image

Tasmania’s grassroots environment groups have taken peaceful action today to highlight the ongoing loss of forests that should have been protected, after the drawn out Inter-governmental Agreement continues to fail the wild forests.

In two locations, in the north and south of Tasmania, Huon Valley Environment Centre and Code Green members have entered logging areas, where high conservation values are being lost.

In Tasmania’s north, members of Code Green, have conducted a peaceful protest in forest that is being logged, called coupe RS117C, on Roses Tier, North of Ben Lomond.

“This is an area that should have been given immediate protection on March 15 this year. Instead we are still seeing machines clearing what has been identified by both the State and Federal Governments as being of high conservation value.” Said Jared Irwin, spokesperson for Code Green.

“This coupe is within the 430,000ha highlighted for immediate protection in the Intergovernmental Agreement of August 7, 2011 signed by the Federal and State governments.” Said Jared Irwin, spokesperson for Code Green. “This area should have been given immediate protection on March 15 this year. Instead we are still seeing machines clearing what has been identified as being of high conservation value.”

“Code Green are extremely disappointed to see these areas still under threat despite numerous promises of protection.” Jared Irwin said.

In Tasmania’s south, members of Huon Valley Environment Centre, are also conducting a peaceful protest in the Catamaran area, where forests are being logged behind Recherche Bay.

“The lost values of these forests that are bordering the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area is such a tragedy, when the logging commenced after the State and Federal Governments announced they would be protected in August 2011,” Said Jenny Weber, Huon Valley Environment Centre’s spokesperson.

“Logging in these far south wilderness forests is a 60 hectare clearfelling operation. Forestry Tasmania continues to log the nominated high conservation value forests,”

“Forestry Tasmania is devastating these proposed National Park forests.  Failing to reschedule out of the 430 000ha means Tasmania is losing world heritage value, old growth and endangered species habitat ,” Jenny Weber said.

image

image

image

• MINISTER DODGES QUESTIONS COVERING FOR FORESTRY TASMANIA

Kim Booth MP
Greens Spokesperson for Forests

The Tasmanian Greens today accused the Minister for Forests Bryan Green MP of dodging questions on whether Forestry Tasmania has entered into any new wood supply contracts since the implementation of the moratorium on logging high conservation value forests.

Greens Forestry spokesperson Kim Booth MP said that in Parliament today the Minister would only say that Forestry Tasmania had renewed contracts with sawmills, but did not clarify whether the duration and/or volume of those contracts had been changed.

“I have asked Minister Green on numerous occasions to provide details of any contracts Forestry Tasmania has signed for logging or roading in high conservation value forests placed under a moratorium by the Forest Principles process,” Mr Booth said.

“Judging by the Minister’s refusal to answer my clear and direct question it would appear he is trying to cover for Forestry Tasmania’s refusal to comply with the IGA.”

“The Minister must clarify whether Forestry Tasmania is deliberately undermining the Tasmanian Forests Intergovernmental Agreement and all the hard work that has gone into it.”

“Forestry Tasmania is stuck in the past and continues to want to wage war over the Tasmanian forests by targeting areas of High Conservation Value forests.”

“The Minister for Forests must once and for all clarify what he knows about any contracts that have been signed or renewed since the moratorium was put in place.”

“I will be writing to the Minister for a full and detailed response to the question that I asked in Parliament today and I would urge him to encourage Forestry Tasmania to keep up with the expectations of Tasmanians and play their part in the implementation of the IGA.”

• Bill Brown, ABC Online interviews Dr Judith Ajani: Native forests: for biodiversity or bioenergy?

Dr Judith Ajani, author of Forest Wars, recently presented research outcomes that challenge the forest industry case to use native forests for energy production. Based upon a study of a one hectare sample of native forest, researchers studied carbon releases over a 100 year cycle. They also calculated that the contribution to Australia’s energy needs would be insignificant even if the entire forest resource was put towards bioenergy.

In an interview with the ABC’s Tim Holt, Dr Ajani said it is a critical time for Australian forestry and for government policy on how we use our native forests into the future.

“It boils down to whether we use native forests for biodiversity or for bioenergy,” she says.

“We went through the core arguments presented by scientists and industry and brought the two arguments together.”

The study looked at a forest stand being logged today on a rotation of 100 years and what happens with the carbon stocks in those native forests.

“Of course it takes 100 years for those carbon stocks to be returned to the forests’” says Dr Ajani.

“But most crucially the biggest emission time is over the next 30 to 40 years when we are basically shifting stocks out of forests and into the atmosphere.

“And that next 30 to 40 years is the most crucial time for getting control of the climate change problem.

“So if we go down the path of putting resources from native forests into the bioenergy market we will have some very big negatives from the climate change perspective.

“It might be carbon neutral at the end of many decades but it is not carbon neutral for up to 50 years.”

The study calculated that if the entire 2009 native forest log cut was used it for bioenergy and substituted it for coal based electricity production then it would displace only 2.8% of coal based electricity production.

“These sorts of figures which are showing that logging native forests for bioenergy is not going to have any significant effect on our energy supply I hope will encourage government to re-look at how we actually use native forests in Australia,” she says.

“The government need to look at bringing the native forest carbon stocks into the carbon cycle particularly as we have huge volumes of plantation resources.

With hardwood plantation resource now outstripping our native forest chip exports the real question is what does Australia do with its native forests.”

See the related link for Tim Holt’s full audio interview with Dr Judith Ajani.

ABC Online HERE

• Download, A regulators view on peace talks:
Wilkinson_2011_FPN_Regulators_view_on_peace_talks.pdf

Bubble bursts for log exports, HERE

• RENEWED WOOD SUPPLY CONTRACT DETAILS NEEDED

Kim Booth MP
Greens Spokesperson for Forests

The Tasmanian Greens today continued to seek clarification from Minister of Forestry Bryan Green MP regarding the Forestry Tasmania renewed wood supply contracts and their potential impacts upon the 572 000 hectares of identified high conservation value forests that have been placed in moratorium since March 2011.

Greens Forestry spokesperson Kim Booth MP said it is crucial to know whether the renewed contracts that Forestry Tasmania has entered into have changed in either duration or volume. 

Mr Booth also said that the renewed contracts must be provided to the independent Reschedulers and Verification Process being undertaken by Professor Jonathon West.

“These details surrounding the renewed wood supply contracts may confirm whether Forestry Tasmania is deliberately undermining the Tasmanian Forests Intergovernmental Agreement and its conservation goals,” Mr Booth said.

“Should the volume amount have increased from the allocation prior to the renewal, then the Greens would consider this to be a clear demonstration of bad faith and non-compliance with the IGA by Forestry Tasmania.”

“Similarly, it is our understanding that previously these contracts were for five to seven years, so if they have suddenly blown out, that will also be a clear indication of intent to undermine the IGA.”

“Forestry Tasmania is stuck in the past and continues to want to wage war over the Tasmanian forests by targeting areas of High Conservation Value forests.”

“All Tasmanians deserve to know the details of any wood supply contracts signed or renewed since the moratorium was put in place, and the IGA was signed.”

“On behalf of the Greens, I have written to the Minister for a full and detailed response regarding volume and time frames.  I also urge him to encourage Forestry Tasmania to meet the expectations of Tasmanians and play a genuine role in the implementation of the IGA, and work to deliver both the industry restructure and its conservation goals.”