Forest Matters February 2023

By Steve Gates

Dear NRPG members and interested,

Much is happening with our forests and NRPG has been supporting the WA Forest Alliance (WAFA) and Norther Jarrah Forest Alliance (NJF) according to our commitment to the WAFA “Forests for Climate Charter” in their efforts to protect our forests from many onslaughts.

Please take a moment to see this newsletter, and also have your say…

Kind regards,

Steve Gates

President, NRPG Bushcarers

 Welcome to the first edition of Forest Matters for 2023 – the last year of logging in WA. WAFA organisers took leave over the Birak (early summer) break and now we’re back on deck for another productive year for the South West forests.

There’ve been a number of interesting and important developments and we’ve got some great upcoming events and opportunities to get involved. We hope you enjoy catching up on our news and as always, don’t hesitate to get in touch via [email protected]

Yours for the forests,

The WAFA team.    Final year of logging WA’s precious forests We are finally here – the countdown is on and in less than one year’s time logging of WA’s South West forests will come to an end. A lot of damage can be done in a year, and we will be focusing attention on minimising that damage in the best interests of the forests.

The Forest Products Commission has published its 1-year logging plan – you can find the coupe lists and maps here. There is good news and bad on the list – Serpentine 03, which we collectively worked hard to protect last year has been taken off the list and will not be logged, but a number of other places that are deeply loved and of very high conservation value are indicatively listed for logging.

Since the list was generated, Parkside – the biggest buyer of Karri and Jarrah sawlogs in the State – has announced that it is closing the Nannup mill and Manjimup processing centre. Other mills are also reportedly shutting up shop, further reducing the volumes that companies are seeking in this final year of native forest timber contracts before they all expire at the end of 2023.

It makes sense for the most high conservation value forests to be immediately removed from this list now that major buyers will no longer be receiving timber, and we’re determined to ensure that the outcome for the forests is the best possible one.
If you have an area of particular concern on this list, or you want to support our efforts more broadly, please contact us at [email protected]  Whitelands Mill, Busselton Feb 2023 Image: Jinni Wilson Treenbrook There’s nothing quite like the magic of stepping under the boughs of a mature Karri Forest like this one at Treenbrook. Last logged in the 1920s, it has had almost a century to grow back and is one of the few tall stands of Karri left close to Pemberton.

Sadly, in the very last year of logging in native forests, Treenbrook is back on the logging schedule and tree marking has already begun. In the midst of a transition from logging to other industries like tourism and hospitality, there is an imminent danger that the State Government will allow the destruction of the very forests that those industries will depend on in the future.

Pemberton is a major drawcard for tourism in WA, attracting visitors from all over the world. It would be a tragedy for Treenbrook to be logged at the eleventh hour: these coupes must be taken off the logging schedule immediately. What you can do to help:
Email the MLA for Warren-Blackwood Jane Kelsbie: [email protected] And the new Minister for Forestry Jackie Jarvis: [email protected]  Treenbrook Forest, Pemberton Feb 2023 Image: Jinni Wilson Alcoa in the spotlight Mining in critical water catchments and across the Northern Jarrah Forests is under the spotlight with a series of bombshell revelations exposing the risks and the secrecy surrounding the industry. 

Bauxite mining in South West WA operates under State Agreement Acts – special pieces of legislation giving multinational companies Alcoa and South32 long-term access to the world’s only Jarrah forests and the massive profits that the bauxite below them represents.  

The first of these agreements was signed in 1961 by Acting Premier Charles Court, and the WA public was assured that only 25 hectares of forest would be cleared per year – ‘a mere postage stamp on the landscape’, we were told. Since then, 30,000 ha of the Northern Jarrah Forests have been cleared for mining and the rate is accelerating. The impacts on forests, wildlife, water and communities have been profound, but getting action from government has been notoriously difficult.  But the WA public has wisened up to the clear and critical need to protect forests and the sense of entitlement and arrogance on display by mining companies feels as outdated as the agreements they’ve relied upon.   The tide is turning on this issue. State Agreement Acts do not give companies sovereignty – that belongs to governments – and the critical need to act on climate and to protect water and biodiversity is undeniable.   Read all the recent coverage here and make sure the Premier knows you are aware of the issues and want action taken to stop mining in the Northern Jarrah Forest.  Rounded Rectangle: Send an email   Communities vs Rio Tinto continues in court We were back in the Mining Warden’s Court on the 3rd of February for our second mention hearing where the next mention for group objectors was scheduled for the 21st April 2023.
Have a look at our media statement released that morning for some background and context, and read this article from the Australian Financial Review for some interesting analysis and further information.
At the hearing, Warden McPhee ordered Rio Tinto to decide which of its two sets of applications over 10 identical parts of the Northern Jarrah Forests they will be continuing with, and to progress the withdrawal of objections for those individuals who have expressed their intention to withdraw.
If Rio Tinto continues with the second set of applications and drops the first set, all individual objections to the first round will automatically be terminated and those 150 or so people who are waiting for Rio Tinto to get back to them, will have had their matter resolved. In that case, the court hearing will continue, but only with the group objectors (i.e.: WAFA and other organisations) in the mix.
We will know on the 21st of April whether this is how it’s going to play out, and we’ll keep people up to date. In the meantime, individual objectors should keep the 28th of April in their calendars for their first mention hearing. If you have any questions about this, contact Nelson Gilmour at [email protected]
  Show some love for the Black Cockatoos – Gnangara At one time all three species of Black Cockatoos were so vast in numbers they would fill the skies. It was one of nature’s most astonishing sites. Now all three species – Karak (Forest Red-tail) Ngolak (Baudin’s) and Ngolyenok (Carnaby’s) are threatened with extinction and need our help.

