy and mounting festive spirit, there’s something pressing on my mind—a wish that goes beyond the presents and feasting with the fam.

This Christmas, all I want is to see an end to native forest logging in Australia.

It’s a wish that goes beyond my own beliefs and interests; it's about safeguarding our environment, preserving biodiversity, and embracing sustainable opportunities for our future.

The Impacts of Logging

Native forest logging carries profound negative repercussions for our ecosystem and economy. It disrupts ecosystems that are home to unique and often endangered species. The destruction of habitat due to logging has put iconic critters like the koala and greater glider at risk, pushing them closer to extinction.

WWF-Australia is partnering with The University of Sydney to deploy GPS collars on greater gliders to get one of the worlds first high-resolution looks into greater glider home ranges and habitat use in bushfire-impacted forests.
WWF-Australia is partnering with The University of Sydney to deploy GPS collars on greater gliders to get one of the worlds first high-resolution looks into greater glider home ranges and habitat use in bushfire-impacted forests. © WWF-Australia / Oliver Risi

The destruction of these habitats isn’t just a blow for wildlife, but for taxpayers too. As of recent estimations, annual declared financial losses from the logging industry have been reported to range in the billions collectively across Victoria, New South Wales, and Tasmania, encompassing costs associated with environmental damage, biodiversity depletion, and ecosystem degradation.

Logging also contributes to habitat fragmentation and soil erosion; it alters hydrological cycles, and releases stored carbon into the atmosphere, exacerbating the climate crisis. The ecological toll of this practice extends far beyond what meets the eye, impacting the very systems that sustain life.

Logging in Tallaganda State Forest
Logging in Tallaganda State Forest © Forest Defence NSW

The Positive Effects of Stopping Logging

Stopping native forest logging presents an array of positive outcomes that extend far beyond the immediate cessation of tree cutting. It’s a chance to restore ecosystems, allowing nature to rejuvenate and thrive. We've seen this in states like Victoria, where the decision to end logging has led to significant opportunities for ecological recovery.

This cessation isn’t just about putting an end to an economically and environmentally detrimental practice; it’s about embracing a better future. We can enhance carbon sequestration, mitigate climate change, and preserve vital ecosystems for generations to come.

Opportunities Beyond Logging

Ending native forest logging isn’t the end—it’s a new beginning. We have the opportunity to explore alternative avenues that offer sustainable livelihoods while preserving our natural heritage. Australia is rich in potential beyond logging. Investing in sustainable forestry practices such as timber production from plantations, promoting ecotourism, and fostering innovation led programs for high-integrity and equitable restoration are just a few ways to create economic opportunities without compromising our forests or futures.

The transition away from logging isn’t just an environmental imperative; it’s an economic opportunity. It’s a chance to diversify industries, create jobs, and build a more resilient economy that thrives without sacrificing our precious biodiversity.

We’ve seen the impact we can collectively have with recent campaigns to halt logging in endangered greater glider strongholds like Tallaganda. In August, we launched our campaign, and thousands of you showed up, signed petitions, and added your voice to protect this incredible place. We’ve been able to secure four back-to-back stop work orders from our collective efforts.

We’ve also created an amazing ripple effect. There are 34 active compartments (areas of forest that were up for being logged) in southern NSW and 81 in northern NSW, a total of 115 chunks of precious forest. Between Tallaganda, Bago, Flat Rock, and Styx River, we, along with our partners and allies from a range of grassroots organisations, have now stopped work (formally, or in the case of Bago informally) in 14 compartments. That’s 12% of the native forest logging compartments in the entire state of NSW that we’ve collectively prevented logging in, in just over three months.

The current Stop Work Order in Tallaganda has just been extended, which means these forests are safe for now, but this Christmas, my wish isn’t for pressies under the Christmas tree; it’s for more trees to be left standing, for a future where our native forests flourish, where biodiversity thrives, and where sustainable opportunities are grabbed with both hands.

Ending native forest logging in Australia isn’t just a wish; it’s a necessity for a brighter, more sustainable, and liveable tomorrow. Let’s make this wish a reality, not just for us but for the health of our planet and the generations yet to come.

Here are some ways you can help make a difference for our native forests this Christmas.

  • Sign the petition to call for a permanent end to the destructive logging in Tallaganda State Forest.
  • Learn more about the benefits of trees and how you can help Australia become a leader in reforestation.
  • Donate to support on-ground conservation work to protect wildlife and their habitats.
  • Plant native trees in your backyard or balcony to create a wildlife-friendly oasis.