The LetterTHE indecent haste to log what’s available of old-growth forest and renew the Regional Forest Agreement before due date are related.
Clearly the logging industry sees the RFA as advantaging it.
The RFA shields logging from the effective Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act by committing to protect threatened species by reservation and prescriptions applied through the Forest Practices Code.
However, the application of this arrangement has become deeply flawed.
On Saturday 13th March I visited State Forest near Montague to see how logging of old-growth forest surrounding a well studied white goshawk nest went last year. Instead of the usual 15m wide streamside reserve for that class of stream a 35m wide bulge at the goshawk nest was supposedly applied to protect it.
It was chaos, like a time warp into 1970s logging. The nest tree had gone, fallen trees from logging and wind-throw criss-crossed the reserve and a logging track went straight through it.
Worse, a wedge-tailed eagle nest was exposed nearby, logged to within metres. So much for our much vaunted “world’s best logging practices”.
This comes on top of a series of debacles including an eagle nest tree cut down on private land near Table Mtn some months ago where the nest was also taken out of the tree, presumably to try and hide the vandalism.
This nest was close to a plantation and used by tolerant eagles, exactly what is in the industry’s interest to encourage.
People need jobs and therefore I support a forestry industry but it must be lower impact. The obvious way to do this is to greatly slow old-growth logging to allow timely assessment, planning and oversight.
Also, regulatory authorities must be given political support, more funding and bigger teeth.
The only thing “world’s best” about old-growth logging in Tasmania is the myth that it is sustainable.
After all, more old-growth is felled than replacement trees are allowed to become old-growth; that is “unsustainable”.
As published on the Tasmanian Times website 29/3/10
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