Wednesday, March 04, 2009

What's In Your Paper from TASMANIA?

by Paul Oosting of The Wilderness Society (Tasmania) for the Paper Planet

In late 2008 the world’s tallest flowering plant was found in Tasmania. Centurion, a Eucalyptus regnans, is just under 100 metres tall. The Eucalyptus regnans is also the second tallest tree species on the planet, second only to the massive coastal redwood from California, which can reach 115 metres.

Centurion began growing in Tasmania well before Europeans arrived. Yet perversely, the forest in which it grows is not classed as old-growth, because the area has previously been burnt by wildfire. Instead, it is called ‘regrowth’, even though it may never have been logged before.

This misleading classification of forests in Tasmania is used as a tactic by the logging industry to support the continued destruction of irreplaceable native forests.

This situation occurs right across Tasmania. High-conservation-value forests containing ancient trees and wildlife (such as the giant Tasmanian wedge-tailed eagle, which is endangered and found nowhere else on the planet) are being clearfelled, woodchipped, pulped and ultimately turned into paper.

The woodchips from these forests is purchased predominantly by the Japanese paper companies Nippon and Oji and is certified as sustainable by the Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC).

In a world that is becoming more aware of the dangers of climate change, it is now more urgent than ever to stop sourcing paper made from native forests like those in Tasmania. Australian National University research shows that the logging of each hectare of Eucalyptus regnans forest in Tasmania can release up to one thousand tonnes of greenhouse pollution.

The logging industry has been misleading the public by claiming that logging is good for climate change because young regrowth forests absorb more carbon than old-growth forests. What the logging industry conveniently forgets to mention is the massive carbon loss that occurs when the original forest is logged. This carbon has been absorbed over centuries, and can never be recovered in regrowing trees that are destined to be relogged within decades.

Tasmania’s forests, along with native forests around the world, are a critical asset in the fight to stop dangerous climate change. We need your support in stopping the driving force behind the destruction of these forests – paper consumption.

To find out more about the campaign to protect Tasmania’s irreplacable native forests from being clearfelled and turned into paper go to:

Editors Note: This is the second installment in an 8 week "What's In Your Paper?" series on the Paper Planet focusing on specific sectors of the paper industry or paper from specific Endangered Forest regions. Subscribe or check back each Wednesday for a new posting in this series.

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