Illegal clearing Cudgen Nature Reserve – a balance of faeries revisited

Illegal clearing Cudgen Nature Reserve – a balance of faeries revisited

The illegal clearing of a Koala Habitat and home to other threatened Wildlife species of the Tweed shire in the Northern Rivers of NSW has shed yet more attention on the plight of the Koalas of the Mt Warning Caldera Region of Australia. This illegal clearing, whilst being scrutinised by the National Parks and Wildlife Service NSW, serves to remind us all:-  that fragmented, cleared, degraded Ecosystems and Vegetation Habitats of  Australian Wildlife are still the norm within the Mt Warning Caldera Region (NE NSW & SE QLD).

RALLY for KINGS FOREST KOALAS :- Saturday 10th December, 2011

Article in the Tweed News at “Tweed activists call for planting now” (Nikki Todd, 16th Jan 2012)… Friends of Cudgen Nature Reserve have called for KOALA TREE PLANTINGS to be done immediately, at the LEDA ‘s KINGS FOREST DEVELOPMENT. The Landcare Group is asking that the KOALA food trees offered (20,000) to be planted by Leda should be planted now, as to leave them too long, for planting, will result in loss of KOALA life. The trees have been promised as part of a buffer zone near the Cudgen Nature Reserve.

Concern over Kings Forest Koalas” – recent historical concerns about the impact of development at Kings Forest and the health of the diminishing local Koala population.

More time urged for Kings Forest say” at ABC news 9th Dec 2011



An article by the Tweed Shire Echo (13th October 2011) outlined some of the concerns about this illegal clearing in the Cudgen Nature Reserve.( see “”cowboys” trash nature reserve” – article by  Luis Feliu and Chris Dobney).

Cate Faehrmann of the NSW Greens has attempted to find answers, (site legal notice NSW Govt Hansard)  concerning this dark operation of environmental vandalism. Cate Faehrmann is a courageous champion of the voiceless homeless millions, that are our endangered Australian Wildlife.

This illegal clearing and environmental vandalism of the Cudgen Nature Reserve, is not the first such case, in the Tweed shire, nor indeed, in NE NSW and SE QLD. This is one of a long line, of illegal and government sanctioned clearings and degrading operations, that have and are still occurring. A careful search of the internet, public libraries (you should be able to find Hansard in the Library) , and news articles in newspapers can show you much more information than I could write here.

  • You can also look at Tweed Coast Estuary Management Plan HERE.
  • The Cudgen Nature Reserve Plan of Management link is HERE**
  • Australian Wetlands Data Base – NSW References
  •  Kings Forest development application process
  • Consider the following:-
    • The National Parks and Wildlife Act, 1974, requires that a plan of management be prepared for each nature reserve. A plan of management is a legal document that outlines how the area will be managed in the years ahead.”   &   “Now that the plan has been adopted by the Minister, no operations may be undertaken within the Nature Reserve except in accordance with the plan.”  (from the Cudgen Nature Reserve Plan of Management Part A. Introduction).
    • In the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Act, 1974, have a look at Part 4 division 6; Part 5; Part 6A; Part 7; Part 8A; Part 14; Part 15… these parts of the Act may help you understand the seriousness of the illegal clearing that has occurred, of vegetation, wildlife habitat and wetland area of the Cudgen Nature Reserve.


And now, back to original ARTICLE:-

However,  if pointing a  finger at identities and individual men or women who it is only “believed” may have taken part in this current proactive method of Environmental degradation, remember that a “forensic” trail/investigative instruments can be helpful. Sometimes, things are not what they appear.  Some more general points worth considering, when abhorrent and illegal clearing occurs may be:-

