WWF-Australia and BirdLife Australia have called for Federal Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg to immediately intervene over the continuing loss of food trees for endangered Carnaby’s black cockatoos in the Yanchep and Pinjar pine plantations.
Back in 2014 the Department of Parks and Wildlife said the Gnangara pine plantation sustained up to 10 per cent of the Carnaby’s black cockatoo population during the non-breeding season.
A department spokeswoman said the State Government was aware of the importance of pine trees as a food source for Carnaby’s black cockatoos in the non-breeding season and the impact of the removal of the Gnangara, Pinjar and Yanchep pine plantations on Carnaby’s cockatoos was being included as part of the Strategic Assessment of the Perth and Peel Regions being conducted under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.
But on Friday, February 24 both WWF-Australia and BirdLife Australia said they hold deep concerns over elements of WA’s Perth & Peel Green Growth Plan.
They said under the plan the State Government wanted to clear the remaining pine trees and replant less than a third of the 23,000ha felled since 2002.
Also of concern to them was that any replanted pines would take a decade to become a productive food source.
The plan also allowed for 9700ha banksia woodland habitat to be cleared – removing yet another food source.
WWF-Australia said Mr Frydenberg should use his ‘call in’ powers under the Environment Protection Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 to stop the Western Australian Government harvesting the area’s pine plantations.
WWF’s southwest Australia species conservation manager Merril Halley said it was an unusual situation to save native birds non-native trees had to be saved at least in the short term.
“When much of their natural habitat was cleared, Carnaby’s black cockatoos began feeding on non-native pine plantations in the 1940s,’’ she said.
“The birds tear open the pine cones to eat the seeds inside, and also roost among the pines.
“For decades these plantations provided about 57 per cent of the total food resource available to Carnaby’s black cockatoos on the Perth-Peel coastal plain.
“But since 2004 replanting of pines has ceased (except for 2000ha), and of the original 23,000ha plantations only about 8500ha remain.’’
WWF-Australia released satellite imagery to show how the pines have been harvested without replacement.
“The clearing has coincided with a dramatic drop in bird numbers. “BirdLife Australia’s Great Cocky Count documents a 53 per cent decline of the Perth-Peel Carnaby’s cockatoo population since 2010.
“The continuing harvest of the pines must be stopped until there is agreement on how to properly address habitat loss for Carnaby’s cockatoos.’’
In Yanchep Carnaby’s Budget win May 16, 2026 Treasurer Mike Nahan said $1.5 million allocated in the 2016-17 Budget to the Forest Products Commission was for the replanting of an extra 500ha of pine trees as foraging habitat for the threatened Carnaby’s black cockatoo in the Yanchep area.
Dr Nahan said the extra 500ha was in addition to the 1500ha, which had already been replanted.