An end to logging

An end to logging

One of the clearing sites east of Jarrahdale. Photograph – Richard Polden.

The State Government has made a historic decision to end the logging of native forests by 2024.

The decision is said to preserve at least an additional 400,000 hectares of jarrah, karri and wandoo forests.

According to Member for Darling Range Hugh Jones, two million hectares of native forests will be protected for future generations.

“Climate change is affecting the sustainability and growth of our native forests and it is critical that we preserve them to support regional communities, protect biodiversity, and safeguard important carbon sinks,” he said.

Jarrahdale is home to parts of the only jarrah forest in the world, which extends down to the south west of WA.

Save Our Jarrah member Jan Star said this new legislation is a step in the right direction.

“The writing has been on the wall for some time,” she said.

“The industry is not making profit from logging, and the trees that they are taking are getting smaller and so the forest is not recovering from the logging.

“It just doesn’t make sense in terms of carbon storage.

“Jarrahdale has been terribly effected by the logging.”

Member for Darling Range, Hugh Jones said from 2024 onwards, timber taken from WA’s native forests will only be from forest management activities such as ecological thinning for forest health and clearing for approved mining operations, such as Alcoa.

“Now that the basis for the development of the Forest Management Plan 2024-33 (FMP) has been determined, work will formally commence on developing the FMP,” he said.

“This will include formal consultation with industry and other stakeholders.

“Exactly how each area of forest will be protected will be ascertained during the FMP drafting process.

“The Government will investigate options for long-term protection, including new or expanded national parks and reserve conservation areas where appropriate.

“The State Government will honour the terms of the State Agreement with Alcoa and Alcoa will be able to continue to mine bauxite in approved development envelopes.”

According to Mr Jones in 2020, Alcoa cleared less than 10 per cent of what was harvested by the Forest Products Commission in the same year.

“Mining approvals, such as the proposed Alcoa expansion, are subject to rigorous approvals processes, including assessment by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA),” he said.

“The Environment Minister will consider the independent advice of the EPA prior to making any decisions on future mining operations, including expansions.”