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FPC preserves 9 hectares at Warrup

The Forest Products Commission (FPC) has received mixed reactions from conservation groups after agreeing to preserve nine hectares of forest along the historic tramway in Warrup forest Western Australia. Source: Donnybrook-Bridgetown Mail

The FPC agreed to protect sections of Warrup forest alongside either side of the tramway, which is a win for the Bridgetown-Greenbushes Friends of the Forest (BGFF), though it would have wanted a more extensive buffer.

Forest Rescue Australia (FRA) and the Conservation Council of WA (CCWA) said they wanted to see habitats and ecosystems protected.

BGFF spokespeople said it was about as much as could have been hoped for from the FPC short of leaving it completely alone but it was an acceptable compromise.

An FPC spokeswoman said the FPC and BGFF, through the Bridgetown Shire, have been in consultation over BGFF’s desire to secure an extended zone of free from harvesting operations in the immediate vicinity of the old tramway formation.

According to the BGFF, the FPC has agreed to minimise both the number and size of landing areas where logs were stockpiled near the tramway.

FPC South West native forests manager Chaz Newman said in fact most of the tramway ran through old growth forest and therefore was protected.

He confirmed the FPC would protect the tramway as part of European cultural heritage, as part of a plan to be approved by the Heritage Council.

The BGFF requested the FPC consider applying visual land management (VLM) principles along Edwards Road and also to exclude an area of forest planned for harvesting immediately adjacent to the 450-metre section of tramway.

“I agreed to the request to apply a higher level of VLM zoning than would otherwise apply and we redesigned where the harvesting would occur just east of Edwards Road to exclude an area that totals nine hectares,” Mr Newman said.

“The FPC has also agreed to apply a VLM tree marking prescription along Edwards Road to soften the short term visual impact.

“FPC confirmed with the Bridgetown Shire and the BGFF that the FPC has no capacity to agree to formal recognition or the development of walk trails in state forest as this responsibility rests with the DEC (Department of Environment and Conservation),” he said.