Goal 1: Deliver healthy forests for future generations

“We ensure that we uphold all principles of ecologically sustainable forest management; conserving biodiversity, ecological integrity and manage forests for the community to enjoy.”

 

Regeneration of native forests

Ensuring wild West Australian sandalwood is available for generations to come continues to be a key focus of our native forest regeneration program.

This year Operation Woylie was again expanded, with 1,460 kilometres of rip-lines seeded across the Rangelands. This was complemented by another 50 kilograms of sandalwood seed that was hand seeded in less accessible areas by Aboriginal planters, engaged through the Goldfields Land and Sea Council.

We established sandalwood regeneration trials aimed at improving regeneration in northern rainfall zones.

We successfully regenerated approximately 423 hectares of karri forest. Fire in jarrah forest helps to remove competition for jarrah seedlings and results in more successful seedling establishment. Approximately 4,410 hectares of jarrah forest was burned in 2019 as part of our post-harvest regeneration program.

All of our operations are undertaken in accordance with the Forest Management Plan 2014–2023 (FMP). This plan makes less than one per cent of Western Australia’s total forest area available for harvest each year and ensures that all old-growth forests are protected.

Fauna monitoring in the karri forest

Our fauna monitoring in karri forest harvest coupes continued to provide valuable information on the use of the areas before and after harvest.

The program identified 31 different fauna species across the six coupes monitored. This was a slight increase from previous years and highlighted the return of native fauna species, like quendas and possums, to coupes following harvesting, regeneration and reestablishment of forest cover.

This highlighted the importance of connectivity corridors of undisturbed vegetation and stream systems that we leave for fauna to use as cover and movement corridors.

Pest animals, mainly foxes and cats, were identified in all monitored coupes. Feral pigs were also identified in several locations. This shows the importance and need for control programs for these species and we will be continuing current control programs in the karri forest.

We continued implementation of a trial of the use of baits (Eradicat®) for the control of cats in the karri forest.

This trial has demonstrated the difficulty of cat control through the use of a baiting program where an alternative food source is present. We will be seeking to draw on the research findings from other similar cat control trials to assess alternative methods for effective cat control.

Fire

The FPC makes a significant contribution to fire management in Western Australia, assisting with fire suppression and fuel reduction activities to protect forest assets and property.

More than 25 percent of our staff engaged in fire management this year including participation in joint agency emergency response rosters. These staff assisted with fire suppression at more than 35 fires for the season including significant incidents at Yanchep, Stirling Range and Norseman.

The FPC continues to work with the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) to plan, prioritise and implement fuel reduction burning programs designed to provide protection for our plantation estate.

We work with DBCA each year to plan and implement a program of prescribed burns to reduce fuels in native vegetation adjacent to nominated priority plantations. Strategically located fuel reduction burning is the most efficient means of managing the threat to plantation assets from wildfire.

Volunteer Fire Brigades (VFB) were supported through our Community Support program, with five VFB’s receiving grants for a range of projects to help enhance their firefighting capabilities, including for improved pumping equipment, safety equipment and expanded facilities.