  • The Australian Government’s “Australian Institute of Criminology” website has some useful INFORMATION on illegal native vegetation clearing.  Environmental crime in Australia “Research and public policy series no. 109”, by Samantha Bricknell (ISBN 978 1 921532 64  1  ISSN 1836-2079)  Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology, October 2010 . This publication is available at the AIC’s website.
  • Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales – Zoologist Article 2007 Vol 34 (2) – Milledge D Opinion Piece Threatened species conservation at the local level in New South Wales – this article can be found at the ZOOLOGIST data base for their journal. This article concerns NSW threatened species conservation, refers to illegal clearing, and degrading environmental management practiced by landholders, who then develop the landscape into inappropriate urban developments. Proposed developments ( such as KINGS FOREST – adjacent to where this illegal clearing of Cudgen Nature Reserve took place),  then even further degrade the ENVIRONMENTAL and ECOSYSTEM HEALTH, both to the local and regional detriment. It is  noted in this article that the  NSW government administerd threatened species CONSERVATION was at a low level (2007).
  • Adam Gosling’s full paper presentation at the Healthy wetlands 20th NSW Coastal conference 2011 stated “Australia is reported to have lost between 75 and 90 percent of coastal wetlands over the past 200 years (Finlayson, 2000. Usback & James 1993). Not only have wetlands been decimated historically through land clearing for agriculture and urban development and drained or isolated from adjoining wetlands, they remain one of the most severely threatened ecosystems in eastern Australia through coastal development and land use.
  • LAND CLEARANCE – a National Key Threatening Process – The threatening process meets s188(4)(a), s188(4)(b) and s188(4)(c) of the EPBC Act.   Description of Land Clearance from ” the Advice to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage from the TSSC on a public nomination of a Key Threatening Process under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999″  –  “Land clearing consists of the destruction of the above ground biomass of native vegetation and its substantial replacement by non-local species or by human artefacts. Native vegetation is defined as vegetation in which native species constitute more than 70% of the plant cover, or other vegetation containing populations of species listed under the EPBC Act. Substantial replacement by non-local species or human artefacts is defined as the achievement of more than 70% of the total cover by species or human artefacts that did not occur previously on the site.  Land clearing includes clearance of native vegetation for crops, improved, pasture, plantations, gardens, houses, mines, buildings and roads. It also includes infilling of wetlands or dumping material on dry land native vegetation, and the drowning of vegetation through the construction of impoundments. It does not include silvicultural operations in native forests and manipulation of native vegetation composition and structure by grazing, burning or other means.  ” Endangered Species Scientific Sub-committee, (ESSS).
  • It would be reasonable to think that the Destruction of the Coastal Strip of the Tweed Coast is looking like a very destructive form of Land Management. Laws such as the afore mentioned EPBC Act, with its key threatening Processes, the NSW Primary Statutes within NSW Concerning Clearing of Native Vegetation  –  the Native vegetation Act 2003,   Threatened Species Conseration Act 1995 and the Environmental  Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (Local Environmental Plan) – these laws are not helping with regard to environmental vandalism, and the mass destruction of remnant, highly disturbed (and fragmented) habitat that native wildlife are currently (and often stressfully ) surviving in, on the TWEED COAST….. Why are non ecologically sustainable developments and their associated destructive practices still occurring?  Is this due to due process? Is this due to inadequate legislation? Is it due to discretionary powers as opposed to obligatory requirement? Is this due to lack of education? Is it due to lack of practical management skills in authentic land and water stewardship? OR is it due to the fact that the fabric of society is living a massive lie, and that high energy, wasteful, destructive, non ecologically sustainable practices are still “running the economy, socially mainstream acceptable perceptions, and that, basically, the majority of people just really do not care about the future wellbeing of the Tweed Coast, the wetlands, the ecosystems of Australia, the biodiverse fabric of nature that supports us all, and the future of our Children??????  Where is the common good clearly displayed,  within this  social and legal machination of Ecologically Sustainable Development?
  • Perhaps  this clearing of endangered Koala habitat in Tweed Shire may have occurred because all about the Northern Rivers, HABITAT CLEARING is occurring as a matter of course, and the clearing agent thought it was OK?
  • Perhaps the man or woman who cleared the area of Cudgen Nature Reserve, or who INSTRUCTED the Habitat Clearing didn’t know that Australian Wildlife is rapidly disappearing from this area of the Tweed Shire???
  • Perhaps they needed the money to live, and instructed the clearing to help them survive in this harsh economic environment, where property values are sliding, rents are increasing and non sustainable developments are stressing the land and water health to the point where the little man (and native animal) can no longer survive??????????. I have often observed that where clearing of land occurs, that is damaging to the environment, there is usually a chain of events that can be tracked, that will show where the real responsibility lies. Usually, it is found to be hand in hand with ignorance + the illusion that the illegal/legal clearing will lead to profit. 
  • Occasionally, I have observed that vegetation and habitat destruction is prompted by a basic criminal mindset.  Whatever the case is, at Cudgen Nature Reserve – ignorance, greed or amoral /immoral mindset – the man / woman responsible requires immediate attention by all concerned over this illegal act. EDUCATION concerning the plight of threatened species (and disappearing wetland vegetation communities / habitats / ECOSYSTEMS) is lacking – both in the general public and professional/political arenas. The corporate arena ?- this arena has long since lost its authenticity and credibility:-  the mass destruction of  coastal wetlands from the North of Brisbane (QLD) to Ballina Shire (NSW) attest to this.  

