Log­ging halt at Barrabup old growth

Manjimup-Bridgetown Times - - News - Karen Hunt

THE State Govern­ment says it will pro­tect old growth for­est found at Barrabup near Nan­nup but con­ser­va­tion­ists say it needs to do more to de­liver on its elec­tion prom­ises.

A De­part­ment of Bio­di­ver­sity, Con­ser­va­tion and At­trac­tions re­port on Fri­day found the 530ha Barrabup block con­tained 43ha of min­i­mally dis­turbed old-growth jar­rah.

En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Stephen Daw­son said the old-growth area would be pro­tected but ex­pressed disappointment that 1.2ha had been dis­turbed by road­works.

He called on the de­part­ment to “en­sure stricter com­pli­ance” with log­ging pro­to­cols.

Forestry Min­is­ter Dave Kelly said he asked the For­est Prod­ucts Com­mis­sion to ex­plain why old growth was not iden­ti­fied sooner.

“FPC will also be re-eval­u­at­ing the har­vest strat­egy for the Barrabup coupe and har­vest­ing will not com­mence un­til this is com­plete,” he said.

A com­mis­sion spokesman said the road­works had been a mis­take but “ex­ten­sive har­vest­ing” un­til the late 1970s had made iden­ti­fy­ing old growth chal­leng­ing.

The area af­fected would be re­ha­bil­i­tated, ac­cord­ing to act­ing op­er­a­tions direc­tor An­drew Lyon.

“These roads will not be used as part of har­vest­ing op­er­a­tions and all newly iden­ti­fied old growth will also be ex­cluded,” Mr Lyon said.

“Ex­tra re­sources would be al­lo­cated in fu­ture to as­sess coupes be­fore har­vest.”

Con­ser­va­tion­ists ex­pressed con­cern at the rel­a­tively small area to be pro­tected and the method­ol­ogy used to de­fine old growth for­est.

South West MLC Diane Evers said she was in­ves­ti­gat­ing as an ur­gent pri­or­ity whether the def­i­ni­tion of old growth had been changed.

“Barrabup is a clear ex­am­ple of a high con­ser­va­tion for­est, con­tain­ing im­por­tant habi­tat for threat­ened species, di­verse veg­e­ta­tion and enor­mous com­mu­nity, her­itage, recre­ational and tourism value,” she said. The ALP cam­paigned on a prom­ise to pro­tect high con­ser­va­tion value forests, she said.

Barrabup Con­ser­va­tion Group re­it­er­ated calls for a na­tional park.

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