The campaign to protect these beloved birds, and the habitat they need to survive has been making great progress, especially through the incredible film Black Cockatoo Crisis which powerfully articulates the range of threats and the areas where action needs to be taken.

One key action that would prevent an imminent starvation event for the Northern Population of Carnaby’s / Ngolyenok is to stop clearing the pine trees which are acting as a life line in the absence of sufficient native foods on the Swan Coastal Plain.

It is here in Gnangara, where you can still see huge number of cockatoos filling the sky. Up to 5000 Ngolyenoks have been seen in one spot, they call this the mega-roost.  This is an extraordinary number – up to 70% of the Ngolyenoks in the Perth Peel area – but their food supplies are rapidly disappearing with the pine trees being cut down and trucked away, and no rehabilitation occurring.

We simply must protect this life support system for the Ngolyenok and stop the last of the pines in Gnangara being cut down.

We have put a referral in to the Environmental Protection Authority to save this area and we are still waiting for action. Given the urgency, this should be one of the very first actions taken. We need government to protect the remaining pines, plant more Banksias and other native foods in the already cleared areas, and protect what woodland is left along the Swan Coastal Plain. In fact, plans once existed to do just that. But under pressure from housing companies, the State Government has thrown these plans away. So we are appealing also to the federal Minister for Environment to use her powers under federal laws.

Please call or email Minister Plibersek to save the last mega-roost of Black Cockatoos by stopping the felling of the Gnangara pines until the area can be regrown with Banksia woodland. Phone: 02 6274 1377 Rounded Rectangle: send an email   Image: Nathalie Casal Save the Black Cockatoos – Cocanarup ’Don’t break our hearts!’ Save the Black Cockatoos attended the first day of Parliament to hand over a Valentine’s card to the Minister for Environment’s staff. The card calls on Minister Whitby to ‘Show some love’ for the Black Cockatoos and protect Cocanarup, the biggest breeding area on the South Coast for the endangered Ngolyenok (Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo). Bulletin Resources Limited have applied for an exploration licence where up to 100 pairs of Ngolyenoks use the hollows in ancient Salmon Gums to raise their young. The area also holds a special memorial to a Noongar massacre. The idea that this could go under the bulldozer breaks our hearts. It is too precious to lose.

It’s not too late to speak out for the Ngolyenoks and call for this precious place to be protected.
  Rounded Rectangle: Send an email   Image: Jess Boyce Black Cockatoo Crisis – National Tour and International Awards Black Cockatoo Crisis – the world is watching! The new documentary by filmmaker Jane Hammond has now won 14 International awards, including the monthly best documentary feature from the Cannes World Film Festival. Congratulations to Jane Hammond and to everyone involved! Next step is to ensure that current federal and state law and policies turn into more effective action on the ground. Time is running out for the Black Cockatoos: ‘Everywhere we go the story is the same, our endangered species are being pushed further down the path to extinction. We need action to stop the loss of critical habitat. Join us. See the film, join the campaign.’ The campaign is currently on a National tour and raising momentum in communities across the country – thanks to everyone who has turned out in support of the Black Cockatoos. The film will continue to screen in various locations around the State – if you haven’t seen it yet please come along! Rounded Rectangle: Screenings and tickets   Jane Hammond and MLA for Warren-Blackwood Jane Kelsbie, Margaret River. Image: Jann Lane Tree of the Month This month’s winner is this wonderful Tuart with multiple hollows – one of many in the patch of bushland loved and cared for by the Melon Hill Bushland group in Swanbourne. Thanks to Joan Sharpe for sharing it with us! Send us an image of a special or unusual tree, and we’ll choose one to feature in the next edition of Forest Matters. Email [email protected]   WAFA is moving house! Next week, WAFA will be moving our office space and co-work venue to City West Lotteries House. We’ll be announcing new co-work times and details shortly. Thanks to everyone at Perth City Farm – we’ve really enjoyed being a part of the wonderful community in such a beautiful space! Here’s how you can stay involved Invest in forest defence and become a regular donorVolunteer with WAFAStay connected via social media Together, for forests!Team WAFA We have recently changed our email platform. Our apologies if you have received this email in error! Click here to unsubscribe. We acknowledge and pay our respects to the traditional owners of the South West forests across the Noongar/Bibbulmun nation. This always was and always will be Aboriginal land.   
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