It is important to let the due process occur. It is also important to recognise the real and immediate victims of this crime –  The Native Wildlife of the Tweed Coast and Hinterland. It is of most importance that it be recognised that, when it comes to development in the Tweed Shire, infrastructure and development processes have both an insidious and uncaring trend – both as social implication for the human residents, and for the environmental health of the region.

  • Tweed Coast Estuary Management Plan HERE.
  • The Cudgen Nature Reserve Plan of Management link is HERE.

What is of note, concerning this most recent highly publicized act of proactive land degradation in the rapidly developing Tweed Coast is:-

  • IF the surrounding area of  VEGETATION COMMUNITY, ECOSYSTEM and NATIVE WILDLIFE HABITAT  were intact, RESILIENT, CARED FOR( by individuals, companies, developers, landholders, Environmental Australian and NSW LAWS), then a small area of highly disturbed, highly degraded Habitat and Ecosystem may recover rather quickly.
  • Authentic Land and Water Stewardship, if enacted out by Australian, NSW and QLD Laws, individuals and corporate entities, could help save, and indeed enhance our threatened species and threatened Ecosystems. This is clearly not the case, when it comes to these Australian, NSW and QLD LAWS, corporate entities and individuals.
  • Koala Corridors and Buffers Zones should be part of the WHOLE DEVELOPMENT APPROACH. The area being developed for human settlement and infrastructure SHOULD include a whole plan approach, whereby the KOALA and ITS HABITAT is integral and 100% incorporated into the whole design.
  • This is the same for ENVIRONMENTALLY SUSTAINABLE PRINCIPLES :-  water storage for each house; SUSTAINABLE WASTE MANAGEMENT and WASTE MINIMISATION; improved and enhanced wetland and INTEGRATED CATCHMENT MANAGEMENT & integrated native wildlife  habitat  enhancement throughout the entire development; sensible covenants on fencing, dogs, cats, rabbits, vegetation; energy efficient materials/design and development procedures & processes; local and regional environmentally sustainable employment opportunities; local food & local sustainable industry creation or mentorship; fire, flood, noise, environmental and noxious weeds awareness. Town Planners know these lists more comprehensively. These things reinforce the importance and inherent understanding of not clearing areas such as the Cudgen Nature Reserve. RESPECT!!!!
  •  SOCIAL INCLUSION and COMMUNITY RESOURCE areas. Educational information for all prospective and existing settlers to the REGION can be of great value also – particularly for ENVIRONMENTAL AWARENESS, and SOCIAL WELLBEING. TRANSPORT should be state of the art Environmentally Sustainably Networked and Implemented, by both the developer (who profits and thus should care where and how his/her profit arises) and the Governments (who should CARE and show diligent leadership). Healthy minds, educated people, these days, try to do the right thing by our beautiful endangered species and their homes.
  • NATURE RESERVES ARE TO BE RESPECTED BY ALL – that is why they are nature reserves.

