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Environment Protection Authority

Environmental Issues

Native forestry

Koala Habitat Model and next steps

Development of predictive Koala Habitat Model

The final stage of the EPA's koala mapping program involves the development and testing of a new predictive Koala Habitat Model, in partnership with the Department of Primary Industries (DPI).

Further work is currently underway to refine and improve an earlier model developed by DPI, including ground truthing (field checking) at forest sites across the north east of NSW. To support this work by DPI, the EPA has engaged independent consultancies and a panel of expert koala ecologists and modellers, and will also be seeking review and advice from local knowledge holders.

The model is due to be finalised in mid-2016 and if found to be appropriate, will be used by the EPA to inform koala management requirements on both public and private forestry areas.

Proposed conditions under the new Coastal Integrated Forestry Operations Approvals

The government is currently remaking the four coastal Integrated Forestry Operations Approvals (IFOA). The new Coastal IFOA will ensure that the rules for managing koala habitat are modern, fit-for-purpose and protections are in place to manage the impacts of logging on important koala habitat across the landscape.

The draft of the new Coastal IFOA will propose a move away from record-triggered approaches to koala protection, which has been shown to have limitations. Instead, the protections will focus on identifying and protecting the places in the landscape where koalas are more likely to occur. This approach will mean that important koala habitat will be identified and protected across the landscape at all times, irrespective of koala occupancy. This will provide a more comprehensive, adequate and transparent way of protecting important koala habitat.

The specific requirements for koala protections under the remade Coastal IFOA are still subject to negotiations between the EPA, DPI and Forestry Corporation of NSW (FCNSW).

The government is committed to consulting with the community on the proposed changes to koala protections when the mapping program is complete and the Coastal IFOA is on public exhibition in 2016.

Protecting koalas during private native forestry

The Private Native Forestry Code of Practice (the Code) sets the requirements for protecting koalas on private land. The government has committed to reviewing the Code after the completion of Coastal IFOA remake. This will ensure that koala habitat management and protections under the Code are informed by the outcomes of this koala mapping program and the innovations developed in the coastal IFOA remake. The government will undertake extensive public consultation on the review of the Code.

Page last updated: 16 May 2016