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Tassie Logging Agreement Toppled?

By Ian Lowe

Logging is continuing in Tasmanian forests of high conservation value months after an agreed deadline to cease logging has passed.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Last year there was reason to be optimistic about Tasmanian forestry. After decades of political fighting, the contending parties came to an historic agreement. Foresters, loggers, the timber industry, environmentalists and government signed a set of principles that formed a basis for the future. Logging would stop in forests of high conservation value, there would be a significant investment in plantations to provide a secure supply of wood for future needs, and responsible value-adding would be explored.

It looked like a win for industry, a win for government and a win for the natural values of the wonderful Tasmanian forests. It would have been a repeat of the arrangement brokered by the Beattie government in Queensland, ending the logging of native forests and putting the industry on a secure plantation basis for the future.

Now the reports I am getting from Tasmania suggest that the historic agreement seems to be unravelling. Months after the deadline to cease logging forests of high conservation value, logging tracks are still being forged into the forests and coupes are still being clearfelled. The level of expected funding for the transition did not materialise in the recent Commonwealth Budget. And there is still deep division in the Tasmanian community about the proposed Gunns pulp mill.

While there is wide support for the principle of...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Ian Lowe is Emeritus Professor of science, technology and society at Griffith University.