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Men of the Trees Inc

Men of the Trees was founded in Kenya on 22 July 1922. Richard St Barbe Baker, a forestry officer in the colonial service, was employed to issue timber felling licences. But he had a conscience about the forests. He undertook long safaris through the rain forests to assess the annual increment of the trees with commercial value. He would never issue licences that allowed the forest to be cut other than on a sustained yield basis.

His research took him to the great bamboo forests and then eventually into the northern highlands of Kenya. Here he found a devastating situation. Instead of the lush tropical forests, he found sparse scrubland. He had come to the southern fringe of the Sahel. Here the native Kikuyu people followed the practise of ‘slash and burn’ agriculture. The land soon ceased to produce crops and the people would be forced to move on, clearing more scrub to grow their food and not restoring the cleared areas. Their traditional enemies, the Masai, called them ‘the forest destroyers’.

St Barbe held conferences with the tribal elders and eventually they agreed that trees were valuable and that the way to improve their land and avoid mass starvation was to revegetate. This great work began with a great Dance—the Dance of the Trees. That first great dance drew the participation of 3,000 Moran warriors. But before he would allow the dance to proceed St Barbe chose 50 volunteers who would become the first ’Watu wa Miti’ - Men of the Trees. Each member took a solemn oath to serve the principles of planting and caring for trees in order to save their land from desertification. Each upheld that promise, and the secret password ‘TWAHAMWE’ meaning “we are all one”.

Today, this idea has spread worldwide. Men of the Trees is now active in many countries including every mainland state of Australia. In Western Australia the Society has been active since 1979. Today more than 2000 members and volunteers collectively plant more than half a million trees in a season. In Western Australia we dedicate our greatest efforts to preventing desertification, erosion and salinity by planting masses of trees.

Contact details:

ABN: 96 502 440 135
PO Box 103 Guildford
Western Australia 6935
Telephone: (08) 9250 1888
Fascimile: (08) 9250 2735
Email: [email protected]

Jarrahdale Forest Protectors

The Jarrahdale Forest Protectors (JFP) have been fighting to protect the Mundlimup Forest.  Forest Products Commission (FPC) scheduled the area for logging but have delayed action and JFP now feel it is safe to say Mundlimup west of Blue Rock Road, including the Walk and Cycle Trails which were developed with the Department of Environment and the Jarrahdale Heritage Society are saved and that the forest surrounding Strilingia Road is safe for the foreseeable future.  BUT this is yet to be confirmed in writing and JFP and Forest Rescue will continue to monitor the area closely and ensure the roading does not take place.

What did the locals say?  The group has in the past 6 months conducted a survey of local residents which indicated that 88% of people did not want logging in the forest so close to their town.  Questions have been asked in Parliament, Ministers have been written to, and many articles have been published on the plight of the forest.   A petition was tabled in the Upper House and a parliamentary committee visited and made recommendation to FPC that it take into account the locals’ concerns.  The Shire and the Department of Conservation (DEC) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to develop the Discovery Forest Concept which has an educational and research focus as well as tour-ism.  Work has already begun with funding being sought for the information shelters which will be placed along the route.  This will increase visitors to Jarrahdale and provide benefits for us all.

JFP have represented Mundlimup at various forums including the Walk Against Warming where Sheila Twine and Vicky Kerfoot wore the impressive tabards ensuring people know about the  fight for the Jarrahdale forest.

JFP met with many representatives from all levels of Government.  Gordon Graham A/CEO of the Conservation Commission was shown the extent of clearing of the forest from Alcoa’s operations and agreed that it was time again to speak to the relevant ministers.   He was also shown the effect the Water Corporation’s Wungong Experiment is having on the Jarrah forest.  The Conservation Commission are reviewing the prescription with DEC.

Three years ago Charles Kerfoot was amazed to come across a log whilst working in the forest.  It was in one piece, 5 metres long, with a diameter of 1.8 metres and estimated to weigh 12 tonne when green.  He was deter-mined that it should be preserved from wild-fire, prescribed burns and further deterioration.  He felt it should be shown to future generations as an example of a Jarrah tree.  Records show this size tree was common.  The tree, estimated to be 400 years old, was probably cut down in the 1950s, found to be too large to move with available machinery and was left behind.  It has weathered and been attacked by termites but is still an impressive sight.  Phil Griffiths, Ian Nice, Rick Lynn with Charles Kerfoot have placed the log in position at the Jarrahdale Heritage Park.

To contact the Jarrahdale Forest Protectors, please email:

[email protected]

Bridgetown-Greenbushes Friends of the Forest

Bridgetown - Greenbushes Friends of the Forest (BGFF) was founded in 1987 and is located in the heart of the WA forest region.

The objectives of BGFF include the promotion of ecologically sound management of WA's native forest and the encouragement of realistic and environmentally responsible alternatives for the production of timber and wood based products.  

Balingup Friends of the Forest


Preserve and restore the diversity, health and extent of the native forests and wildlife in the general vicinity of Balingup.

Respond to the Department of Conservation and Land Management's (CALM) statutory requirements for public consultation on proposed management plans, and participate in the consultative process adopted in CALM's overall objective for the management of native forest in the Forest Management Plan 1994-2003.

Assist members of the Donnybrook-Balingup Shire to participate in CALM's planning for and management of public lands, in particular those members of the local community adjacent to the Kerr State forest who will be affected by CALM's operations, including logging activities

Seek the reservation of Kerr State forest as a nature reserve.

Foster ecotourism in the Donnybrook-Balingup Shire by seeking the protection of the visual and recreational amenity of native forests and their wildlife values and the accrual of associated social and economic benefits to the local community.

Postal address:
PO Box 141 Balingup,
WA, 6253 Australia
(08) 9756 2004

Website (out of date)