Call to re­port tree van­dal­ism

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Western opinion - By JON BAS­SETT

MOS­MAN Park, North Fre­man­tle, Shel­ley, Al­fred Cove and the up­per Swan River re­main hot spots for van­dal­ism of the public’s river­side trees, and the Depart­ment of Parks and Wildlife wants to put a stop to it.

“De­pend­ing on the sever­ity of the case, the cost to com­mu­nity can be more than $8000 for in­ves­ti­ga­tion, signs, re­place­ment and re­me­di­a­tion ev­ery time it hap­pens,” Parks and Wildlife river­park man­ager Roland Mau said.

Na­tive trees near the Swan and Can­ning rivers con­tinue to be killed or pruned through river­side res­i­dents’ at­tempts to gain bet­ter views or river ac­cess.

But WA leg­is­la­tion says landown­ers do not have rights to views and con­victed van­dals risk a $5000 fine.

Mr Mau said the trees were more valu­able to the rest of the com­mu­nity as they pre­vented ero­sion, pro­vided habi­tats, shaded river­side parks and cooled river­banks by 3C to 5C.

The trees also en­hance life­styles and the en­vi­ron­ment by pro­vid­ing wind breaks, fil­ter­ing air­borne pol­lu­tion in­clud­ing car fumes, giv­ing homes to na­tive in­sects, birds and other wildlife.

It also im­proves wa­ter qual­ity by fil­ter­ing runoff into drains and rivers. “Trees are of­ten van­dalised af­ter dark, so un­less the public hears saw­ing or chain­saws, de­tec­tion of il­le­gal ac­tiv­ity such as poi­son­ing may not be ap­par­ent un­til af­ter a few days or even weeks,” Mr Mau said.

The Parks and Wildlife signs that alert the public to sites of ma­jor tree van­dal­ism are said to de­ter more dam­age while they are on the river banks for up to two years.

It is claimed the signs have led to a 70 per cent de­crease in tree van­dal­ism since they were in­tro­duced in 2007.

Mr Mau said tree van­dal­ism and sus­pi­cious ac­tiv­ity should be re­ported at any time, and while any re­port would be con­fi­den­tial, a record­ing of the dam­age was vi­tal.

A Depart­ment of Parks and Wildlife of­fi­cer looks at tree van­dal­ism, which de­stroys the rivers and banks for ev­ery­one.

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