Jess Beckerling, convenor of the WA Forest Alliance, wants an end to native forest logging.
A sell out crowd of over 1000 gathered at the Manjimup Heritage Park on Saturday for a concert by renowned West Australian musician John Butler and a showing of Jane Hammond’s award-winning documentary Cry of the Forests.
The film makes a powerful case that native forest logging in the southwest loses money, damages profitable eco-tourism, honey-making and agricultural industries while adding to climate change and destroying habitat for native species.
One use for native forest timbers is as a feedstock for Simcoa’s silicon smelter, where jarrah logs are chipped and turned into charcoal.
Jess Beckerling, convenor of the WA Forest Alliance, told the Bridgetown Star that silicone was made all over the world and that there was no need to use jarrah in the process which could easily be replaced by plantation timbers.
Firewood is also another product of the native forest logging industry, but Ms Beckerling said that burning jarrah made no sense.
She said reverse cycle air conditioning using solar power is a more sustainable form of heating, there was a lot of windfall timber available for burning, and that burning bluegum timber from plantations was also a viable alternative.
Ms Beckerling said that she’d experienced no hostility to the Forest Alliance’s Forests for Life campaign from Manjimup people.
The campaign was based in the southwest and was a solutions-driven initiative that was non-combative and emphasised supporting workers in the industry.
“We want to see transition done well,” she said.
Forests for Life’s alternative to native forest logging centres on farm forestry, plantation timber and salvaging native timber for fine woodcrafts.
The campaign claims that “the local communities, wildlife, timber industry, tourism, honey production, water quality, climate, cultural and recreational pursuits, to name but a few: all stand to benefit from this plan because all rely on the forests for their health and survival.”
The film points out that by 1990 90% of Western Australia’s forests had been cleared and that half the remainder is now under threat of being cleared.