Bellingen Shire Council Mayor, Cr Dominic King, is calling for the state government to place a moratorium on logging until the fire emergency is over and there is time to assess the forestry estate.
Cr King said loss and fragmentation of habitat is recognised as a key threat for endangered species and as such highlights the importance of protecting our remaining forests.
"This region's unique forests are recognised as one of the 36 biodiversity hotspots in the world and with more than 150,000 hectares of forest burned in these unprecedented fires in and around our shire we cannot afford to lose any more environmentally significant habitat."
With the continued devastation from the Spring 2019 bushfire season and loss of critical habitat and koalas across the mid north coast, Mayor Dominic King is calling for the suspension on logging in Bellingen Shire and regions suffering extreme bushfire threat until the following occur:
1. The immediate threat of bushfires subsides within the region
2. Rainfall of 160-200mm across the region is received to support the effort to stop the current fires. It is council's understanding that this is the estimated required rainfall to manage the fire risk as provided by the Rural Fire Service).
3. An assessment of the impact the fires have had on koala habitat and endangered plant communities is conducted by qualified professionals
4. The number of koalas and endangered plant communities lost to fires are quantified.
Council has made representations to the Premier, The Hon. Gladys Berejiklian, the NSW Environment Minister, The Hon. Matt Kean MP and our local State Member, The Hon. Melinda Pavey in its endeavours to ensure the conservation of biodiversity and protection of our world heritage listed forests.
Cr King pointed to the strong community-driven campaign opposing Forestry Corporation's plans to log compartments in the Kalang headwaters and the importance of protecting the areas significant biodiversity.
"We have a responsibility to protect our local natural environment, and by preserving the health of our rivers, valleys and forests we will ensure that our shire continues to remain a unique and important habitat for endangered wildlife and plant communities."