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Ending native forest logging will reduce extreme bushfire risk, new study shows

Ground-breaking research by the Australian National University has found logging native forests increases the risk of catastrophic bushfires. [1] 

The study's authors warn that logging is not just increasing the risk of severe fires, but also the risk to human lives and safety.  

Lead author Professor David Lindenmayer said: 

Logging increases the probability of canopy damage by five to 20 per cent and leads to long-term elevated risk of higher severity fire. On the other hand, if disturbance due to logging is minimised, canopy damage can be reduced, in turn reducing the risk of uncontrollable fires. [2] 

Nature Conservation Council Organiser Wilson Harris said: “The arguments in support of ending native forest logging keep mounting.  

“We already know that local economies and wildlife stand to benefit enormously by ending native forest logging. 

“This research confirms earlier studies that show recently logged forests pose a huge risk of intense fires that sweep through the canopy.

“This is quite contrary to what many people might expect, but it has now been confirmed by several scientific studies. 

“The message is quite clear—ending native forest logging will reduce risks to life and property, as well as koalas and other wildlife. 

“We trust this research will inform the findings and recommendations of the NSW parliamentary inquiry into forestry, which is holding public hearings at Coffs Harbour next week.” [3] 

References 

[1] Logging elevated the probability of high-severity fire in the 2019–20 Australian forest fires, April 2022, Nature Ecology & Evolution  

[2] Logging "amplified" severity of Black Summer bushfires, 22-4-22, Australian National University  

[3] Upper House Inquiry into the long-term sustainability and future of the timber and forest products industry, NSW Legislative Council 2022 

 

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