Crackdown on tree felling in Augusta Margaret River

Evidence of illegal tree clearing discovered by Shire Rangers near Rosa Glen. Shire CEO Stephanie Addison-Brown said they would prosecute anyone taking wood from Shire reserves. Photo: AMRS
Evidence of illegal tree clearing discovered by Shire Rangers near Rosa Glen. Shire CEO Stephanie Addison-Brown said they would prosecute anyone taking wood from Shire reserves. Photo: AMRS

Shire of Augusta Margaret River Rangers have referred evidence of illegal tree clearing and taking of firewood following two recent incidents in the region.

The most recent incident occurred on a Crown Reserve near Rosa Glen with the perpetrator caught in the act removing a large Jarrah tree.

Prior to this, the Shire said several Marri and Jarrah trees were cleared near Elizabeth Street in Margaret River.

Shire Chief Executive Officer Stephanie Addison Brown said it was illegal to take firewood from Shire reserves, Crown land, and National Parks.

"The Shire takes the clearing of native vegetation seriously," she said.

"We will prosecute anyone taking wood from Shire reserves and will refer evidence of clearing on Crown land to the relevant State agency.

"Firewood can only be taken without a permit for personal use in Firewood Collection Areas designated by the Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Attractions.

"These areas are shown on the DBCA website, and I urge anyone collecting firewood to carefully check maps before heading out."

The maximum penalty for clearing without a permit is $250,000.

Shire Coordinator Environment and Landcare John McKinney said there were limits to how much firewood can be removed within Firewood Collection Areas and when this can occur.

"Between 1 June to 30 September, a maximum of one tonne may be removed every 60 days.

Between 1 October to 31 May, a maximum of one tonne can only be removed on any one occasion.

As a guide, half a tonne equates to approximately a 6 x 4 trailer loaded 30cm deep," he said.

"When taking firewood from Firewood Collection Areas please only take fallen timber. Standing trees, even dead ones can provide valuable habitat.

"You cannot cut down any standing tree, either dead or alive, or cut or break off any part of a living tree for firewood."

Information about collecting firewood for personal use and a list of Firewood Collection Areas in the South West is available at www.dpaw.wa.gov.au

When taking firewood from Firewood Collection Areas please only take fallen timber. Standing trees, even dead ones can provide valuable habitat.

John McKinney, AMR Shire