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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Western Australia's Native Forest

Western Austrralia's  plantation timber industry ( which we should all support ) is failing. It can't compete with the bargain basement prices of our last remaining native hardwoods . Our government  sees votes in  "jobs for the boys" in sawmills. Outlandishly generous timber amounts were promised to millworkers  in my town of Nannup by Terry Redman MP before the last state election. Logging took place last year in vast areas which had been preserved by all governments since 1920 as high conservation value. This year logging is to continue all winter.   Jarrah is a  fantastically good fire wood (millable logs are currently burnt in the Alcoa smelter at Wagerup thanks to Minister Redman's pricing of just $5 a cubic meter, less than blue gum plantation waste which was planned to fuel the smelter.
Couldn't mill workers be employed planting spotted gum and other species of  fast  growing structural timber, on cleared land? 
These mills will inevitably have to close as we've  cut down nearly all the native timber that was here when white man arrived 200 years ago.  Jarrah seedlings  take about 300 years to grow .Like Karri, vast amounts of Jarrah was  cut down and shipped out  all over the world from the early 1900's. But in the early days this was done manually, didn't destroy the understory and employed a lot of people. Nowadays it is mostly done by machine, flattens everything, spreads disease and the Forest Products Commission runs at a financial loss!  The government logs large areas then kindly turns them into  " National Parks " so that  they can boast about the area they have reserved. They know there is nothing left of economic value in these so called National Parks for the next 300 years!

Jarrah is nearly all gone, and along with it, world heritage ecosystems and biodiversity. The Black cockatoos pictured below are critically endangered. These individulas are being rehabilitated at David and Dee Pattersons sanctuary in Nannup. They were found emaciated and  starving to death  because ...these birds need to eat the seeds from 100 Jarrah or 50 Marri gum nuts a day.

A Scientists' Statement on the Protection of Western Australia's South-West Forests was 
launched last week.
You can  download a copy of the statement and access the YouTube clips here. There was some good media coverage, including an article in the West. We are hopeful that the strong statement made by so many eminent scientists, many of whom are experts in their fields, has been heard and that their recommendations will be acted upon.

The Auditor General's report into the supply and sale of our native forest timber was tabled in Parliament today. The report confirms that our forests are being mismanaged and that waste and environmental breaches are being overlooked by the Government's logging industry. WAFA has put out a media release and will follow up with a more rigorous response to the report in the coming days.

Forest Legacy hosted a very successful and inspiring forest tour last weekend. Congratulations to Patrick Weir, Maggie Burke, Jo MacDonald and the team. You can find Forest Legacy on Facebook and on their website.

 If you'd like to get involved in the WA Forest Alliance who do tireless work to save our precious biodiversity contact Jessica Chapman on 0457 441 102 or

The EPA will be releasing their report and recommendations on the next 10-year Forest Management Plan in a few weeks time. There will be an important opportunity to put in appeals. Phone Jess Beckerling  WA Forest Alliance 0488 777 592
Photograph: Family Photo: Forest Redtail Black Cockatoos (L-R) Dad, Bub and Mum.
Taken at Jamarri Cockatoo Sanctuary Nannup. Courtesy Philippa Beckerling.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

SWALES: Water capture and storage, .Carbon Capture and Storage

Swales are a water harvesting , food forest  establishment system which work for centuries passively building topsoil and holding water in the landscape which would otherwise run off into the sea. Swales have been proven to green the desert, manage salt, reverse land degradation and restore deserts to productive landscapes. Geoff Lawton's  acclaimed video "Greening the Desert" (available on You Tube) shows that swales work   in the some of the most arid zones of the world . When landscapes are rehydrated and revegetated with swales, springs and streams flow once more. See our swale page here:

5 swales dug March 2011
We dug our first swale in an extreme drought year , 2010. Only 450 mls of rain fell for the year , less than
 half our average. The longer , greener growth  in the middle distance  is where the swale is. No grazing had taken place in this paddock  when pic taken.

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Join us for an interactive workshop  where  Stewart Seesink and Bee Winfield will give you the lowdown on surveying  a swale with a laser level or a simple “A” frame you can make yourself. With contours marked out, a couple of  hours work with a tractor or some while longer with a spade can generate long lasting  extreme benefits to the environment at very low cost. We have planted cow fodder trees along our swales such as tagasaste, poplar, willows , sapote, coprosma, grapes and figs. Most have done well without irrigation in extreme conditions.

Farmers and small holders particularly welcome. We look forward to  you registering your interest. When 10 people have, we will set a date.
Cost : $75 per person. Please RSVP to Bee