The south-west of WA is internationally recognised (alongside the Galapagos Islands and Borneo’s rainforests) as a Global Biodiversity Hotspot. To be listed as a Biodiversity Hotspot an area has to be very rich in animal and plant life diversity. It must also have lost 70% or more of its natural vegetation. The south-west has lost 80%.
Over the past decade at least 18 forest dependent species, including the Forest Red-tailed Black Cockatoo and Baudin’s Cockatoo, have become more endangered in WA. Habitat loss is the major threat to their survival and yet no State or Federal legislation exists to protect threatened fauna from logging operations.
In 2001 there were significant gains made for Western Australia’s forests. Since then however, continued logging, climate change and forest diseases have combined to have profound impacts on forest health and wildlife.
Western Australia’s karri and jarrah forests are still being logged despite the industry continually running at a loss to the State. As taxpayers we are paying to see our forests destroyed. For the past 10 years, about 90 sq. km of forest have been logged every year in WA. If the proposed Forest Management Plan is implemented, twice that area of forest could be logged every year for the next decade. That’s the equivalent in size of 10,000 Subiaco ovals every year. More than 80% of the wood from these forests ends up as firewood, woodchips, charcoal and railway sleepers.
Old growth forest was officially protected in 2001 after a very successful community forest campaign. But a biased definition is being used and forests that are old growth by all meaningful considerations, and according to the nationally accepted definition, are still being logged.
All our native forests are special and should be protected whether they are deemed old growth or not. Far too much intensive logging has already occurred in the south-west and it is time we protect our vulnerable and irreplaceable native forests.
For more information and to get involved in the WA forest campaign go to http://www.waforestalliance.org/