Logging quota criticised

Clearing within Ashendon Forest Coupes area. Picture: David Baylis www.communitypix.com.au d407240
Clearing within Ashendon Forest Coupes area. Picture: David Baylis www.communitypix.com.au d407240

Environment Minister Albert Jacob announced final approval of the plan, to take effect in January, on Friday.

Ms MacLaren said now the minister had rejected the 56 appeals against an Environmental Protection Authority report on the plan, he would ‘reign over a new era of forest destruction’.

She said the Department of Parks and Wildlife, which would implement the guidelines with the Forest Products Commission, had not met basic environmental protections in the previous plan.

‘Goals for the understory diversity were supposed to finalised by December 2005, now eight years overdue. Today the Environment Minister added another two and half years to this deadline,’ she said.

Ms MacLaren said the Government’s plan should be to transition from logging native forest to sustainable plantations.

However, Mr Jacob said the plan struck the right balance between conservation and other activities and its total ‘cutover area’ was around one per cent annually of all forest ecosystems within its area.

He said old-growth forest would still be protected and all logged areas regenerated.

‘Biodiversity protection measures in the plan have been enhanced, through initiatives such as retention of additional habitat logs for numbats and the retention of large marri trees for black cockatoos and other species,’ he said.

He said the department had fulfilled its responsibilities under the previous plan and had focused on the highest priorities, making substantial policy and on-the-ground changes to achieve key conservation objectives.

The minister said the Government supported a sustainable forest products industry and plantations were already an important source for the industry.