he February WA election saw Labor promise to end 99% of old growth logging immediately and phase out export woodchipping by 2003. However, their commitment to the logging companies to supply huge volumes of logs until the end of 2003 has seen an increase in destruction of other important forests to account for protected old growth. These important conservation areas are being converted mostly to woodchips (90%).
To make up the shortfall in quota from old growth, logging of Jarrah in other regions is estimated to have increased 76%!
The Japanese silicone smelter takes 150,000 tonnes a year of logs for charcoal. The WA Government talked about reducing sustainable yield in Jarrah forests of the higher quality logs by 2003, but it doesn’t take account of the lower grade logs for chips and charcoal.
The Marri tree (like a western version of a redgum) is the favoured woodchip species out of the Jarrah forest. Yet the Marri trees are not even in the Government’s quota equations on volumes and yields. That’s a dirty trick the Victorian government hasn’t picked up on yet – don’t count the woodchip species in the sums.
Preston Environment Group, WA.