Calls for more action to protect plantation land

Friday 20 Jan 2023

A Western Australian timber company has called for the state government to do more to protect plantation land from fire, amid concerns it could cost about a million dollars to replant hundreds of hectares of timber impacted by fires in WA's South West.

The fire in the Preston National Park burnt at emergency-level for 24 hours and tore through five and a half thousand hectares of native forest, timber plantation and farm-land east of Donnybrook. It's unclear how many timber trees have been lost but the ABC understands two plantations have been damaged and hundreds of hectares of trees have been impacted.

One of the plantations in the Noggerup area is run by the state government's Forest Product Commission. WA Forestry Minister Jackie Jarvis said it was likely some of the trees would be OK. "My understanding is that there's been about 130 hectares of mature pines impacted," she said. "Initial reports are that those will still be able to be harvested and used." "I understand there's about 140 hectares of two and three-year-old pine plantations that will need to be replanted."

The other plantation is owned by WA Plantation Resources and is made up of about 500 hectares of pine and bluegum estate. WAPRES CEO Ian Telfer said he expected about half of the plantation may not be able to be salvaged. "The area affected is a 2020 planting, so two years old, that will need to be re-planted [and] the bluegum areas that we have traditionally range from 12 years or more down to some more recent plantings.

"We'll look to have to harvest them in due course and recover what we can. The cost of reforesting those areas and replanting will be in excess of a million dollars." A full assessment of the area will be carried out once the fire has been put out.

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Source: ABC

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