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Wielangta Forest is about to be logged to make paper in Japan

The Wielangta Forest case shows that Regional Forest Agreements will not protect endangered species from logging. The swift parrot feeds in woodlands from Adelaide to Toowoomba each winter. All the effort which has gone into protecting its mainland winter habitat is wasted if its breeding places in Tasmania are logged. Wielangta has the stag beetle and logging threatens the world's largest freshwater crayfish (it grows to more than six kilograms and a metre long) and the Tasmanian devil. The case should be closed! Senator Bob Brown has put his own money in this case, and so have other people, and this is deplorable when the EPBC Act should be doing the job it was designed to do i.e. protect biodiversity and old growth native forests! This area is a safe-guard buffer zone for the benefit of many species, including humans. It should automatically be protected as one of Australia's natural assets, and for future generations.

Wielangta Forest is about to be logged to make paper in Japan. If, in this lucky, wealthy, democratic country, we can’t do better than that, what hope is there for the forests of Brazil, Indonesia or the Congo? On one hand we have got Malcolm Turnbull saying he wants to stop illegally logged rainforest in Indonesia, but he wants to continue with the illegal logging of forests in Tasmania. The Wielangta Forest court case has exposed the gaping hole in Australia’s environmental law which leaves forests under Regional Forest Agreements unprotected. There is no requirement for an RFA to deliver real protection for endangered species. It just needs to state that a system exists! Tokenism and lame Acts won't protect Australia's biodiversity. We are already famous as one of the greatest wildlife killers in the world! If the intent of the EPBC Act is to protect global biodiversity, it was not good enough to pay "lip-service" to it.

Worldwide, deforestation is the single biggest cause of extinction. There is not a native forest logging area in Tasmania that does not harbour nationally listed species of wildlife. Excluding forests from biodiversity protection is a contradiction!

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Comments

I'm really amazed! I thought "lucky, wealthy, democratic countries" had passed the stage of cynical, rip-off capitalism a long time ago. Pass a few laws to keep the "greenies" off balance and then slurp up a windfall profit by clear-cut raping a forest while everyone's looking the wrong way? Are we still stuck in the latter half of the 20th century, or do we think, please, we might just wake up to the fact that the world changed somewhat by the time we all made it into the 21st century?

I do NOT like to hear the name of my country being used in a context like this. If this is how you are going to supply us materials for paper, then thanks, but no thanks. If there aren't better ways of doing it, then let's not bother. I think a lot of people here will agree with me. Let's see if some of my friends will join me in adding a little note here for the logging company.

It really should be a bit passe these days to say something like, "Don't you know that every time we do something to reduce biodiversity, little by little we undermine our own ability to survive on this planet?" Someone once said it's a bit like hearing the rivets pop out fom the fuselage of the plane you're flying in. It's serious and it's scary. But some people do not yet see it and have not yet made the transition into the 21st century. Call us "treehuggers" if you like, but we do know that everything mankind does for survival comes with an environmental or ecological price, sometimes large, sometimes negligible. But "survival" is not a money value. Those who engage in the destruction of nature for money profits (or their children or their grandchildren) will later come to know that selling off the life opportunities of your descendants and those of other species is a highly immoral and hazardous thing to do. Please rethink and join us in a saner 21st century.

Wielangta Forest has to be protected, not logged. The idea of turning the trees in the forest into paper is hideous. Tasmania has an unique wildlife, which is characteristic for Tasmania only, and it has to be protected. If this ecosystem is damaged, there will not be any chances healing the injury.

Do you realise that up to, during and after the First World War Wielangta Forest was heavily and extensively logged? That there was a large township supporting the mill workers and their families? Do you also realise that there was no RFA during that time? Have you heard that no old growth trees were left, that a clearfelling practice was used? That was over 75-80 years ago. Have you seen it today? I am not saying that saving old growth forests is wrong and that conservation is wrong but what I am saying is get things in perspective. Some of Wielangta Forest just won't be logged because of its geological and topographical features. Its just not practical.

Wielangta Forest has reclaimed the area itself in the last 70-odd years with no seeding or any of the modern reforestation practices in place. Where the township was is almost indistinguishable from the surrounding forest. There is extremely dense bush out there and in one place almost impenetrable, a place where the sun hardly ever shines. This forest has been logged and recovered, done in a correct and sustainable way forestry is an environmentally and economically viable industry. What about the area around Robertson's Bridge is that not a great place to see and enjoy? Left untouched by the road works passing through man ferns etc flourish and it is a fantastic short forest walk.
33.3% of Tasmania is already locked up by enviromentalists. The Hydro was stopped by environmentally emotional people and now loggers are attacked at their place of employment and equipment destroyed by environmental thugs. So, as parts may not be logged let the loggers do they job and leave emotions out of this particular area.
Don't know so much about the beetles and unique flora, are they still there because there has been a major bushfire out there over 12 months ago and most of the bush was burnt out (remember Scamander's bushfires, it happened then).

