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WA's Unique Forests


Western Australia has forests that are globally significant biodiversity hotspots, containing a unique diversity of plant and animal species found nowhere else in the world. Forests are natural carbon stores, water filters and rain makers, but above all else are vital for a healthy eco-system and community.

Forests in world biodiversity hotspot!

Western Australia’s south-west forests lie within an internationally recognised biodiversity hotspot, one of only 34 in the world and the only one in Australia.

Since the arrival of Europeans, about half the forests have been permanently removed for farms, towns, roads, power lines and dams, and this destruction continues.  Of the remaining half, only about 15 per cent is in its pre-European condition.  This is the old growth forest.  The rest has been logged, most of it several times.  And the logging continues.

Forests help regulate climate and moderate weather. They give us clean air and fresh water. They hold soil in place, prevent salt from rising and cycle nutrients.  They are places where we can enjoy a beautiful natural environment, engage in recreational activities and find spiritual comfort.  They are under threat from mining, housing, logging and burning and, increasingly, climate change.

Forests store very large amounts of carbon.  This is released into the atmosphere when the forests are logged and burnt and not recaptured for decades, possibly centuries.  Protecting and restoring forests to maintain their carbon stores is a cheap and easy and practical way to help address climate change.

Save our high conservation value forests!

The Conservation Council is working with local community groups and alliances like WA Forest Alliance to save precious forests. There are many high conservation value (HCV) forests listed for logging in the near future.  The first step in the transition out of native forests is a moratorium on logging these HCV forests.  Conservationists can then negotiate with the major sawmillers, unions and government to develop and implement an exit strategy with the goal of ending native forest logging.

Stop forest decline!

Our south-west forests are in decline. Jarrah, karri, marri, tuart and wandoo are sick and dying across their range.  Some of the causes are known.  A range of fungi, both local and introduced, attack the trees and can eventually kill them.  Plagues of insects eat the leaves or bore holes in the wood, which weakens the trees and makes them sick. 

The water table has dropped in many places, depriving trees of water during the dry summer months.  Rainfall has decreased significantly, and trees are dying from drought stress.  On top of this, intensive logging and unscientific burning make matters worse.  These are pressures that we can control.  By ending logging and burning, we can help restore our forests to good health. It’s time to stop all logging of native forests.

The forests of the south-west are a living heritage of great value and must be protected and carefully managed to retain their diversity, amenity and beauty. 

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