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Remnant Jarrah Forest

Non Commercial Values:
Small natural jarrah forest remnants in both rural and urban situations cannot, obviously, become virgin forest again. Yet these places have significant values.

Human Development:
Our concepts of weight, strength, texture, colour, pattern and so on, are all developed through interaction with nature.
Small children playing in sand or testing strengths in breaking twigs or listening to birds, illustrate the way such things are learnt. No-one yet has been able to assess the effects of deprivation of contact with nature on human development. All children should have access to a patch, however small, of the natural world.

Many birds, plants, insects, reptiles, fungi and microscopic organisms can be found in jarrah remnants. Examples include Black Cockatoos where trees on small patches are allowed to grow old and develop hollows big enough for their nests. Other birds needing hollows for nests are the Boobook Owl, while Striated and Spotted Pardalotes need tiny holes. Indeed numerous birds, whose populations in the forest are dwindling, benefit from forest remnants that are protected for their natural values. Reptiles such as the Marbled Gecko, Legless Lizard, Dragon Lizard as well as some goannas and also frogs in wetter areas, all can be found in forest remnants.

Genetic Diversity:
Genes from microscopic organisms and rare plants are becoming increasingly valuable in agriculture, medicine and industry. South West Australia supports 1500 vascular plant species and maybe double that number of macro-fungi. All are in danger of being considerably reduced even before their existence is fully recorded. Some may well be found in patches of remnant forest.

The subtle beauty of the jarrah forest gives pleasure to many people, the more when it is readily available in nearby forest patches. Jarrah forest is noted for its subtle variations of light and shade, texture and form, with its startlingly vivid flashes of flower colour in spring.

Many ethical people believe that everything that exists in a living universe has an intrinsic right to live. Neither ecosystems, nor species should be exploited by humans in a way that threatens their continued existence. No extinctions should occur because of human activity.

Threats to Remnants of Jarrah Forest

Weeds, in this sense, are any plants that are not natural to the jarrah forest. Such plants as Blackberry, Bridal creeper, Watsonia and Cape Broom are not native. They become very invasive, frequently over-running shrubs and herbs and, in so doing, changing the nature of insect and small animal populations.

Feral Animals:
Feral animals, such as foxes, pigs and cats are a major problem and are often a threat to small native animals.

The less a remnant patch is dissected by roads, tracks, buildings or other man made structures the easier it is for the natural community of organisms to survive.

We must convince each generation that they are transient passengers on this Planet earth. It does not belong to them. They are not free to doom generations yet unborn. They are not at liberty to erase humanity's past nor dim its future.

Insect attack and Disease:
When the natural predators, such as birds or other insects, are destroyed or reduced in number, the area is likely to be over-run by destructive insects, such as the leaf eating insects that attack jarrah trees. Similarly, diseases such as dieback, which can have a very serious effect in jarrah forest, are thought to be introduced and spread by human induced disturbances.

Some species are so restricted in their distribution, that they only ever exist in one or a few very small parts of the forest. For example two species of frog were discovered recently, but occur naturally over a very small range. It may be that even small remnants are the only places where rare species, particularly of plants or invertebrates, survive.

How Jarrah Forest Remnants may continue to exist

Rehabilitation or restoration is the process of bringing a degraded area back as nearly as possible to its former natural state. It usually involves weed control, seed collection from remaining native plant and their re-establishment.

Wildlife Corridors:
Wildlife Corridors are for connecting areas of remnant forest to provide wider ranges and more protection for native plants and animals. They also help to arrest the inevitable decline of the gene pool in isolated areas.

Re-colonisation means re-introducing wildlife species back into their original habitat. For example, the Chuditch or Native Cat is the largest native carnivorous predator in WA. Once widespread, there are now fewer than 6,000 left in the wild, existing on about 5% of their former range. Each animal need a range of about 15 Km and hollow logs or rocky crevices for sleeping. Some forest areas could be re-colonised if wildlife corridors were established, foxes controlled and clearfelling for timber abolished.

Many other plants and animals could benefit similarly and some could be rescued from the possibility of extinction. There is much we could do to reverse the current decline in our jarrah forest remnants.

Quote and caption from Bernard Lown and Evjueni Chazov, in D. Suzuki and A McConnell, The Sacred Balance.

We live in an age of unprecedented uncertainty.

Life on earth is perilously poised

at the precipice of extinction.

Never before has man possessed the

destructive resources to commit global suicide.

from 'The Web of life' by Fritjof Capra

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