Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Green groups unite to challenge WA logging - Arcadia group maintain defiance

by Elliot K - Perth Indymedia 2006-11-08 11:32 AM +0800

Wednesday, November 8, 2006: The Arcadia Action Group, a forest rescue team set up in a logging coupe near Bunbury, are maintaining active vigilance this week. Meanwhile, local conservation groups unite to challenge the Forest Product Commission's (FPC) desire to turn critical Jarrah forests into plantations...

The Arcadia Action Group (AAG) is claiming success, after disrupting FPC logging operations for yet another day in the Arcadia forest between Collie and Bunbury - now in its second week.

Four more people were arrested on Monday, when two women locked onto various metal devices (dragons*) in the logging coupe, with two men locking themselves onto logging machinery. It took several hours for police to unlock one of the women.

The FPC and its logging contractors are using chainsaws and axes to cut down selected trees in the forest. The AAG say the operation is destroying the area and have been chaining themselves to objects in the forest to get in the way of the loggers. Access roads have been carved into the habitat - home to a small colony of northern jarrah Quokkas.

The quokka, a small, furry wallaby-like mammal, is endemic to the region where it has been declining in numbers since the white invasion of Australia

CALM and other government and independent research has shown that the Western Australian "Quokka Setonix brachyurus" is declining due to habitat-loss and feral animal predation as a direct result of continuous logging. On the mainland, quokkas are timid animals living in communal groups in dense thickets, often associated with riparian systems, although the animals forage over a wide range.

Few Western Australians know that quokkas live outside Wadjemup (Rottnest Island). But local knowledge reports that these animals were very common until the 1930s and would raid settler's gardens. Now quokkas are limited to a few isolated groups.

The quokka is listed as "vulnerable" according to World Conservation Union criteria. The northern, jarrah population of quokkas has declined to the point where extinction may be inevitable. Environmentalists say the history of CALM, Forest Products Commission (FPC), logging companies and quokkas is tragic.

Other research indicates that the CALM (now Dept Environment and Conservation - DEC) fire regime in the jarrah forest is also a contributory factor in the decline towards extinction of the mainland quokkas.

(In March 2003, members of the Northcliffe Environment Centre gathered at first light in Nairn State Forest to peacefully object to the wilful destruction of the quokka habitat. Seven were arrested and charged. NEC have reported sighting of quokkas in the area in November 2005.)

At the Arcadia blockade on Monday this week, two men and two women were arrested for locking themselves on to trees and machinery - it took police several hours to cut them free. The commission says its logging operation is on track, but the protesters have promised to continue their campaign. Over a dozen people have been arrested at the site for disrupting logging operations.

Spokesperson for the AAG, Brian Green said, "We are here on behalf of all Australians - who are concerned that the logging of native forest is contributing to Global Warming, including the extinction of a rare mainland quokka colony."

The group say further arrests are expected this week as more protesters converge on the coupe to lend support.

Meanwhile, conservation groups from around the south-west have united in an effort to dismantle the State Government's forest management polices.

In a media release this week the Preston Environment Group say the FPC was supposedly set up to log and manage the state's forests and to create new industries for timber products. But Mark Shean from the Northcliffe Environment Centre says the commission's work is turning many established forests into plantations.

Several peak South West conservation groups have formed an alliance, calling for an end to all logging in native forest. The groups met in Balingup on Sunday to form the Global Warming Forest Action Group.

More groups and individuals are expected to unite in support over the coming weeks.

Mark Shean says conservation groups from around the region have formed the Global Warming Forest Action Group to push for the dismantling of the FPC and to promote the stronger protection for the state's forests.

"What we want to do is get any political party that's sympathetic to our view to come on side and if they won't support us then we plan to run candidates against those sitting members and try and force their hand that way," he said.

The blocakde of Arcadia forest continues...


For more information:
Preston Environment Group: 97 321270 or 043 997 6507
Arcadia Action Group - Brian Green: 042 868 5562
Global Warming Forest Action - Mark Sheen: 042 755 8617

ABC News

Arcadia Action Website

Quokka Protest in Nairn State Forest - 2003



Perth Indy: Arcadia Forest Defence - Update: Seven arrested protecting the jarrah ecosystem

Wadjemup (Rottnest Island)

Adaptive fire management interim guidelines for Forest Populations aof Quokka

Unique and threatened biodiversity in SW WA

Quokka: Department of Conservation and Land Management


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