A LOGGING operation in Nambucca State Forest started today and locals, members of the Indigenous community and concerned conservation groups gathered for a roadside protest.
Speaking as a local councillor, Susan Jenvey stressed how important protecting the forest was for the area.
"Scientists have been telling us since the bushfires, that logging dries out forests, that it makes them fire-prone," she said.
"Wildlife also needs space; otherwise, they come into the urban fringe and begin to create safety issues. Nambucca already has a problem with bats in town.
"Removing more habitat only brings wildlife further into our urban spaces."
Forestry Corporation of NSW is in charge of the operation, which is taking place over a roughly 100-hectare area and is expected to take several months to complete.
A spokesperson from the company is adamant that every care is being taken, and everything has been planned in line with NSW's strict regulations.
"Forestry Corporation is carrying out a small-scale low-intensity thinning operation in Nambucca State Forest to produce renewable timber poles and structural timbers that are currently in high demand as communities rebuild after the bushfires," the spokesperson said.
"Around half the area will be untouched and managed as wildlife habitat and around half the trees will be selectively harvested across the remaining area allowing the remaining trees to grow on for the future.
"Forestry Corporation carries out sustainable timber harvesting, which means trees are continually harvested for timber and regrown on the same land in perpetuity.
"Strict regulations are governing all forestry operations in NSW developed by expert scientific panels to ensure wildlife habitat is protected and maintained across the landscape."
However, Nambucca Valley Conservation Association (NVCA) spokesperson Lyn Orrego says that more needs to be done to protect the forest.
"We oppose the logging of this coastal, public native forest surrounding the town of Nambucca Heads. Instead we support the Community Campaign for Nambucca State Forest to be protected as a National Park for wildlife, recreation and climate," she said.
"Most of the forest avoided last summer's devastating wild fires, this makes it incredibly valuable to protect as habitat for threatened species devastated elsewhere.
"This public native forest must be managed for the public good. It is worth much more kept intact than it is being logged."
The Nature Conversation Council is organising a petition to oppose logging in the Nambucca Heads State Forest, for details on how to sign, click here.