By BEN CUBBY
January 25, 2010
LOGGING is set to start within weeks in a forest that supports the last known koala colony on the NSW far south coast.
The NSW Government is yet to release data from a comprehensive survey of koala habitat and population in Mumbulla and Murrah state forests, near Tathra, even though some trees have been marked for removal.
The two-year koala survey, which could be published this week, is believed to contain strong evidence of koala occupation in several parts of the eucalypt forest.
Sources painted a picture of fractious debate between staff from the Department of Environment and Climate Change, which managed the koala research effort, and Forests NSW, the government agency that will manage the logging operation.
One source described a map of the area that had been drawn and redrawn in search of a compromise between felling trees and maintaining enough forest to allow the koalas to survive.
The NSW Greens and south coast environment groups are campaigning for a moratorium on logging in the koala habitat.
"The koala population on the NSW south-east coast is at a critical level,'' the Greens MP Lee Rhiannon said.
"Yet the NSW Government is prioritising the interests of the logging industry over the ongoing survival of this much-loved native animal.''
The logging operation, due to begin in early March, would involve taking some high-quality timber and some timber for woodchips.
Most of the timber from felled trees in the region goes to a mill in Eden, which exports woodchips to Japan. …