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South Westland Rimu Forests

Press Release from member of sustainable forestry campaign group.

In the lobbying about the South Westland state forests gazetted in 1984 for sustainable management purposes, truth continues to be the prime victim especially in statements from the Green party, said Brian Swale, campaigner for sustainable indigenous forestry.

Okarito and Saltwater forests, have been sustainably logged during the last seven years.

In one part where bird populations have been scrupulously monitored from a substantial pre-logging baseline, logging (sustainably) with predator control has been carried out over only the last 18 months.

The latest bird counts in it show all native birds there are 20 percent more abundant than 19 months ago. Pigeon has increased the most, being 115 percent more frequent, according to researcher Ian James of Okarito. He said the information is based on a sample of more than 2,500 individual 5-minute counts. Populations of other species such as bellbird and robin increased by from 28 to 50 percent in the same period.

These facts are the opposite to what MP Rod Donald would, in recent published statements, have us believe.

More than 80 percent of these forests have been logged and managed under the regime of environmental sustainability. Timberlands has clearly brought huge benefits to the previously declining birdlife of these managed forests, said Mr Swale. The public deserve to know this.

The forests also have benefited; of the estimated 1 million rimu trees there, about only one-tenth of 1 per cent, selected among the least fit, are harvested annually, using techniques of extreme care. Re- establishment of rimu trees maintains the forest type, and control of browsing animals benefits all plant species.

Brian Swale is a forestry professional who supports the practice of environmentally sound sustainable forestry. He can be contacted at http://www.caverock.net.nz/~bj/beech/ and 03-326-7447.


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