Forest Witness Tasmania - Groundswell Tasmania - What's happening on the ground in the north east of this wild state

Forest Witness – North East Tasmania – 26/10/12

This week in the North East of Tasmania, activists from the group Groundswell documented the ongoing destruction of forests located in independently verified High Conservation Value (HCV) forests.

NL115H is an 80 Hectare logging coupe, on the Western foothills of Ben Lomond National Park at Fisher’s Tier, only 40mins drive from the Tasmanian city of Launceston. It has been left out of the 430,000Ha of ENGO nominated reserve, but is within the 572,000ha of independently verified HCV forest.

The area has been deemed a Wedge-tailed Eagle restricted zone by Forestry Tasmania, who have previously postponed logging operations during the eagle breeding season. Despite NL115H’s listing as a Wedge-tail Eagle restricted zone, the coupe was being logged at the beginning of September 2012, one month into the breeding season of the endangered eagle.

The Tasmanian Wedge tailed Eagle is listed as endangered under the Tasmanian Threatened Species Protection Act 1995 and Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. The species is also a priority species in the Tasmanian Regional Forest Agreement.
A report of independent expert schedulers, appointed under the Tasmanian Forest Intergovernmental Agreement states that, ‘a major factor across the state in determining the suitability of a coupe is the presence of Wedge Tailed Eagle nests. As the breeding season is between August and January, any coupe that has an identified active nest is not available for operations during this time.’

Restrictions to logging operations were not implemented to protect eagles within this coupe. The habitat has now been decimated and lies in piles of dusty earth, to be washed away directly into the Nile River at the coupes boundary, adding to the denigration of local water catchments. The coupe is contiguous with the Nile River, its banks bordering the coupe for over 2km with only a thin riverside reserve.

This area should have been under a moratorium on logging while the Government decided on areas to put into reserve. For the last two and a half years we have seen business-as-usual in the forests while negotiations have taken their toll on these areas. Among broken promises of interim protection on all foresta, and a failure to move forward on an exit out of native forest logging in Tasmania, areas like these, home to endemic and endangered fauna, important ecosystems, fresh water catchments and massive carbon stores, are being systematically torn apart for quick profit.

Like the majority of coupes in this area the destruction of this valuable ecosystem is being driven by Malaysian timber giant Ta Ann’s demand for veneer timbers, to be sold to export markets. Ta Ann’s relentless search for timber supply is undermining the IGA and wreaking havoc in Tasmania’s HCV forests.

Groundswell Tasmania
For comment: Lisa Searle 0408 862 866

Hoffmann, O. & Williams, D. Report Of Independent Expert Schedulers Appointed Under the Tasmanian Forests Intergovernmental Agreement, 12th October 2011 p21

Hoffmann, O. & Williams, D. Report Of Independent Expert Schedulers Appointed Under the Tasmanian Forests Intergovernmental Agreement, 12th October 2011 p15

Report of Independent Expert Schedulers 12th October 2011, Supplementary Report November 2011, Rescheduling Work – January and February 2012, Report requested by The Australian Government.