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Monday, July 22, 2024

Prescribed burns putting trees on the path to extinction

As we transition into autumn, the window is narrowing for the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation, and Attractions to implement a renewed prescribed burning program. While opinions may vary on the efficacy of government-prescribed burning, one undeniable reality emerges: it is gradually pushing many of our unique plant and animal species towards extinction.

This process unfolds heedlessly and without repercussion, as witnessed in October and November when Commonwealth-protected Epodisma peatlands were allegedly incinerated in two of our forest blocks. In our increasingly arid climate, peatlands become exceedingly vulnerable and are devastated when subjected to incendiary bombardments from aircraft.

The Department’s apparent disregard for the millennia-old peatlands, along with the rich biodiversity they sustain, is disconcerting. There is a conspicuous absence of shame, remorse, or willingness to alter course.

Today, our concerns extend to the venerable tingle trees, now under the scrutiny of the Department for Biodiversity, Conservation, and Attractions. These iconic trees, exclusive to the Walpole Wilderness, serve as vital habitats for endangered black cockatoos and numerous other native species.

Of particular worry is the fate of the Frankland 099 forest block, nestled across the Frankland River in Nornalup, harboring some of the last unscathed tingle trees. These majestic giants are profoundly susceptible to fire damage, with repeated burns leading to irreparable scarring and eventual demise.

Are we content to stand idly by as our cherished environment inches towards oblivion? Will the forests of the Southwest suffer the same tragic fate as the thylacine?

As long as the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation, and Attractions operates with the tacit approval of the WA Labor government, the onslaught on our environment will persist. It falls upon us to unite in defense of those unable to defend themselves.

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