Representatives from over 70 countries are meeting in Sydney over the next three days to discuss global forestry and climate change.

Hosted by the Federal Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, “The High-Level meeting will provide the opportunity for countries and international organisations to have an informal, strategic-level dialogue on forests and climate beyond formal debates elsewhere…”

Meanwhile:

  • Tasmania’s native forests are being logged at the rate of approximately 35,000 hectares per year. 15,800 hectares will be clear-felled and converted to plantations this year alone.
  • According to Harry Quick, the ALP’s federal member for Franklin: “Decades of corporate welfare have seen the taxpayer prop up logging in Tasmania to the tune of $780 million. Despite this, logging continues in old growth forest areas such as the Weld, Huon, Arve, Denison, Styx and Upper Florentine.”
  • Speaking to The Australian, Greenpeace spokesman Steven Campbell claimed Australia imports around $400 million worth of illegal timber each year.

  • According to this Greenpeace report: “In Indonesia alone, an area of forest at least the size of Wales disappears every year2 and 72% of Indonesia’s large intact ancient forests have already been destroyed.”

  • The report also notes that “In the Philippines, close to 97% of the original forest cover of the country has been logged, above 50% of which is believed to have been felled illegally. Now as little as under 829,000 hectares of primary rainforest remains.”
  • “Greenpeace maps show that 83% of the merbau forests on New Guinea have been logged or are allocated for logging. Only 17% is not yet on the chopping block.” – greenpeace.org.au
  • According to Bulldozing Progress, a report compiled by the Australian Conservation Foundation, logging in PNG has led to serious human rights abuses. These include arbitrary detention and physical brutality by police moonlighting for logging companies, intimidation and abuse of women, contamination of food and water sources, and destruction of cultural sites, artifacts and graves.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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