The end of unsustainable commercial logging in Western Australia could save almost 20,000 square kilometres of forest, the state government says.
Chopping down native karri, jarrah and wandoo hardwood in the state’s southwest and selling it is banned from Monday.
Environment Minister Reece Whitby said it was a historic moment for WA.
“Our state is now one of the first in Australia to end native logging, a move which will promote conservation and resilience throughout our natural environment,” he said.
Under the new Forest Management Plan 2024-2033, native timbers can only be felled for ecologically thinning to enhance forest health and resilience from drought and bushfires.
The government has invested $350 million in WA’s softwood pine plantations to supply the construction industry with timber.
It also rolled out an $80 million Native Forest Transition Plan that included payments for eligible sawmills to restructure.
WA’s largest commercial mills have closed and timber towns have been given millions of dollars in grants for community development projects, business diversification and to attract new industries.
Forestry Minister Jackie Jarvis said the decision reflected the changing community attitudes.
“This is a new era for our southwest and I am proud to be part of a government that is prioritising forest health and supporting the local industry to diversify and grow,” she said.
(Australian Associated Press)