Calls to give forest national park status

Chloe FraserBusselton Dunsborough Times

Conservation groups are calling for the Barrabup forest to be declared a national park after the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions earlier this month released its assessment report confirming old-growth forest within the area.

The DBCA’s recent report into old growth in the forest found about 43ha of previously unmapped jarrah old-growth forest within the 530ha coupe and 1.2ha of old-growth forest which was affected by roadworks in the area.

However, Barrabup Conservation Group spokeswoman Ellie McKie said the group had serious concerns about the Government’s management of native forests and was calling for the forest to be made a national park.

“We are quite infuriated by the whole thing,” she told the Times.

“If the Government was serious about saving old-growth and high-conservation forests, a good start would be to reclassify Barrabup as high-conservation.

“The whole area is a hotspot for wildflowers and priority plants, not to mention its Aboriginal heritage.”

Mrs McKie said the forest was a natural asset on the gateway of Nannup and declaring it a national park would ensure its conservation while drawing more visitors to the area.

“If the Government did this they would be honouring its promises to protect our unique environment while investing in tourism within the South West,” she said.

However, the DBCA dodged questions about the future of the forest and showed no commitment to the conservation group’s propo-sal.

A DBCA spokeswoman said the Government protected biodiversity through management strategies at whole-of-forest, landscape and local level through the Forest Management Plan 2014-2023.

She said the Barrabup forest block was State forest, which meant it remained open to activities including recreation, beekeeping and timber harvesting.

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