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More native trees to go
The West Australian

Logging quotas for some of the South West's big native trees will be lifted by up to a third under a long-term forestry blueprint that has been condemned by green groups.

Environment Minister Albert Jacob unveiled yesterday the new forest management plan, which will come into force on January 1 and run until 2023, claiming it struck the "right balance".

The plan will see benchmark logging quotas for jarrah, karri and marri either decreased or maintained compared with the existing 10-year framework.

But Mr Jacob also approved a recommendation by the environmental watchdog to have so-called upper limits for key tree species.

Under these, timber companies will be able to take up to 37 per cent more than currently allowed every year provided they get the go-ahead from the environment minister.

While the forestry industry criticised the plan for adding unnecessary layers of bureaucracy, conservationists denounced it as an act of environmental vandalism.

The WA Forest Alliance said it defied belief the State Government would endorse increased logging activity at the same time as a drying climate was stunting tree growth.

WAFA spokeswoman Jess Beckerling also said releasing the plan on the day Nelson Mandela died was a ploy to avoid publicity.

"In this case, forests are being destroyed, iconic wildlife faces increasing risk of extinction," Ms Beckerling said.

Forest Industries Federation executive director Melissa Haslam said the plan would saddle loggers with extra red tape and could make life harder for some businesses.