Old growth forest saved from imminent logging

Forest activists have saved over 200 hectares of old growth jarrah forest near Nannup from the chainsaws.

“Helms forest, a crucial cockatoo refuge near Nannup, was on the chopping block in August last year when we rallied forces for its protection,” said WAFA spokesperson Jess Beckerling.

“We were confident that the forest was old growth despite the FPC ‘s position that ‘no further action was required’ in checking for old growth before logging.

“We have just found out that we were right,” she said.

Old growth forest has not been available for logging in WA since 2001.

“Right now, WA’s forests are lucky to have passionate defenders, because they are being horribly let down by Government agencies including the EPA,” said Ms Beckerling.

“After a meeting of around 100 people at the neighbouring cockatoo sanctuary, and a survey of the area about to be logged, we put in a nomination to the Conservation Commission to check the area for old growth forest.

“A moratorium on logging was imposed until the assessment could be done and it turns out that nearly half the area that was about to be logged is officially old growth forest and should never have been on the logging list in the first place.

“How many other forest blocks like Helms are out there?

 “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.

“Helms escaped the two major prescribed burn escapes in 2010 and 2011, in which about 100 000 ha of adjacent forest and bushland cockatoo habitat were burnt at high intensity.  

“The Forest Products Commission planned to log 490ha of the jarrah and marri forest in Helms in August 2012 and there was a strong and immediate action to prevent it.

“We knew that if we didn’t stand up for Helms, all that forest would be destroyed and we couldn’t let that happen,” she said.

The manager of the neighbouring cockatoo rehabilitation centre, David Patterson, said, “It’s a win for common sense and the cockatoos, we’re delighted and grateful to WAFA for their hard work on this.

“We hope that it means the whole area will be protected. The local population of cockatoos need the food and nesting sites Helms provides if they’re going to survive.

“We are releasing around 30 Baudin’s and Carnaby’s Cockatoos in a month’s time. We are calling on the State Government to protect the whole area, because any disturbance out there will drive them from their nest hollows and deplete their food resources and could lead to local extinction,” he said.

Jess Beckerling 0488 777 592