Western Australia has close to 18 million hectares of forests and woodlands.
The state government is responsible for managing much of the State’s native forests and woodlands, from the jarrah and karri of the south-west, to the remnant areas of rainforest in the Kimberley, and the Great Western Woodlands which represents the largest and most intact eucalypt woodland remaining in southern Australia.
February 2001 saw a turning point in managing Western Australia’s south-west native forests, with an end to timber harvesting in all old-growth forests vested in the Conservation Commission of Western Australia.
Since 2001, more than 500,000 hectares have been added to the system of national parks, conservation parks and nature reserves managed by the Department of Parks and Wildlife, including 12 national parks promised under the Regional Forest Agreement for the South-West Forest Region of Western Australia.
Just under 2.3 million hectares of native forest in our state’s south-west region is on lands managed by the department. Of this, more than one million hectares of south-west forest is in national parks, conservation parks and nature reserves, with the greater part of old-growth forests protected in this way or in informal reserves.
When you include the 1.2 million hectares of State forest and timber reserves, the south-west forest area represents a significant investment in protecting the diversity of Western Australian’s unique landscape, flora and fauna.
These forests are also a major economic contributor to regional communities. They support mining, the native forest timber industry, tourism, recreation, water production and other uses such as beekeeping and wildflower harvesting. In fact, the Department of Parks and Wildlife is the largest provider of outdoor recreation opportunities in the State.
The Forest Management Plan 2014-2023 is the key policy framework for protecting and managing the State's south-west's forests.
The Forest Management Plan requires the preparation of rolling three-year indicative timber harvest plans. The plans provide a forward schedule of areas or coupes available for timber harvesting. Comment on the plans is welcomed.