Logging in Tasmania's 430,000 ha. of forest reserves continues despite decreased demand following retirement of Gunns' native forest timber quotas, say environmental groups

HOBART, Australia , September 20, 2011 (press release) – Environment Tasmania, the Wilderness Society and the Australian Conservation Foundation have released a report analysing the status of logging in important native forests and new photographs that show new logging activity in forest reserves prescribed by the Tasmanian Forests Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA).

“The settlement and retirement of Gunns’ native forest timber quotas has halved the demand for native forest timber from Forestry Tasmania, and so there is no need or justification for logging within the forest reserve areas. Wood supply for remaining sawmills can be provided from outside of the important native forests identified for protection,” said Dr Phill Pullinger of Environment Tasmania.

“Aerial photographs taken in late August and last week show Forestry Tasmania continues to log inside the 430,000 hectares of unique and important forests identified for immediate protection in the IGA,” said Vica Bayley of the Wilderness Society.

“In fact, our report and the new photos show Forestry Tasmania has not rescheduled logging outside this area and has even commenced logging new coupes since the IGA was signed.”

“While we are encouraged to see progress on key components of the intergovernmental agreement — including the retirement of Gunns’ wood quota, funding for timber workers and contractors and the independent verification group — we have seen no progress on halting logging inside the nominated forest reserve areas,” Mr Bayley said.

“Environment groups again call on the state government to honour the agreement it has signed by directing Forestry Tasmania to declare the nominated forests as informal reserves and immediately appointing an independent expert to undertake the rescheduling,” said Denise Boyd of the Australian Conservation Foundation.

The report released today is part of environment group signatories’ ongoing commitment to implementing the IGA and will provide governments with verified, accurate information to help achieve the forest protection outcomes of the IGA. The state government must now ensure delivery of the critical plank of the IGA – forest protection.

New Reports for Download:

UPDATE ON ADVICE FROM ENGO SIGNATORIES ON CLAUSE 26 analyses the status of logging in important native forests and new photographs that show new logging activity in forest reserves prescribed by the Tasmanian Forests Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA).

ADVICE FROM ENGO SIGNATORIES ON CLAUSE 26 is a submission on the rescheduling of logging out of the proposed native forest reserve area as part of the Tasmanian Forests Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA). It analyses the status of logging coupes within the reserve area and specific recommendations for coupes within the 430,000 immediate reserve proposal based on a list provided by Forestry Tasmania on 18th August 2011.

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