Nov 22, 2012

Tasmanian forest deal: is this peace in our time?

A deal has just been struck to end Tasmania's 40-year war over forests. Tasmanian-based freelance journalist Bruce Montgomery asks if the armistice will hold.

Is there really to be peace in Tasmania’s forests following the signing of an agreement between industry players and some conservation organisations? Will 40 years of conflict that started with the advent of woodchipping here in 1972 come to an end?

You wish.

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5 thoughts on “Tasmanian forest deal: is this peace in our time?

  1. dazza

    Considering the forest industries in Tasmania employ …well, not many people at all, I find it strange the media are interested at all in what this propaganda council has to say. They seem to be very loud for a small group.
    Surely common sense will prevail and someone can pursuade the loggers to think about the next generation and not just the immediate needs of a few investors.

  2. Venise Alstergren

    I wonder why they call themselves ‘The Liberal Party’, when they’re against everything?

  3. ulysses butterfly

    Nice try Bruce. The more logging of wet schlerophyll with the replacement of dry schlerophyll regrowth the GREATER the risk, intensity and danger of megafire.

    It’s criminal negligence to log wet forest in the 21C creating a patchwork of dry tinder across whole landscapes.

    Phil Chaney made the point very eloquently for the Tasmanian Forest industry years ago with this:

    “Planning Considerations

    Fire Risk

    One of the major planning constraints associated with thinning is the higher level of fuel present after the operations. It is not considered feasible in Tasmania to carry out fuel reduction burns in thinned coupes because of the high fuel loads and the sensitivity of the retained trees to fire. The location of thinned coupes amongst conventionally logged coupes is problematic, as it is not recommended that any regeneration burn take place within two kilometres of areas with high levels of flash fuel within two years of harvest (Cheney 1988).

    Tree crowns (heads), bark, and other harvest residue make up the fuel load. The climate on the floor of the forest is altered by thinning, with higher wind speeds and temperature, lower humidity, and lower moisture content in the fuel itself. Understorey vegetation characteristics change because of these changes to the microclimate, especially increased light. Bracken ferns and cutting grass may grow vigorously, each having a far higher flammability than the replaced woody species (Cheney and Gould 1991).”

    Reference: Forestry Tasmania (2001), Thinning Regrowth Eucalypts – Native Forest Silviculture Technical Bulletin No. 13 Second Edition, Forestry Tasmania.

    And ecological scientists have confirmed the above observation with more systematic studies of the effect of logging promoting bushfire hazard – no doubt through removal of water from the micro climate. Wet stuff doesn’t burn so well. Dry stuff does. That’s the grim reality, and it’s time the loggers faced up to both the music and their responsibility for the debacle of old forest land management this last 50 years of highly mechanised woodchipping, never mind “timber”.

  4. ulysses butterfly

    By the by, what is the proportion of conservation areas in Tasmania (population 500,000) to the area of Australia?

  5. Venise Alstergren

    ULYSSES BUTTERFLY [4} Excellent question.

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