Western Australia’s peak conservation group has welcomed a consultation process launched today by the Minister for the Environment and Climate Action on the future management of WA forests.
The consultation is intended to inform the government on policy options for the management of forests before the development of a new Forest Management Plan (FMP), and the Conservation Council has encouraged members of the community to engage in the consultation process to make their views known.
CCWA Executive Director Piers Verstegen said the community sentiment was clear that remaining native forests should be protected for native wildlife and sustainable forest industries and was confident this would be reflected in responses to the survey.
“Over the last decade, we have seen community attitudes strengthen towards to protection of our forests, and there is now greater recognition than ever that forests are more valuable to local economies and communities if they are protected.
“At the same time, there is an increased awareness that protecting trees and forests will be critical in our fight against climate change and that forests have a vital role to play in providing homes and food for endangered species like the Numbat and Carnaby’s black cockatoo.
“We are confident that the response to this process will identify very significant values that our community places on our forests, including helping to reduce carbon pollution, supporting diverse local businesses such as honey production and tourism, and of course providing critical habitat for our unique native wildlife.
“This will be important information for the State Government to capture so that the next Forest Management Plan can be a plan to protect our forests.
“In the past, consultation processes on Forest Management in WA have taken ‘business-as-usual as a given, and have not considered the need and opportunity to change the ways our forests are managed.
"There is an opportunity to deliver far greater benefits for the environment, communities and the economy by changing how our forests are managed in WA under the next Forest Management Plan (FMP).
"The next FMP must shift the emphasis away from destructive industries like logging that are damaging our environment for little economic benefit, and support the transition to more valuable and sustainable forest-based industries like carbon sequestration, nature-based tourism and honey production and plantation forestry.
“Supporting these industries to grow and develop under the FMP will deliver exciting opportunities for southwest communities while at the same time protecting the natural values of our forests.”