The WA Government has moved to protect the state's native forests from 2024.

The state is investing $350 million to expand its softwood timber plantations, which the government says will create and support sustainable jobs.

The decision to end logging of native forests in the upcoming Forest Management Plan 2024-33 should preserve at least an additional 400,000 hectares of karri, jarrah and wandoo forests.

This means nearly two million hectares of native forests will be protected, with about 9,000 hectares of high conservation-value karri to receive immediate protection. 

Other high value forest areas will be recommended for national park status. 

From 2024, timber taken from WA’s native forests will be limited to forest management activities that improve forest health and clearing for approved mining operations, such as Alcoa.

Also, the $350 million investment should provide at least an additional 33,000 hectares of softwood timber plantation. Up to 50 million pine trees will be planted, sequestering between 7.9 and 9.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.

A Native Forestry Transition Group will be established to assist in the development and implementation of the Plan, and will comprise local industry, union and government stakeholders.

“Work will now formally commence on the preparation of the next Forest Management Plan 2024-33, with extensive consultation with stakeholders,” the WA Government says.