Monday, March 29, 2010

Nick Mooney critical of logging in Tasmania

A damning letter written by  famous Tasmanian Wildlife Biologist Nick Mooney and submitted to local Tasmanian newspapers The Advocate, Examiner and Mercury on 17th March 2010. I do not know whether his letter was published in any of the newspapers. Up until recently Mooney was a long time public servant and as a consequence had been restrained in his public utterances about the management of Tasmania's forests.

The Letter
THE 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

More interesting Nick Mooney Links


  1. Pretty cutting article from an ex-'insider'.

    I think it's pretty obvious that most Tasmanians believe the way in which our forests are logged is neither sustainable nor 'world's best practice'.

    The group, Our Common Ground ( seems to be on the right track, attempting to do something positive to get the balance right.

    Yes, we do need some form of a forestry industry in the state, but we also need a balance between the tired old demand of jobs at the expense of everything else and the protection of the amazing precious place that many of us call home

  2. It's only "world's best practice" on paper. As soon as it sees the light of day & the heavy machinery, it becomes "business as usual" - destruction for the hell of it.