$9m salt fighters

A $9 million tree planting program in WA is underway to combat salinity and other environmental issues such as the greenhouse effect.

The expansion project at the Department of Conservation and Land Management’s tree nursery at Manjimup will enable 41.5 million trees to be planted this year on cleared farmland.

Officially opening the Windy Hill complex at the nursery, Premier Richard Court said this was the equivalent of planting more than one tree every second throughout the year.

As a result of the expansion, total capacity at the nursery is now 45 million seedlings.

The main species for planting this year are blue gums, maritime pines, radiata pine, oil mallees, karri and other native species.

Currently, 10 per cent of WA’s agricultural lands are salt-affected and the forecast is for this to treble over the next thirty years.

The cost of not dealing with salinity could include up to $70 million in lost agricultural earnings each year.

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