Leard forest tree occupation enters second day

A man who climbed a Box Gum tree on Sunday evening in an area of the Leard forest slated for imminent clearing for the expansion of the Boggabri mine is maintaining his tree-top vigil this morning.

The platform on which he is suspended in the tree is in the middle of a stand of White box Woodland known to be important habitat for koalas and 27 other threatened species. The action is in protest against the destruction of 625 hectares of the critically endangered ecological community, and the failure of the Government to review proposed offsets for the clearing.

“It appears that Idemitsu have exploited a loophole to avoid scrutiny of the quantity and quality of White box Woodland in their offsets,” said ecologist Phil Spark.

Idemitsu was required to submit an independent review of their biodiversity offsets to federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt, but the review did not include any assessment of the White box Woodland in the offset areas, instead focusing on habitat for woodland birds and bat.

“It is alarming that Idemitsu can raze critically endangered forest for an open cut coal mine when there is no assurance that the same quality and quantity of that ecological community exists in their offsets,” Mr. Spark said.

“As the federal minister responsible for protecting endangered ecosystems, Greg Hunt must require Idemitsu to obtain an independent review of the White box Woodland in their offsets before this precious forest is destroyed.”

The Leard State Forest contains one the largest high-quality stands of White box Woodland in NSW and is threatened by the expansion of Boggabri open cut mine and the new Maules Creek mine.

PHOTOS: Click here to view photographs, ‘Hollow Promises’ Tree Sit at Boggabri reaches 36 hours

UPDATE: After 3 days of occupying the Box Gum tree sit in the Boggabri mine extension clearance area the tree sit protest has ended.