The Great Western Woodlands is the largest remaining intact temperate woodland on Earth. It is also home to around 40,000 people, has at least 350 mines, thousands of exploration tenements and is under increasing pressure from the mining boom and a growing tourism industry.
Managing this pressure together with conservation means considering a really wide range of stakeholders in any management plan.
The report produced by Ironbark Environmental to scope out a land use plan, is based on the views and preferences of those that have financial, environmental, social, or cultural interests in the land represented on the ‘Woodlands Initiative’ community group.
This group was convened for broad community involvement in determining the future of the Great Western Woodlands and is independent of the ministerially appointed stakeholder reference group. The Wilderness Society is a member of this community group representing the interests of conservation.
The Woodlands Initiative has advantages over the ministerially appointed stakeholder reference group in that it is not constrained by a timeline or a strict budget, and can remain politically neutral. This allows them to focus on the long term management needed to keep the Woodlands healthy.
The independent assessment by Ironbark found moderate to high level stakeholder support for the adoption of a landuse plan over the Great Western Woodlands. They found that a plan would:
- Provide an overarching management structure
- Enable greater support for collaborative initiatives involving a diversity of stakeholders
- Provide all stakeholders with the confidence of participating in a process that recognises a broad range of values and uses
The report recommends a three phased approach to any development of a land use plan and provides recommended next steps for the group to consider.
Download the summary report here (pdf 2.1 mb).