Professor Garnaut’s final report says that Australia’s greenhouse emissions can be reduced dramatically if logging of native forests and land-clearing are stopped immediately. Being logged in the past does not justify doing it again! Forests are the homes and habitats of many native species, many of them endangered at a time of great species losses. Japan is covered with forests and they consider them to be sacred. A pity our Western culture doesn't have the same attitude! We don't see forests - instead we see trees and profits!

While reading some of the comments posted here I noticed that an awful lot of you seem to talk generically about Wielangta Forest. Have any of you ACTUALLY been there? Do you even live in Tasmania? Why do you talk about glossy paper, land-clearing greenhouse emissions etc? This so TOTALLY reminds me of the Franklin Dam issue. More than half the protesters in that debacle where not Tasmanians and not one of them even came to, or if they made one trip, ever returned to Tasmania. Do we go into your backyard and tell you what to do? No, so why not leave Tasmania to Tasmanians to deal with as we see fit. Our State or decisions, leave us alone! By the way the decision of some of the protesters in the Franklin Dam issue now say that they feel it was the wrong decision to stop the dam going ahead. Don't believe me? Check the Mercury Letters to the Editor Archives for the last twelve months and you will read some regrets for that big mistake.

We DON'T want to log all of Wielangta Forest as has been stated before just a portion of it, same as the Styx Valley. There are fantastic pockets of that forest that will be preserved for the future, large pockets I might add, same for Wielangta.

Why log any of the forests where endangered species are dying out, just to provide raw materials for the Japanese? Not only is it ecologically unsustainable, it is at best economically unsound. Just because the Tasmanian government (and the Minister for threatening species, David Llewellyn) is happy to consign endangered animals - and in particular in this case birds; the swift parrot, does not mean all Tasmanian are.

The last Tasmanian Tiger (Thylacine) died in misery in a cage in a zoo, and the Tasmanian devil is fast becoming more and more endangered (due in no small part to the government's proposed road through the Tarkine forest).

For the record, I have been to the Wielangta (and other) state forests. If Tasmania wants to maintain its "clean, green" image, and encourage tourism, this is not the way to go about it. Wake up, "Anonymous" - short term greed and destruction has a long term price to be paid.

About two thirds of Japan is covered by forests, which they consider sacred. They must be very happy that Australia is willing to chop up our forests, even old-growth ones, for cheap woodchips! We fail to appreciate our natural assets - even in a dry country like ours. They can then sell their paper back to Australia. We are becoming a natural resource for Japan.

Imperial Japan invaded China and committed atrocities in Chinese Nanking in 1937. China recovered but never forgave. Japan boomed in post-WWII. China has boomed since the 1990s, while Japan has continued to suffer a depression.

Neo-imperial commercial Japan seeks exploitation of Australia's natural forest resources while neo-capitalist China seeks control of Australia's natural mining resources. Australia's conditional fixation on profiteering has blinded it to the value and pride of its internationally-valued natural resources.

Both Japan and China have proud traditions that extend back many centuries. Australia is a relatively new nation. Australia's cultural pride needs to grow up recognise the future economic benefits of our assets and influence, and not sell off the farm.

I notice an awful lot of the anonymous lot talk generically about the portions of Wielangta Forest that could be saved so long as a pockets of defect logs and dunnage are left for future degeneration.

“Do not be very upright in your dealings for you would see by going to the forest that straight trees are cut down while crooked ones are left standing.”
- Chanakya

Title was 'Co-Existence' - JS

I read this with fascination, the interaction between Enviromentalist and possibly some who is involved or has been involved with the logging process, it is an interesting read. I am a local resident in the area and find it hard to comprehend that this area has world wide significance and there is outrage over a legitimate business that is trying to work within parameters, and other things go unnoticed. You talk about the protection of the Swift Parrot and other species living in the area and that is the reason for it coming to notice. Can I tell you that some years ago a local resident shot and trapped a number of parrots because they were attacking that resident's fruit trees, thirty parrots approximately died. More recently tree plantations have been planted locally from Triabunna to Buckland, in one area alone earlier this year, because poisoning was condemned, shooters were called in to eradicate the wallaby and o'possum eating the young trees. In one night it was estimated that over 1,000 wallabies were shot. No estimate or numbers of o'possum killed. Some were not a clean kill and were left to die, wandering onto local properties of residents. Can you imagine an older person or any one of compassion finding a wounded and dying animal at their back door? Young wallabies with no hope of survival were left without the protection of their mothers also wandering aimlessly onto people's back lawns, where were the environmentalists then? Where is the outcry of enough is enough? This was done over two - three months and no-one protested, no-one cared, can you imagine the number of animals that died if, as was said by a person who presumably knew what he was talking about, up to 1,700 was an average cull per night. I'm not anti-environment and I'm not anti-logging, both should be able to co-exist surely, and in saying this I seem to think that plantations have their place in the modern logging industry, better than removing some lovely old grown rainforest wouldn't you agree? BUT and I say BUT the wholesale slaughter that took place to ensure the trees survive was definitely a disgrace and a waste of time, as a drought has existed here for well over 2 years and most of the trees planted died due to lack of water. I am a gun owner and I do go hunting but the cull was abhorrent in the extreme.

