EPA approves 10-year Forest Devastation Plan

Conservation groups have vowed to fight back against the proposed 10-year Forest Management Plan approved by the EPA yesterday.

“The plan, if approved in its current form by Environment Minster Jacob, would be see over 1000 km2 of WA’s beautiful south-west forests trashed over the next decade and would push unique wildlife closer to extinction,” warned Jess Beckerling, convener of the WA Forest Alliance.

"This is not a 10-year Forest Management Plan, it is a 10-year Forest Devastation Plan. It proposes increased logging, a decrease in special wildlife protection zones, and perhaps most alarmingly, it invites the development of a new highly destructive industry which would strip our forests and use the logs as the fuel for generating electricity,” she said.

"On one hand the plan says that it will provide improved protection for cockatoos, and on the other it allows for a 30 per cent increase in the amount of marri that can be taken from our forests. Marri is the critical food and nesting tree for our cockatoos.

"In a new low for the EPA, it has recommended approval of this appalling plan without applying a single environmental condition.

"Conservationists will be appealing against this report and its recommendations and we are going to redouble our efforts to pressure companies and inform markets about what is happening to our forests.

Peter Robertson, State Coordinator of The Wilderness Society said, “Companies will be made to understand it is not acceptable to destroy our dwindling and irreplaceable forests for woodchips, railway sleepers or fuel for power stations.

“We will also make sure markets understand where wood is being sourced and the implications of logging WA’s native forests.

“We work with the community and we know Western Australians do not want to see our karri, marri and jarrah forests logged and wasted as woodchips, railway sleepers and fuel for power stations.

“The Government can expect a major backlash from the community if this plan is implemented,” he said.

Piers Verstegen, Director of the Conservation Council of WA concluded by saying, “The native forest logging industry runs at a loss. As taxpayers we are actually paying to see our forests devastated.  

“Our ancient and precious forests are worth more standing as habitat for wildlife, carbon stores and community heritage,” he said.

Fact file

•    Around 100km2 of native forest are logged every year in iconic areas such as the shires of Serpentine-Jarrahdale, Augusta-Margaret River, Nannup and Manjimup.
•    Allowable cuts for jarrah, karri and marri are proposed at levels similar to previous years but with a provision for even higher levels through an ‘upper limit allowable cut’ which can be approved by the Environment Minister.
•    Under the proposed plan the annual average total allowable cut for jarrah, karri and marri logs is 424,000 m3, 223,000 m3, 140,000 m3 respectively.
•    The proposed upper limit average total allowable cut for jarrah, karri and marri logs is 681,000 m3, 223,000 m3, and 254,000 m3 respectively.
•    The current total average annual allowable cut of native forest logs is 1,075,000 m3
•    The potential upper limit of total average annual allowable cut native forest logs is 1,158,000 m3, an increase in native forest log extraction of 8 per cent.

Jess Beckerling (WAFA) 0488 777 592