Australasia's home for timber news and information

More natives so don’t pine for 500 trees

More than 500 pine trees, which formed an unusual urban forest in the corner of a Caringbah industrial site, were cut down this week. Source: St George and Sutherland Shire Leader

The Cawarra Road property, which was originally occupied by pharmaceutical company Parke Davis (later Pfizer), is being converted into a 40-lot industrial subdivision.

Sutherland Shire Council, which approved the removal of the radiata pines, said they were an imported species, with low ecological value.

They would be replaced with 600 native trees and the developer would pay for a further 600 trees to be planted in surrounding streets and along the Kingsway.

Peter Thorburn, who operates a customs and forwarding business from an elevated factory unit in adjoining Meta Street, said the trees were more than 30 metres tall.

Thorburn, whose father Ray was a former Sutherland Shire Council president and federal MP, said past councils would have done everything possible to preserve the green space.

He said the council’s environmental report was inconclusive about the reason the pines were planted when Parke Davis, an American firm, moved to the site in 1954.

Tree lopping contractor Russell Norton said radiata pines featured in huge commercial plantations throughout Australia.

‘‘They are an imported species from the Monterey Peninsula in California,’’ he said.
‘‘‘It would be different if they were 200-year-old Moreton Bay Figs.

‘‘The logs are going to the sawmill, where they will become timber for house frames, and the rest will be chipped and re-used.’’

The pine trees being removed are not an indigenous species and have low ecological or habitat value. The replacement trees on and off the site will be local indigenous trees and will deliver a better long-term outcome for the local environment.