The Forest Products Commission planned to log 490ha of the jarrah and marri forest in Helms forest, a crucial cockatoo refuge, in August 2012.
The community rallied forces for its protection. After a meeting of around 100 people at the neighbouring cockatoo rehabilitation centre, and a survey of the area about to be logged, a nomination was put to the Conservation Commission to check the area for old growth forest.
Old growth forest has not been officially available for logging in WA since 2001 although problems with incomplete mapping and biased definitions of old growth mean that it can still end up on logging plans.
A moratorium on the logging of Helms forest was imposed until the assessment could be done and nearly half the area that was about to be logged was found to be officially old growth forest.
This forest should never have been on the logging list in the first place.
Helms forest is critical habitat for all three species of WA’s threatened black cockatoos. It is a food and nesting oasis for many threatened species in a broader landscape that has been heavily degraded by logging and burning. The forest is next to a cockatoo rehabilitation centre and provides habitat for the released birds as well as a population of wild birds and many other fauna and flora.
The manager of the neighbouring cockatoo rehabilitation centre, David Patterson said, “It’s a win for common sense and the cockatoos.”
Community members are now calling on the State Government to protect the whole area saying that Helms provides critical food and nesting sites for the local population of cockatoos.
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Read our media release here.
Images T-B: John McCarten, Philippa Beckerling