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Emerging forest industries, such as charcoal-making (for silicon production) and biomass burning for power generation, pose a significant threat to the ecological integrity of native forests. These industries require large amounts of wood and, where extracted from native forests, will lead to an increase in the intensity of logging. An outcome will be the cumulative loss of stand structural complexity—a problem that has had serious consequences for the conservation of biodiversity in northern hemisphere forests and would have similar deleterious impacts in Australia. It also runs counter to the notion of ecologically sustainable forest management (ESFM), which lies at the core of the Regional Forest Agreements. These fundamental ecological issues, which were not identified in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for a recent proposal to log native forests to produce charcoal in southern New South Wales, point to a seriously flawed EIS process.

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