Wildlife under threat
The extraordinary and unique south-west of WA is globally recognised, alongside the Galapagos Islands and Borneo’s rainforests, as a Global Biodiversity Hotspot.
To be listed as a Biodiversity Hotspot an area has to be very rich in animal and plant life diversity, and also it has to have lost 70% or more of its natural vegetation. The south-west has lost 80%.
Our native forests are also home to some very special wildlife that live nowhere else in the world. Sadly, many of them are threatened with extinction and their remaining refuges are still being logged and destroyed.
Over the past decade at least 18 forest dependent species, including the Red-tailed Black Cockatoo and Baudin’s Cockatoo, have become more endangered. Habitat loss is the major threat to their survival and yet no State or Federal legislation exists to protect threatened species from logging operations.
We need new laws in WA that protect wildlife from State sanctioned habitat loss.
Logging and post-logging fires destroy vital food supplies, shelter and nesting sites that forest wildlife need to survive and breed. Foxes and cats move in after logging too, preying on the surviving, vulnerable wildlife. Phytophthora cinnamomi, commonly known as dieback, is also spread by logging operations. This forest disease kills trees and shrubs, further reducing habitat. Soil compaction from logging machinery also has long term impacts.
Clearfelling and other intensive logging practices destroy complex ecosystems that have taken millennia to develop. The guidelines for retaining habitat trees are woefully inadequate, and even these guidelines are routinely breached.
The WA Forest Alliance has documented numerous breaches of logging guidelines, such as logging old growth forest, destroying trees marked for habitat retention, and logging in stream reserves. We have provided evidence of breaches such as these to the Minister for Environment, the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) and the Forest Products Commission (FPC). In fact, DEC and FPC have documented hundreds of breaches themselves, but in the absence of any adequate enforcement powers, very little if anything is done. The breaches keep piling up and the habitat keeps getting destroyed.
With so many threats facing our forest wildlife we have a responsibility to do what we can to protect them and leave a legacy we can be proud of. It makes no sense to continue logging our world renowned, magnificent and vulnerable native forests. Our forests are worth more standing and with so much at stake it is vital that we protect them.