Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Historic Agreement to Protect Tasmania's Ancient Forests

For decades, environmentalists have been trying to protect Tasmania's stunning, ancient forests from destruction. Indeed, the Paper Planet has reported on the issue and progress multiple times, and members of the Environmental Paper Network and other allies from around the world have rallied in support, helping chase Gunns around the world as they sought financial partners.
Its also true that timber workers have been trying to protect their jobs. And this unresolved dispute has led to protests, arrests and, sadly, ongoing logging in high conservation-value native forests.

But with the Tasmanian timber industry in collapse, after five months of good-faith discussions, the key stakeholders have come to a place of agreement. The Statement of Principles agreed between conservation groups, timber communities, forest unions and the industry gives Tasmania a unique opportunity to create a sustainable timber industry, protect its remaining native forests and resolve the conflict over logging.
The benefits for the whole of Tasmania are huge, including:
  • a moratorium to end logging in the most precious forests within three months
  • world class forests like the Tarkine Rainforest, Great Western Tiers, Styx, Blue Tier and the Upper Florentine Valley will be formally protected
  • detailed planning and consultation for the timber industry to transition out of native forests will occur over the next 12 months – protecting and developing timber jobs that are sustainable
  • Tasmania’s image as a clean, green state will be preserved, in a major boost for tourism
You can see the statement signed by the Wilderness Society, here.

This is the second major agreement of this nature in the past year in one of the key areas of the world where endangered forests and pulp and paper industry development overlap.  

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