Mount Rae Forest consists of over 850 hectares on top of The Great Dividing Range, between Crookwell and Taralga. It is proven to contain nearly 250 species of fauna and flora. 11 threatened species. Two Endangered Ecological Communities. It is located in a Biogeographic Sub-Region which has only 0.01-5% protected areas.
After being encouraged by State Government scientists to act and protect lands in this forest for the future, two properties entered Voluntary Conservation Agreements demonstrating the State significance of their lands and this forest. Four properties have entered Wildlife Land Trust Agreements.
The award winning Roslyn Landcare Group has made this area a focus for over $360,000 of federal and state grant monies for their extensive tree and wildlife corridor plantings. Lands here are listed in the local council ( Upper Lachlan Shire ) as being of biodiversity significance. It is considered to be part of a significant corridor providing landscape connectivity at a regional scale .
In April 2007 the NSW Department of Conservation and Climate Change (now Office of Environment and Heritage) described Mount Rae forest as a “locally and regionally significant area of native vegetation in a landscape that has been largely cleared.”
It has also had entire properties APPROVED FOR COMMERCIAL SCALE FIREWOOD CLEARING by the NSW State Government’s Office of Environment and Heritage . The same department that urged us to protect it!
These approvals have been given to non -resident landowners without ANY environmental surveys required under Private Native Forestry legislation !
No consultation with their own scientists who had previously opposed this operation.
A hasty ‘tick the box’ process where one hand does not know ( or apparently care) what the other is doing.
The forestry network backing a firewood merchant in Mount Rae forest, has stated their intent to use this legislation to “open up” 1.5 million hectares of forest and woodland remnants in the Southern Tablelands for logging to supply Canberra, Sydney and surrounds with firewood.
So much for stated concerns for climate change and air quality. The forestry network involved state firewood from native forest clearing is greenhouse POSITIVE.
Stronger legislation on Private Native Forests is needed. The New South Wales Government is presently set to decide on legal regimes in regard to the control of logging in Private Native Forests. The current legislation allows logging companies and firewood merchants to buy up lands, log them and then sell. Our native forests and woodlands should not be treated as cash windfalls. They are important habitat, carbon stores, salinity and erosion buffers, protectors of water quality and our future.
Mount Rae Forest’s future , and the future of more than four million hectares of forests and woodlands across private lands in NSW, still hang in the balance.
FOOTNOTE: in a wonderful piece of irony , properties that claimed firewood logging was merely a means of “enhancing” the forests of the Southern Tablelands for biodiverity are now undergoing drilling for bauxite in Mount Rae forest. I guess if logging is now considered to be a means of “improving” forests for our disappearing plants and animals then open-cut mining will really fix them up!
“Man has long lost his ability to foresee and forestall. He will end by destroying the earth. “ Albert Schweitzer.
Mark Selmes -Mt Rae Forest resident and voice for the wildlife.
770 Mount Rae Road,Taralga NSW 2580