Report recommends clearing white cypress

A GUNNEDAH timber mill is digesting a list of recommendations from the Natural Resources Commission (NRC), which could determine the future of the business.

The long-awaited report from the commission on the management of cypress forests in the Brigalow and Nandewar state conservation areas was publicly released yesterday, and the owners of Gunnedah Timbers are understood to be assessing its impact.

The draft report recommends an adaptive management process that includes ecological thinning and targeted grazing.

NRC boss John Keniry said about 30 per cent of the state conservation areas were made up of dense white cypress forest, which didn’t necessarily have a strong environmental value.

“A good forest has got a lot of diversity associated with it, and so where you start to get large areas of cypress, our view is that it should be cleared,” he said.

The NRC’s recommendations include a cost recovery model to enable commercial benefits from the recommended thinning.

Gunnedah Timbers manager Paddy Paul said in March this year they remained hopeful the report would open the way for commercial logging in state conservation areas, a move that would secure the immediate future of the business, which is running out of areas to log.

Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson said yesterday it was still unclear at this stage what opportunities the report offered for the mill, but that more would be known on Thursday when he met with the owners.

The Greens came out yesterday though and slammed the recommendations, saying any logging of the conservation areas was a backward step.

“If this plan goes ahead, we will see logging added to the laundry list of environmentally-destructive activities allowed in our protected areas, including grazing and amateur shooting,” Greens NSW MP Dr Mehreen Faruqi said.

The draft report is open to public comment until August 1, with a final report expected in September.

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