*Pic – Ted Mead - Giant eucalypts in the Keppel Creek Forest.
Sharpen up your picks and shovels everyone because this summer looks like another season to be digging in the trenches. The STT’s recently released 3-year wood production plan indicates that the proposed logging of high-conservation forests has become a primary target once again. So is there an election in the air?
The Tarkine’s Keppel Creek forest is west of the Sumac lookout and south of the Arthur River. The proposed 20 - hectare coupe is predominantly transitional eucalypt to rainforest with trees to about 350+ years of age. Some of these giants probably meet STT’s protection criteria of having a volume mass of 280 cubic metres or more.
This region is a particularly aesthetic forest, grand and open, the sort of place you can wander around in marvel admiring some of nature’s finest creations.
This is a massive tourist drawcard, and it is virtually adjacent the Tarkine’s tourist drive. This exquisite forest should be opened up with a walking track into its sanctum, not left as another scared and battered piece of landscape.
Some of these trees are breathtaking and iconic - So why does STT want to log it?
If you believe what STT and the Liberals have been saying about the need for sawlog and peeler quotas then even their own rhetoric is baffling.
Wandering through this magnificent ancient forest will soon reveal that there are no peeler logs in sight. The majestic old trees around Keppel Creek are huge. In fact most of them are too old and large to be considered prime sawlogs.
So what are they then? - That’s obvious! – Woodchips, or in a previous minister’s weasel words ‘residue’.
But how can an entire coupe be just residue. Even the likes of Guy Barnett are going to struggle coming up with a justification of why this region should be logged, other than the fact that it is there.
Don’t get sucked into their definition that it is aggregated extraction or retention – this is pure vandalism, iniquitous and rapacious!
It would be a lucrative bet to put money on the fact that no forester has been into the inner reaches of this coupe. Forestry planning these days seems to be done by staring at aerial maps whilst seated on an ergonomic chair in a cosy air-conditioned cubicle ... somewhere within a hands grasp of a nice glass of Grange Hermitage!
This coupe has only just appeared on the 3-year wood production plan. Funny about that!
Contentious and provocative, there must be an election brewing?
Of course Tasmanian taxpayers will subside the vandalism of this forest. In the past this has been a standard practice, but the real values to protect this forest to is well beyond a fiscal argument.
To log, or even advocate the logging of such a magnificent forest will draw the attention across the nation of what a sham STT and the logging of native forest has become in Tasmania.
Condemnation is in the wind!
I look forward to hearing from the Forest Stewardship Council about their position on how such vandalism can be considered sustainable forestry and acceptable in the 21st century.
*Ted Mead has been wandering amidst Tasmania’s wild forest country since the mid 1980s. Much of his photographic work that was produced last century has been published by the conservation movement to present what we stand to lose from the insatiable woodchip industry. Ted is relieved that many of Tasmania’s wonderful forests have now been protected for posterity, though he believes the extent of his commitment is yet to be fulfilled. The declaration of the wild Tarkine region as a secure reserve will be his final essay.
• Stu, in Comments: I worked for FT for a number of years planning the logging and roading of coupes in the NW. If the coupe is the patch of forest I’m thinking of then I will protest myself (even though I have very little time for the likes of TM, equally I have no time for the likes of GH). If it is the patch of euc I’ve walked into (and FT removed it from being within a production coupe but have no doubt brought it back within coupe boundaries) it is very special and one of the most magnificent patches of mixed forest in the NW. Worth far more standing as part of the Tarkine Drive rather than sawlog that would keep a mill going for a short period of time only.
• Robert Middleton, USA, in Comments: … Keep at it, Ted. The likes of John Muir, Henry David Thoreau and countless others before you would be cheering you on. As for myself and the rest of the eight billion or so inhabitants of this planet, we all need to hear your voice from behind enemy lines in this horrific war in a far-away, isolated island that is blessed by nature in ways that few other places on Earth are, a place that should be one of the last on the planet where such a war is fought. If I were a wealthy man, I would give every last dollar to be able to stand for even five minutes in the same spot as the person in your superb photograph. That will never happen, but perhaps through your efforts and the vision of others in Tasmania, future generations will be able to …