As winter sets in residents need to remember that the collection of wood on all public land, including roadsides, is an offence under the Local Government Act 1993 and carries a fine of up to $2,200.
“As temperatures begin to drop, Council is calling on residents to help conserve biodiversity, by leaving deadwood along roadsides and reserves in situ,” said Parkes Shire Council’s Environment and Sustainability Coordinator, Michael Chambers.
Each year, a small number of residents collect deadwood for use as a low-cost source of heating. While this activity may seem harmless, standing dead trees and woody debris are vital components of healthy ecosystems.
Michael said dead trees were not an indication of poor ecosystem health. “In fact, deadwood is vital for sustaining forest productivity, stabilising ecosystems, storing carbon and providing food and habitat for countless species.”
The removal of deadwood has been recognised as a key factor driving Australia’s biodiversity loss. Standing dead trees contain tree hollows that provide nesting opportunities for insects, birds, reptiles, and mammals.
Similarly, woody debris is an important resource for many organisms and ecosystem processes.
The forests and woodlands of the Western Slopes and Tablelands contain popular firewood species and have been most affected by firewood collection. This has adversely impacted several species including the Swift Parrot, Superb Parrot, Squirrel Glider, Crimson Rosella, Rainbow Lorikeet and Sacred Kingfisher.