Illegal removal of dead wood from roadsides and stockpiles

Parkes Shire Council reminds residents that collecting fallen timber and harvesting timber on all public land, including roadsides, is an offense under the Local Government Act 1993 and punishable by law. a fine of up to $2,200.

The council’s environment and sustainability co-ordinator, Michael Chambers, said: “As temperatures begin to drop and residents search for sources of heating, the council is calling on residents to help conserve biodiversity, by leaving dead wood along the roads and in situ reserves.

Each year, a small number of residents collect dead wood to use as a low-cost source of heating. Although this activity may seem harmless, standing dead trees and woody debris are vital components of healthy ecosystems.

“Unfortunately, some community members believe that dead trees are an indication of poor ecosystem health. Others mistakenly believe they are performing a public service by removing decaying wood from a site. In fact, deadwood is vital for maintaining forest productivity, stabilizing ecosystems, storing carbon, and providing food and habitat for countless species,” Chambers said.

The removal of dead wood has been recognized as a key driver of biodiversity loss in Australia. Standing dead trees contain tree cavities that provide nesting opportunities for insects, birds, reptiles and mammals. The removal of standing dead trees can be detrimental as it leads to habitat loss, increased predation by cats and foxes, ecosystem disruption and soil erosion.

Similarly, fallen coarse woody debris is an important resource for many organisms and ecosystem processes. Decaying wood can harbor a rich community of decomposers, such as bacteria, fungi and other detritivores, and is essential for maintaining nutrient cycles in forests and woodlands. Loss of woody debris can alter soil microclimate and indirectly impact forest food webs.

“By stripping an ecosystem of this natural resource, locals are doing an unnatural and unnecessary action that is undermining biodiversity across the County,” Chambers added.

The forests and woodlands of the western slopes and plateaus have been most affected by firewood collection as they contain popular firewood species. This region of Australia has been largely cleared for agricultural purposes, and the remaining forests and woodlands are further degraded by the removal of dead wood.

It is feared that this illegal activity could negatively impact several species found in Parkes County, including the swift parrot, superb parrot, glider squirrel, crimson rosella, rainbow lorikeet and kingfisher. sacred fisherman.

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