Jarrahdale Forest Protectors – Mundlimup

Jarrahdale’s history: first mill town in the metropolitan area, significant exporter, massive timber concession, almost total removal of millable jarrah, now on third logging, but trees available and being taken are much smaller.  The main mill closed 1997 after a massive build-up of timber, 44 people displaced – no reaction from unions etc! Very self-contained town.

Alcoa started its bauxite mining there – 1960/70s – with crushing plant, seen as good employment. Finished with plant in 1997 and left town. The town is now rebuilding itself as a recreational hub for tourism as local and Perth population expands. Strong community developing. Heritage status established.

Mundlimup – 4 coupes, proposed logging of coupe 3 (740ha) on edge of town in Indicative Harvest Plan – 2009. Last logged 80 years ago. Part mined by Alcoa who agreed not to come any closer to the town. Strong community opposition: Jarrahdale Forest Protectors Inc. formed, a petition to the Shire, a petition to Parliament, MPs helpful, Allison Xamon asked many questions, also Alannah MacTiernan (local MP at time), these provided good information – and stated in Parliament that FPC ran at a loss. Many meetings with forest manager of Environment Department, with Conservation Commission staff, with FPC, a site visit by full EPA.

Many tours organised “Delights and Devastation”; support by WAFA and forest protestors (Forest Rescue) who set up local camp. JFP trained in passive resistance etc.  Many flaws revealed in CALM/ FPC process – JFP found measurement plots that had fallen off CALM records – hadn’t been measured in 50 – 60 years. Alcoa’s logging (much greater than FPC’s) not accounted for anywhere! FPC first agreed to reduce area then proposal to log was withdrawn.

In 2013 smallest coupe (100ha) furthest from town appeared in Indicative Harvest Plan. Locals who knew forest well estimated relatively little good timber available in coupe. JFP (now much smaller) and neighbours liaising with FPC pointed this out (and corrected maps). No sign of logging for next 3 years – then marking began in 2017. We could still not see how it would pay to bring contractors up for such a small take! No longer in position to mount a decent protest so logging happened.

Contractors were used and the result a disgrace. Local office agreed as did FPC’s Community Consultation Officer. Many large cleared areas left – with no seed trees – absolute mess. But it is the harvest figures that are also really disturbing:

Note there is a much higher volume of green firewood than bole sawlogs

Log yields out of Mundlimup harvest coupe.

Deliveries between end of November 2016 and early March 2017

Product Type Amount (Tonnes) Vol Equivalent (cu M) Number of Customers
Large Bole Sawlog (J) 1387 1060 5  (2 x Dwp; 1x Jdale ; 1 x Buss; 1 x Albany)
Small Bole Sawlog (J) 249 190 3
Fresh Green Firewood (J) 2508 1915 3  (98% vol to sites Dwp – Jdale)
Dry (Dead) Firewood (J) 244 2
Dry Charcoal log (J) 42 1 – Simcoa
Sawlog for auction – FPC (sheoak) 47
Total 4477

Just over 1000 T of large and small bole sawlog went to Jarrahwood Aust

The large and small bole sawlog volume comprises 90% (ie .9) 1st, 2nd grade sawlog equivalent – relevant to FMP and harvest plan estimate figures for sawlogs

Coupe net harvest area was 139 ha of which about 50% was dieback affected

There was no recovery of bole residue log from this operation; some other jarrah operations do have this alternative market for small logs from time to time, which supports more complete utilization of small or outside of specification (for other products) logs

Update 2018:

Firewood collectors have been into the coupe and removed a lot of the heaped piles of discarded timber, probably without licence.  The vegetation has started to regrow but damage to the forest is still very noticeable.

Alcoa are doing some exploratory drilling, dieback interpretation being conducted.  Alcoa have advised that if core samples prove to be productive they may begin operations in 2024 (Myara North)