In the fight to stop the state government from logging the mature growth forest between Steve Irwin Way at Glenview and Ewen Maddock Dam, the battle lines have been drawn.
In replying to concerns raised by locals about the plans to log the forest, correspondence from the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) – the state government agency in charge of the logging – advised that the concerns had been noted, but didn’t indicate any change to the plans to log the 130 hectare native forest.
Bradley Petersen, Acting Manager, Hardwood within DAF has written that DAF intends to undertake selective timber harvesting on approximately 130 hectares of Beerwah State Forest over an expected 12-month period.
“Harvesting activities are expected to commence in 2022, although a start date has not yet been finalised. The site will need to close to the public during harvesting to ensure the safety of forest workers and visitors,” he explained.
As a result, local groups opposed to the plans have escalated their campaign to bring political pressure to bear and have the decision reversed.
The key groups – ‘Save Ferny Forest’ and ‘SAVE BEERWAH STATE FOREST (Ewen Maddock Dam section)’ – are calling on concerned locals to write to Jason Hunt, Member for Caloundra and demand that his government reverse the decision to log the forest.
To get the message out, the Save Ferny Forest group have erected a large banner on Steve Irwin Way near the entrance to the Big Kart Track.
According to their facebook page the sign is “… not perfect, but we’re only getting started!”
Highly regarded Sunshine Coast botanist and environmental biodiversity specialist Ann Moran has joined the calls to save the forest.
Assessing the forest, Ms Moran has determined that any logging in the area will have devastating ecological impacts for the region.
“Any tree removal will completely devastate the fauna and the other flora which are associated with these trees,” says Ms Moran.
“The forest contains very diverse vegetation, and it is comprised of several different, complex ecosystems. Felling of trees will deeply interfere with the ecosystem, leaving a disturbed forest where the highly interdependent interactions between flora, fauna and fungi are lost.”
The State Forest area, locally known as ‘Ferny Forest’ is known to be the home to a wide range of threatened and endangered species such as koala, greater glider, glossy black cockatoo and giant barred frog.
Joining Ann, the Sunshine Coast Environment Council (SCEC) is as equally outraged.
SCEC advocacy officer Narelle McCarthy said State forests are home to wildlife, incredible vegetation, and ecosystems.
“With the deepening biodiversity and climate crises and rampant habitat destruction, these forests now need to be protected – not logged.
“Beerwah State Forest contains significant conservation and cultural values and supports threatened species such as koalas, greater gliders, regent honeyeaters (and lots more!) yet it is earmarked to be logged unless we put a stop to it,” she said.
Save Ferny Forest group member Linda Daleboudt asks for your help to save the forest from logging.
“We cannot accept this!” she writes.
“Please help us by writing to Jason Hunt as our local State MP responsible for this area and the Queensland Premier, with your concerns.”
Jason Hunt MP, Member for Caloundra – Caloundra@parliament.qld.gov.au
Annastacia Palaszczuk MP, Premier of Queensland – email@example.com