Saving forests is one thing but if there is no wildlife to inhabit it, is it worth all the fuss. We need to do something about the slaughter.

You should perhaps review the practical application of your comment. Being a nation united under one flag, each and very one of us have the right to lay claim to our homeland, and subsequently we as individuals can NOT take sole claim or ownership for any particular part.

With respect to the main point, as Australians, we feel it necessary to prevent you from screwing up our country, so that you can keep your precious little jobs for a couple of weeks. Citizens who make statements in support of extensive logging should have perhaps tried a little harder at school!

We should also consider your final point "We DON'T want to log all of Wielangta Forest... just a portion of it". - well this is obviously very smart, what happens then? We start of with a whole forest, we lose a little, but that's OK, there is heaps left. Hmmm, now we need a little more? Let's log, but don't worry, we only want a little of it, not the whole lot...and so on, so forth - until the day of course where there IS ACTUALLY NOTHING LEFT! Now what have we achieved? That's right...we made some nice paper, oh yeah and we exported all of it to a nation who just migrate here anyway and take up more of our precious resources!

Why do people think that logging of a forest is the end of the story. Biology regenerates - that is its very nature. Australian's of the present rightfully should take it upon themselves to ensure that biology maintains the ability to regenerate - this includes maintaining healthy ecosystems. But that does not then mean that logging is somehow evil. In deed native forestry and associated timber production is about as natural a system as you can get; miles ahead of food production, mining, energy production, etc - and yet humans need these activites and resultant products for the lifestyles they demand. In the knowledge that native forest in Australia is managed sustainably, I would rather have a timber power pole than concrete, timber house frame than steel, timber furniture than plastic, wood fireplace than coal-fired power. Why do people not realise that when they say no to logging (in general) they are instead saying yes to using up more of the earth's NON-renewable resources.

There's some truth in this. Timber is the most sustainable of all building materials. Steel, concrete, and plastic can appear to be more sustainable, if we don't take inot account the fossil fuels consumed in their production, steel framed houses can be more vulnerable to bushfires than timber houses.

Nevertheless civilisations that have not harvested timber sustainably have usually collapsed. Tese civileisation nclude: the Ancient Mayans, the Chaco Anasazi, the ancient Greeks, the ancient Romans, the Easter Islanders. Australia seems headed in the same direction.

I heard most of the high-quality, glossy fashion magazine paper comes from this kind of forest. I hope you can tell me about this. Many magazines and books in Japan are using recycled paper now. But fashion magazines like Vogue, GQ still use very glossy paper.

So, we have to educate people about paper.

A Senator who puts his time and money into something he believes in should not have to pay the bills out of his own pocket and possibly lose his place in the Senate! The State of Tasmania should be responsible for their forests and protecting their own ecosystems, and commercial interests should not be left to decide their fates. There are endangered species at risk if logging continues.

At a time our Federal government has declared its interest in increasing the amount of protected areas in Australia by 25% as a buffer against climate change, they should not be leaving this job to individuals to fund.

Senator Bob Brown has put his own time and money where is mouth is, and he is one of the few leaders in Australia with a long term vision. Environmental protection is in everybody's interests, ultimately, and it would be a great loss to lose someone like Senator Bob Brown and the Green's leadership, not to mention Wielangta Forest, because he was forced to pay this massive amount and risk bankruptcy.

The Federal Department of Environment should pay it because they are the responsible for our environment and have failed in their duty of care.

Vivienne,

I agree in all respects. Well done on raising this.

Check out this astonishingly nasty editorial from Rupert Murdoch's Australian:

Bob Brown should think again before he decides to sue

JUST this once, Bob Brown should stop making a martyr of himself. On Monday, the Greens senator told the world he would lose his Senate seat if Forestry Tasmania bankrupted him over $240,000 he owes in legal fees. And - what a surprise - environmental activists immediately rallied to his cause. Pensioners promised to bake cakes and Dick Smith said he would see what he could do to help. Perhaps Senator Brown was surprised by promises of assistance, or perhaps it was what he expected, given the years he has spent cultivating his image as a fearless fighter for forests.

Not satisfied with having a personally ruinous bill imposed upon Bob Brown, The Australian would presumably have Bob Brown accept bankruptcy alone without accepting help from others and being thrown out of the Senate for having courageously stood up for forests which the Tasmanian Government is willing to have destroyed. The editorial continues:

But whatever his expectations, in ensuring the debate is all about him, Senator Brown avoids explaining what this matter actually involves -the way activists attempt to use the courts to impose their opinions on everybody else. Senator Brown took Forestry Tasmania to court to stop logging in Tasmania's Wielangata Forest, which supposedly threatens the habitats of two endangered birds and one beetle. The case took four years to complete, ending last year when a panel of High Court judges denied Senator Brown permission to appeal to the full court. The decision meant he was stuck with Forestry Tasmania's costs.

Tough. Every government agency and private business that has faced environmentalists whose MO is to use the courts when parliament will not give them what they want is familiar with this sort of strategy. It is a lot easier to go to court when your business is not at stake and when somebody else will ultimately pick up the bill. If it wasn't so serious, this whole affair would be frivolous.