Nature, when left undisturbed, or when disturbed only slightly, has remarkable resilience, if it is surrounded by INTACT RESILIENT NATIVE  VEGETATION and healthy Ecological Units and Ecosystems.

In my original “Balance of Faeries” article, I explained how, little by little, the degrading of small land parcels can add up to large scale degradation. I explained that unless the smaller fragments of  Wildlife Habitat are preserved and actively enhance, then the larger factors of WIND, SUN, RAIN, DROUGHT, adjoining DEGRADED LAND, FIRE, FLOOD etc will take their toll. I explained, via my imagery, that the little things in our complex NATURAL ENVIRONMENT serve to keep the bigger components in check, thus promoting Native Vegetation Community and Ecosystem Resilience. I explained that the current scientific knowledge base ignores these little  components, in large – both in scientific studies, and in our overall LEGAL and HIGHER LEARNING knowledge base. The COMPLEX pattern, of usage and dependency within our current Australian ECOSYSTEMS,  by Australian Wildlife is largely an unknown scientific fact.

This is because many studies that have been conducted, have been conducted once the land has already been disturbed for many decades. This is because many studies use other studies as their basis. This is because many important studies are disregarded, ignored or superceded by studies done by scientists who have a minimal level of understanding of the complexity of Australian Wildife requirements, in a cross dependent sense. This is because the Corporate, Scientific and Legal worlds often operate behind closed doors.

In defence of the dedicated workers in Australian Wildlife understanding and demonstrating scientific research – many good and valuable studies HAVE also been made, concerning Native Australian Wildlife. Studies concerning the Koala have often been used as a POLITICAL, corporate  and  development/ infrastructure FOOTBALL. The degrading developments and infrastructures have HISTORICALLY won this football game.  I can readily say that, in the light of the  corporate greed  V’s Nature battles, corporations have historically existed for a relatively short time. Nature is, has, and always will be, running the show, and winning in the long and even short term.

Personally, I have little faith in the  NSW Government’s ability to address this issue of the clearing of vegetation in the Cudgen Nature Reserve. Why? Because they are probably snowed under with all kinds of investigations concerning illegal clearing and other environmental acts of vandalism. I have even less faith in the developers and their associated networked entities who have been developing the Tweed Coast and other areas of NE NSW ( and SE QLD )in such a way that their LACK of DUTY OF CARE, to current & future human populations health and well being, is so obvious, yet not held to account. Education is important in these matters.

However, some interesting facts are emerging:-

How much money does it take to destroy lives? Why do individuals and corporations and governments seek to destroy on one hand, yet soothsay that they are SUSTAINABLE and ENVIRONMENTALLY CORRECT? Why are people still able to use bulldozers and other heavy earth moving equipment, mining processes, and other methods of land use that clearly lack precaution of due care (with subsequent degrading land and catchment re-design) without the necessary education and accountability, concerning the power they wield? How much due process is involved in remedy?  Why is development on the Tweed Coast continuing to fragment already stressed Habitats and Ecosystems? Did the men or women involved in this illegal clearing of the Cudgen Nature Reserve know what they were doing?

I had better leave it here. Research and talk to others. Find out what is going on.

Oh, and one more thing…… for those of you versed well in astrology, have a look at the current planetary stories. Neptune is finally direct in the last degrees of AQUARIUS, and heading towards PISCES. Illusion, deceit, over institutionalising of faith and vision are on the rise. Exposure of deceit, lies and corruption will become easier for those who follow God’s Law and God’s Natural Law.  As Neptune approaches the fixed star Fomalhaut, the guardian / Archangel Gabriel and WATCHER of the SOUTH, approx. 4 degrees Pisces, and then Deneb Adige at about 5 degrees Pisces, the precession of the equinoxes will unfold one of the greatest stories of mankind. Balance will become of utmost importance to the entire planet.

The above astrological / environmental collage shows Neptune direct (as of 10th Nov 2011) in Aquarius. The above horoscope is for the 17th November, 2011 and is taken from What Watch at .

