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Predicted climate change impacts have led an alliance of conservation groups, including the Community Environment Network, to call for a moratorium on land clearing and logging.

To prevent regional extinctions, an alliance of environment organisations is calling for a moratorium on land clearing across 810,000 hectares between Barrington Tops and Hawkesbury River.*
The Barrington to Hawkesbury Climate Corridors Alliance today released a detailed report based on habitat suitability modelling and NSW Government climate corridor mapping to identify 22 wildlife corridors essential for the survival of threatened species in face of climate change.


The Alliance consists of the Hunter Community Environment Centre, CEN, Port Stephens Econetwork, National Parks Association Hunter, and the Hunter Bird Observers Club.

Author of the report Paul Winn of the Hunter Community Environment Centre says “Our research suggests that at least 22 Threatened native fauna species will suffer substantial range contractions in the region, and at least 6 species are at risk of extinction within the next 50 years.
Habitat that will act as “climate refugia” for these species, and well as those areas necessary for wildlife to move as the climate changes, is currently being destroyed at an alarming rate. We estimate in the last ten years, over 7,000 ha of native bushland in the region has been earmarked for “greenfield” urban development, and about 6,500 ha of bushland was cleared between 2008 and 2017, almost a third due to
logging in lower Mid-coast LGA.
Our proposal protects these climate refugia from further degradation and fragmentation and connects them with large-scale functioning wildlife corridors that span climatic gradients and enhance the capacity of  populations to shift as the climate changes.
If we are to provide the greatest chance for native species to survive the ravages of climate change, these connected habitats must be protected from further fragmentation and degradation. If we wish to minimise native species’ extinction, climate refugia and identified Climate Corridors must be legally protected.


We recommend urgent conservation measures to limit the significant loss of biodiversity projected for the Barrington Tops to the Hawkesbury River region.

Under a plausible worst case climate scenario, predictions suggest as many as 45 percent of NSW Threatened fauna species and 72 percent of NSW Threatened flora species will have little or no suitable habitat remaining in 50 years.
The biodiversity of the North Coast, Hunter and Greater Sydney regions are under particular threat from climate change. The spatial range and number of Threatened Species are projected to greatly diminish in these regions.1
The central NSW coastal region between Barrington Tops and the Hawkesbury River connects two World Heritage Areas, and spans almost 11,300 km2, including the LGAs of Central Coast, Lake Macquarie, Cessnock, Newcastle, Port Stephens, Maitland, Dungog, and the former Great Lakes Council area of Mid Coast LGA. 
The natural environment of the area is under intense pressure from agriculture, forestry, and urban development. The last ten years have seen over 7,000 ha of the region’s native bushland earmarked for “greenfield” urban development.
From 2008 to 2017, about 6,500 ha of bushland was lost, almost a third due to logging in southern Mid-coast LGA.
In 2070, we estimate existing National Parks and  State Forests will support climate refugia for many of the threatened fauna species predicted to decline. However, to allow for populations to move as climate patterns shift, these climate refugia must be protected from further degradation and functionally connected with large protected landscape scale corridors.

We recommend:
•      An immediate moratorium on further land clearing within identified Climate Corridors.
•      A specific strategy be included in the 2041 Regional Plans for Hunter and Central Coast for the protection of Climate Corridors supported by detailed zoning and development guidelines under local environmental
plans and development control plans and investment programs implemented by Local Land Services.
•      The Biodiversity Offset Scheme be radically amended to provide adequate stewardship payments to encourage landholders to protect, manage, and rehabilitate native vegetation within Climate Corridors.
•      Targeted voluntary private land acquisition of large core areas of high quality habitat and essential corridors for restoration, particularly the large areas of moist forests in southern Midcoast, and moist and dry landscapes across the Hunter River Valley through Cessnock, Singleton, and Dungog LGAs.
•      State Forests be transferred to National Park reserves as Regional Parks or other appropriate reserve category and managed by local communities for conservation and recreation.

Full report ‘BARRINGTON TO HAWKESBURY CLIMATE CORRIDORS‘ found here https://www.hcec.org.au/climate-corridors


*The NSW coastal region between Barrington Tops and the Hawkesbury River connects two World Heritage Areas. The region spans almost 11,300 km2 and includes the Local Government Areas (LGA) of Central Coast, Lake Macquarie, Cessnock, Newcastle, Maitland, Port Stephens, Dungog, and the former Great Lakes Council area of Mid Coast LGA.

1 Beaumont et al. (2019). https://www.climatechange.environment.nsw.gov.au/sites/default/files/2021-06/Identifying%20climate%20refugia%20for%20key%20species%20in%20NSW.PDF

2 The Department of Environment and Climate Change (2007) Fauna Corridors for Climate Change: Landscape Selection Process Key Altitudinal, Latitudinal and Coastal Corridors for response to Climate Change Hunter Central Rivers Catchment Management Authority (HCRCMA).

The Map - Five Coastal Climate Corridors, twelve Dry Climate Corridors, and five Moist Climate Corridors identified in 2007 by NSW Government2 are recommended for rehabilitation and protection from further bushland loss and degradation. 


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