Pine plantations won’t save Carnaby’s

If the McGowan Government does not act the Carnaby’s black cockatoo is likely to be short of food by 2025, says BirdLife Australia. Picture: Anita McInnes

JUST reducing clearing in the Yanchep, Gnangara and Pinjar pine plantations for 12 months won’t save the endangered Carnaby’s black cockatoo from extinction, according to BirdLife Australia.

In a statement the organisation said by 2016 clearance of habitat suitable for the Carnaby’s black cockatoo accelerated to 1400ha a year and that now more than 70 per cent of the banksia woodlands the bird called home had been cleared.

The clearing of habitat had forced the cockatoos to become increasingly reliant on the pine plantations north of Perth to survive. “Yet these plantations are being cleared too and not replaced with suitable food for the birds,’’ the statement said.

On April 15 Yanchep news Online reported the government would reduce harvesting in the pine plantations from a projected 2200ha to 500ha until June 30, 2019.

Forestry Minister Dave Kelly and Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said the May Budget would include $2.5 million to enable pine to be sourced from other locations to meet supply agreements with the timber industry.

Mr Kelly said the state government was committed to balancing the preservation of the environment and a strong sustainable forestry industry.

“This new funding will ensure the state government meets supply agreements with the timber industry, while reducing the impact on the Swan Coastal Plain population of Carnaby’s cockatoo,’’ he said.

Mr Dawson said the state government was serious about the conservation and recovery of Carnaby’s cockatoo.

BirdLife Australia volunteer Aidon Thomas said the state government’s plan was not good enough and food and roost habitat for the Carnaby’s black cockatoo should be better secured.

“We need a long-term plan, planting of additional food trees, and stronger environment laws,’’ he said.

“If the state government won’t provide this, current projections predict there will be food shortages for the species by 2025, which will put them on a sure path to extinction.’’

BirdLife Australia said the Perth population of Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoos had declined by 5 per cent to 11 per cent each year for the past eight years.

Excessive clearing of the foraging and roosting habitat on the Swan Coastal Plain had been allowed by existing environmental laws supposed to protect declining species, which had caused the progressive decline.

BirdLife Australia said the clearing should have triggered federal laws designed to protect the most threatened species but the commonwealth had taken no action.


Pine harvest slows to feed Carnaby’s