Environmentalist pressure over logging in Tasmania's forests persuades U.K.'s International Plywood to cease buying forest products from Ta Ann in Tasmania

LOS ANGELES , December 22, 2011 () – U.K. timber importer International Plywood Ltd., in response to environmentalist pressure, will no longer buy forest products from Ta Ann Group in Tasmania, but says it will resume the Australian imports when conservationist groups are satisfied with any changes the company makes, said a Ta Ann official, Australian Broadcast Corp. (ABC) reported Dec. 22.

The forests in question are part of the intergovernmental forest peace deal, but are currently being reviewed to determine if they have high-conservation value. The Tasmanian peace deal states that no logging should be carried out in the forests, according to the article carried in NewsWorks.

Forestry Tasmania has said logging in the areas is permitted so it can continue to supply Malaysian-based Ta Ann mills in the region, reported ABC.

Forestry Tasmania, Ta Ann and the Tasmanian Government argue that the company's products are certified as sustainable under the international Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), reported ABC.

Ta Ann manager Greg Hickey said the certification indicates the “environmental credentials” of the company's products. Ta Ann is concerned that, without the company's products, customers could potentially end up buying wood products logged from illegal sources.

Ken Jeffreys from Forestry Tasmania criticized the environmental activists for targeting customers of Ta Ann, ABC reported.

Tasmania's Deputy Premier Bryan Green wrote to International Plywood, urging the company to continue its timber purchases from Ta Ann.

Investigations by Markets for Change and other environmentalists showed that Ta Ann continued to use timber from the forests, said the group's Tim Birch. He and others visited London to advocate against use of the lumber, ABC reported.

Ian Attwood, managing director of Gloucester-based International Plywood, said he found the environmentalists' arguments more persuasive.

The International Plywood imports from Tasmania were being used to build Olympic sites in London.

The primary source of this article is the Australian Broadcasting Corp. (ABC), Sydney, Australia, Dec. 22, 2011.

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