Drying and dying: South West Australia forests face potential ‘collapse’

By Peter Milne
Sydney Morning Herald
April 23, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Perth’s gardens have been kept alive with desalinated water over the driest six months in the city’s history, but beyond the reach of sprinklers native vegetation from Kalbarri to Albany is dying from a summer without end. Jess Boyce, acting director of the WA Forest Alliance, declared it a climate and ecological emergency. “Large areas of drying and dying vegetation are being seen all around south-west WA, their root systems are running out of water,” she said. In 2011, the Northern Jarrah Forest that stretches from inland of Perth to Collie suffered a forest collapse – believed to be the first such event in the world – but in 2024, the damage is more widespread. Climate scientist Bill Hare said this damage was driven by global warming from the burning of fossil fuels. “This is not the new normal, it is the beginning of what looks like a very, very worrying period of decades ahead,” Hare said.

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