With the entry of Neptune in Pisces, the birds of the air will tell the story, better than any man or woman. The small animals of the earth will bear witness. Those of pure heart and who practice redemption, those who have the COURAGE to own up to PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY will find their wings.


excerpt from A Balance of Faeries:-

“Part four: The return
I have since returned to visit the Marburg Range, some months back, before the 2008 summer rains drenched it once again, and after many years of drought, harsh winds and relentless sun. The road verge leading to the top of the ridge is bare, no trees have grown back yet, and no koalas, birds or marsupials could be seen on the narrow strip that was cleared so suddenly, 20 years ago.

With biodiversity comes the ability for our ecological systems to withstand the greater forces of nature – wind, sun, rain, fire, cold, heat. With knowledge and understanding of the smaller, delicate portions of nature, comes an ability to hold back the greater forces that great knowledge exposes us to.

It is time to wake up.”

The following KOALA POEM is a reflection of an earlier poem that I wrote in “B is for Biodiversity“. Sometimes, when I write on , I add a poem or two.  This following POEM is about a Developer who has  learnt how to listen and respect NATURE’s LAWS.  It is in direct contrast to the Koala Poem that I wrote last year (where the moneybag developer was ignorant and thought only of profit taking for himself and his mates).

said the “Enlightened” developer………..

Peaceful KOALA asleep in your tree
can you please share your land
and let me live here?
My homes of simplicity,
clean electricity
gardens and bikeways
can you share with me please?
I’m fond of your family
I’ll enhance our shared home
slow roads, tracks and parklands,
over which you can roam.
Dear KOALA, please tell me how to help you stay free!

Iconic KOALA, so high in your tree
can you see the new bushlands, they were planted by ME!
I know that you’ve struggled at home many years
You wandered and waited amidst local fears
But development’s slow, I’ve had time to think
so KOALA – i’ve planted a great Carbon Sink.
My learned approach will show ALL that I care
No bulldozer damage, no smoke fills the air
Diverse native landscapes we’ve planted for you
They’re resilient, and strong, i hope they will do

KOALA please tell me how to help you stay free!

Dearest KOALA, in treetops above
how else can i help you, in patience and love
My authority’s sanctioned, I’ve owned this land years
So KOALA, dear friend, i hope you’ll be pleased

Hey KOALA, dear icon, i’ve covenants here
I’ll protect you from dogs, cars, diseases and fear
Now our lots are divided, some share a great view
So KOALA, please answer – it’s all up to you

I see you’ve been ill, fevered, trembling and scarred
but your welcome to stay here, in all of my yards.
My planners invite you to tell me what more
you’ll need for your home. We respect nature’s LAW.

KOALA in our tree, our lots are surveyed
The wetlands are thriving, new homes are displayed
And wildlife’s returning, coming into it’s prime
bio- diversity balance and time.
This development’s needed, and it helps me spend more
on those that need houses – the young and the poor
My development teaches ALL- you are our host
now why don’t they do this on all of our coast?
The GOD given wonders of nature make more
than ignorant developments bulldozed next door

So KOALA, marsupial, once dwindling here
I’ll start small scale nurseries, to give you more cheer
and all of the school children, that go to my school
will thank you KOALA – you’ve made their homes cool

We’ve local food markets, each home has a tank
They say I am great, but it’s you i must thank
And KOALA – i’ve told all “go slow on your road”
Even after i’ve gone with my life soul’s great load

Oh KOALA – what’s this, i see you’re now here
In GOD’s arms, oh so peaceful with nothing to fear
And GOD’s angels tell me, they’ve opened the gates
for me and my load, and all of my mates
Dear GOD, i look down, from heaven and smile,
my real estate legacies – they’ve been all worthwhile
I promised, delivered, enhanced all my land
native plant woodlands – all of them grand.

I see that the wildlife and children run free
It is you, dear KOALA who educates me
And GOD, i now wonder about all the fuss
The hustle and bustle – all i needed was trust
My chattels and cargo, are lightweight to hold,
I’m glad that i learnt from KOALA’s dear soul

said the Koala……
w’ell, Maaaate, what can I say… you listened and learnt.

Great Egret (Ardea alba)

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