What great news – volunteers will be planting Koala food trees in Bongil Bongil National Park just south of Coffs Harbour in New South Wales. They will be “tree parents”. What a great concept! Not only will Tree Parents plant 600 trees, they will look after them until they are old enough to leave home (so to speak).
How has it come to this though? National Parks are supposed to be representative of natural ecosystems, but we “old hands” of Koala conservation know that Bongil Bongil used to be part of Pine Creek State Forest, the stronghold of Koalas on the Mid-north Coast of New South Wales. As with many other State Forests in NSW, it became National Park only after all the decent-sized trees had been logged. In other words, after it was trashed.
Now we have dedicated unpaid volunteers repairing the damage by planting trees that Koalas will be able to use in 20 years time. What happens to the Koalas now?
Does this sound like sustainable forestry, tourism or worse still exploitation of the people to clean up a gigantic industry mess.