Goal 1: Provide healthy forests for future generations

“We ensure that we uphold all principles of ecologically sustainable forestry management; conserving biodiversity, ecological integrity and manage forests for the community to enjoy.”

Sustainable forest management

We identify suitable habitat trees and protect them before harvesting operations start to ensure shelter is available for wildlife into the future.

Figure explaining that of WA 2.25 million hectares of forest, 62% is reserved and 38% is accessible forestry and 1% is harvested annually

Regeneration of native forests

Person trimming a bushel of scrubWe undertake all of our operations in accordance with the settings of the Forest Management Plan 2014-2023 (FMP). This plan protects all old-growth forest and balances the complex values of our forests including biodiversity and healthy ecosystems, soil and water resources, and social, cultural and economic benefits.

During winter 2016, an area of approximately 350 hectares of karri forest was successfully regenerated following harvest.

This included all harvested areas and approximately 75 hectares of young karri regrowth forest destroyed in the 2015 Northcliffe fires.

Post-harvest regeneration burning was undertaken on approximately 2,150 hectares of harvested jarrah forest.

Operation Woylie is our flagship sandalwood regeneration program. Better than average rainfall over the Rangelands this year has provided excellent conditions for good germination and survival of the previous year’s sandalwood seeding.

In 2016-2017, the mechanical woylie seeded more than 1,000km of rip-lines, an increase of 100km on the 2015-2016 year, planting more than 14.7 tonnes of sandalwood seed.

This project is complemented with hand seeding at selected sites and will continue as a way to supplement the mechanical seeder in sensitive areas.

This year, we had a bumper karri seed harvest and collected more than 3 million seeds in the southern native forests. This will help to rebuild our depleted seed stocks. The Manjimup nursery sows approximately 1 million karri seeds a year and they are used to regenerate karri forests after harvest.

 

FORESTCHECK

Small bush marsupial on a floor of a forestDuring the year, we continued to support FORESTCHECK, a unique site-based monitoring program managed by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA).

It is designed to gauge the effects of timber harvesting and silviculture in the jarrah forest and is increasing our knowledge of the effects of forest harvesting on biodiversity and the effectiveness of forest management.

The DBCA has been establishing monitoring grids across the South West jarrah forest since FORESTCHECK started in 2001.

Over the coming year, further analysis of data will be undertaken, with the results to be made available to the public.

Monitoring protocols will be reviewed and new techniques will be incorporated with a view to improve efficiencies and the quality of data collected. The monitoring will also provide a basis for reporting on forest condition for the FMP mid-term performance report.

Carnaby's black cockatoos

A group of Carnaby's Cockatoos in a treeCarnaby’s black cockatoos have developed a reliance on pines as a food source.

In response, we have planted 1,500 hectares of commercial pine plantations in the Gnangara area since 2012 to support the endangered cockatoo.

This year, our nursery in Manjimup grew more than 1 million pine seedlings and an additional 500 hectares of pines were planted in Gnangara to support cockatoos and to provide timber products.

The future land use for this area is under consideration as part of the Strategic Assessment of the Perth and Peel Region (SAPPR).

Fauna monitoring in karri forest

View of a forest canopy looking upWe began fauna monitoring of karri forests during the year. The data collected will help predict where threatened species are present in harvest areas.

We have appointed a consultant ecologist to oversee the implementation of fauna monitoring and to train our staff. All results are recorded and information is reviewed by our forest managers. The DBCA then verifies the survey results and provides advice on appropriate managementactions.

An outcome of this project has been to highlight the impact and the identification of feral cats in the southern karri forests, which has lead to our support of an Eradicat trial.

It will be the first time the feral cat baiting program delivered by DBCA has been trialled in the southern karri forests.

FORESTCHECK has shown that no species has become extinct due to forestry.

Fire

Group of workers travelling to a forest in a truckWildfire poses a risk for the community and the forest products industry. We assist the DBCA and the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) to protect life and property from the threat of fires in regional and semi-urban areas.

Approximately 50 of our staff members participate in joint agency emergency response rosters. They help with fire suppression, prescribed burning and fulfil key roles in operational and support functions as part of the State’s bushfire response.

These staff complete annual training which incorporates fitness and competency testing through DBCA’s Fire Management Services Branch.

We are also part of a national, multi-agency, mechanical fuel load reduction bushfire mitigation trial.

The trial involves the removal of woody biomass to reduce fuel loads. This trial supports a recommendation in the Ferguson Report to investigate mechanical fuel reduction load methods.

Our role in fire is essential to ensuring plantation values and regeneration objectives are integrated into the planning and delivery of DBCA’s fire management programs.