WA forest camp set up

May 21, 1997

WA forest camp set up

By John Seed

GIBLETT FOREST — Environmentalists have set up a protest/witness camp here in an effort to halt logging.

Giblett state forest near Pemberton forms the heart of one of the most beautiful old-growth forest areas left in the south-west of Western Australia. Professor Peter Attiwell in a report stated, "Such an area of extensive and concentrated karri forest (Beavis, Giblett, Strickland and Beedelup National Park), should be of high priority for conservation".

Now local community groups and tourist operators have launched a proposal for the inclusion of all these in the Greater Beedelup National Park. This would serve as a refuge for endangered species including the red-tailed and white-tailed black cockatoos.

Loggers have a quaint habit in these parts called "scrub rolling", where they send in bulldozers and anything else they have that weighs a few tonnes to flatten the undergrowth, to clear the way for the chainsaws through the dense undergrowth.

It's disgusting: such a majestic, huge forest, most of it trampled into dust to expose the big trees, and then 85% of the volume of these turned into woodchips — really inferior woodchips at that. The Japanese have eight grades of woodchips, and these West Australian forests rank seventh.

What's more, the whole thing is heavily subsidised by the taxpayer — all the roads and port infrastructure and, in spite of the loggers' and chippers' vast profits, the workers get paid so little that they qualify for social security support to supplement their income.

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