Plans to increase logging on the South Coast has conservationists concerned.
Milton National Parks Association secretary Brigitte Nairn conceded there would always be a place for logging in the region, but wanted the industry to take “scientific evidence on board”.
The draft Coastal Integrated Forestry Operations Approvals, released in May, will allow for increased logging by opening up currently protected old growth forests for logging.
Ms Nairn said the current proposal would “dramatically increase” the rate of logging and “effectively turn existing forest into managed plantations”.
She was concerned the changes would have a negative impact on tourism on the South Coast.
“These managed plantations have little attraction for people who come here to do nature-based tourism,” she said.
“They come here for the native forests and wild environment that we can currently offer them.
“If we continue down this path and go ahead with the changes to forestry that the government is proposing, the impact will be to destroy the flora and fauna who need a native forest environment to survive.”
NPA convener Barry Tomkinson said logging would always be a part of local industry, but the way it was managed was important.
“The current proposals are to dramatically change that and ultimately destroy the future for logging,” he said.
“Logging will have a long-term future here, but it needs to be sustainable and the current proposals are not sustainable.”
Although timber was a renewable source, logging old-growth forests was not sustainable, Ms Nairn said.
“All of our old growth forests have taken a long time to develop,” she said.
“I am concerned any logging increase on the South Coast will denude parts of the hills and scenery and as people walk or drive through, they won’t have the natural backdrop that you would expect and that will turn people off from coming here.”