Forest plantations destroyed by the Waroona bushfire in January 2016 have been given a new lease of life with the planting of one million seedlings well underway by the Forest Products Commission.
Forestry Minister Mia Davies, who visited replanting operations in McLarty block today, said the Liberal National Government had committed $6.7 million to replant 2,200 hectares of damaged softwood. About 2,800ha of pine plantations in State forest were affected in the bushfires.
"The commission is on track to replant 864ha of State-owned plantations this year at a cost of $2.3 million, with 1,626ha to be planted next winter," Ms Davies said.
"Replanting this valuable resource will support the sustainability of the softwood industry into the future."
Salvage operations to recover saleable timber from the damaged plantations have been progressing since February.
"Trees in the damaged plantations ranged in age from three to 40 years. Close to 1,000ha has so far been salvaged - the equivalent of 140,000 tonnes of resource," the Minister said.
"Logs and timber salvaged from these plantations have been sold to existing domestic markets to be used for local housing and construction. The commission has also identified new export markets that have used young and below commercial-grade trees for power generation."
Staff at the commission's nursery in Manjimup have been preparing 3.5 million healthy pine seedlings for planting across the State.
Ms Davies said the State Government was committed to growing Western Australia's softwood industry, which would boost and support regional development.
"The timber from these plantations will be processed locally to provide a reliable supply for the Western Australian building and construction industries," she said.
The softwood plantation sector in WA contributes more than $1 billion each year to forest industry turnover and employs more than 700 people
The Forest Products Commission is a statutory authority of WA responsible for the sustainable management and development of the timber industry. It was established under the Forest Products Act 2000
Minister's office - 6552 5500