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75 hectares of habitat lost each day in NSW

Latest land clearing data shows 75 hectares of wildlife habitat is bulldozed or logged every day in NSW, almost twice the average annual rate recorded before the Coalition overhauled nature laws in 2016. [1] 

The annual Statewide Land and Tree Study (SLATS) data shows 27,610 hectares of native forest were destroyed for farming, forestry and development in 2020. 

“This astounding rate of deforestation is a disaster for wildlife and the climate. We call on the government to take urgent action to reverse the trend,” Nature Conservation Council Chief Executive Chris Gambian said.    

“In just one year we have lost an area of native forest nearly double the size of Royal National Park. It is simply unsustainable. 

“Using widely accepted data on wildlife population densities, clearing on that scale would have killed up to 4.6 million animals - mammals, birds and reptiles – in just 12 months. [2] 

“Native forests in NSW can absorb up to 44 tonnes/hectare of C02 annually [3].  

“Protected from logging, NSW public native forests could store an additional 900 million tonnes of CO2 - equivalent to six years of NSW emissions.   

“These forests are a critical carbon sink that we need to protect to pursue meaningful action on climate change. 

“After the government weakened land clearing laws in 2016, deforestation rates doubled and have remained at these dangerously high levels ever since. 

“The Coalition promised it’s new laws would enhance protections for bushland and wildlife.  

“These figures, and the rising number of threatened species, shows the laws completely fail to deliver on that promise. 

“More than 1,040 plants and animals are now threatened with extinction in NSW, about 40 more than when the scheme was introduced. 

“The government must stop uncontrolled deforestation on private land and in state forests if it is going to tackle the extinction crisis.”

The SLATS data show a 43% increase in the amount of vegetation cover lost in production forests, presumably due to the 2019-20 Black Summer Bushfires. 

“Native forests in NSW can absorb up to 44 tonnes/hectare of C02 annually,” Mr Gambian said. [4]   

“Protected from logging, NSW public native forests could store an additional 900 million tonnes of CO2 - equivalent to six years of NSW emissions.    

“These forests are a critical carbon sink that we need to protect to pursue meaningful action on climate change." 

REFERENCES 

[1] Land cover change reporting, DPIE, June 2022 

[2] Native Animals Lost to Tree Clearing in NSW 1998-2015, WWF-Australia, 2018  

[3] Green Carbon report, The Wilderness Society, 2008 (figure of 44 tonnes/hectare of CO2 arrived at by multiplying the figure of 12 tonnes of Carbon a year by 3.67) 

[4] Green Carbon report, The Wilderness Society, 2008 (figure of 44 tonnes/hectare of CO2 arrived at by multiplying the figure of 12 tonnes of Carbon a year by 3.67)  

  

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