26 September 2023

NRC report finds NSW forests threatened

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A report from the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) has found that NSW forests face sustained threats from a changing climate and invasive species.

Releasing its report Insights for NSW forest outcomes and management, the NRC said the report represented the consensus of independent scientific experts, senior forest managers and new monitoring and research commissioned over three years of its Forest Monitoring and Improvement Program.

“Overall, the results showed that NSW forests – whether they be in national parks, State forests, Aboriginal land, private land or Crown land – are under sustained threats, placing many of the services and values they provide at risk,” the NRC said.

“The most significant driver of observed change in the past decade was the 2019-20 wildfires,” it said.

“Evidence from the Program showed sharp declines in indicators such as forest canopy extent and forest carbon stocks across both state forests and national parks.”

The NRC said research from its Forest Monitoring and Improvement Program indicated future climate and disturbance would have adverse impacts on NSW forests, affecting the services forests delivered and that people relied on.

It said more positive futures were possible with increased recognition of – and investment in – the social, cultural and economic values of forests, and by actively addressing emerging risks.

“It is time to shift towards co-creating an overarching cross-tenure strategy for NSW forests towards 2050 to systematically address the threats of climate change and other stressors,” the Commission said.

The NRC made six recommendations to Government: To prepare overarching cross-tenure strategy for NSW forests towards 2050; Establish dedicated funding for the strategy, research, and rapid response capability; Accelerate Aboriginal self-determination and co-management of NSW forests; Incorporate the latest climate science and forest data into the upcoming review of the Coastal Integrated Forestry Operations Approval; Update the NSW Forestry Industry Roadmap; and Continue long-term independent research and monitoring.

The Commission’s 11 -page Report can be downloaded at this PS News link.

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