Tasmanian Times


Letters: Forestry health hazards

Over the last decade there have been many warnings regarding the various hazards posed to human physical health by Tasmania’s present forestry regime.

That this is only part of the health risk was tragically borne out with the recent death of Roelf Roos from Rose’s Tiers in North-Eastern Tasmania.
Roos, a German native born in 1933, spent his childhood in Berlin during the terrible war years. He migrated to Australia at 21 years of age. Roos loved nature deeply and, with his wife Ursula, he sought peace and natural surroundings in Tasmania where he lived the last 17 years of his life.

Roelf’s regular contributions to a variety of newspapers and the Tasmanian Times website indicated how profoundly disturbed he was by the broadscale clearfelling of the beautiful native forests (and poisoning of wildlife) which became a beloved part of his life.

Roos was not, however, opposed to all forestry. He believed in sustainable harvesting and use native timbers but he was implacably opposed to the conversion of biodiverse forests to highly chemical dependent, genetically modified, monoculture pulpwood crops.

Roelf Roos pinned (perhaps too much) hope that the recent Federal election would deliver a government, which would introduce much needed change, protecting additional high conservation value native forests while reforming the existing forestry industry, and bring an end to the rape of the landscape.

The death and destruction involved in current Tasmanian forestry must surely have evoked dreadful visions of Roos’s childhood.

In despair and feeling powerless Roelf Roos took his own life on Remembrance Day 2004.

The mental health consequences for people who experience these feelings of hopelessness and oppression as a result of corporate domination and carelessness are yet to be fully recognised.

Dr Frank Nicklason
Doctors for Forests
West Hobart

Author Credits: [show_post_categories parent="no" parentcategory="writers" show = "category" hyperlink="yes"]


  1. Concerned Health Professional

    January 10, 2005 at 3:33 am

    I thank Ursula Roos for her point of clarification and I sympathize with her for the loss of her husband.

    However, my point still remains about Dr Niklason’s use of the issue. Suicide is a complex health issue for which there is no ethical use in placing ‘blame’, and it is not reasonable for a medical practitioner to utilise this in such a way. If Dr Niklason wished to conduct a clinical trial examining the effects of current forestry practises on depression etc, then that is the reasonable and professional approach for which it would be appropriate for Dr Niklason to report on. However, Dr Niklason’s initial post remains an unprofessional contribution with an obvious political angle.

  2. Geoff Rollins

    January 10, 2005 at 3:15 am

    Dear Rabid Pack Animal (Jason Lovell),

    Had Frank Nicklason made mention of the permission he gained from Mrs Roos to disclose details of Mr Roos’ death, I certainly would’ve made no comment. The fact that this information was not included in the original post led myself and probably CHP to draw the same conclusion.

    As this information has been confirmed by Mrs Roos, I shall be making no further comment on the circumstances surrounding Mr Roos’ death as this is clearly not my business (or anyone else’s business) to be commenting on. I wish Mrs Roos all the best and hope she is bearing up.

    Rabid Pack Animal, I note with some amusement that you launched your attack after Mrs Roos’ post, which is very fortunate for you as you had access to information that neither myself or CHP did.

    Finally, having been born at a disadvantage to Rabid Pack Animal in the area of psychic abilities, it was not apparent to me that Mr Roos would “approve of Dr Nicklason’s mention of the means of his death”. I was a keen reader of Mr Roos’ letters, but obviously didn’t detect that particular vibe.

    Yours in eternal “insensitivity” and “disgrace”, The Toad (Geoff Rollins)

  3. Jason Lovell

    January 7, 2005 at 7:56 am

    Anyone who read anything published anywhere by Roelf Roos must know that he would approve of Dr Nicklason’s mention of the means of his death. I note that CHP and Geoff Rollin’s ridiculous allegations have forced Mrs Roos to leap into print in order to confirm this obvious extrapolation.

    Which leads me to ask, CHP and Geoff Rollins, who do you think YOU are?

    In my opinion, its YOUR posts that are “outrageous and pathetic example[s] of politicking.” [Your words]

    You are insensitive and disgraceful [your words again] toads.

  4. Ursula Roos

    January 6, 2005 at 1:56 pm

    After having been off line for a while, today for the first time since last November, I was able to log on to the Tasmanian Times website. All I would like to say in response to people critizising Dr. Frank Nicklason’s letter is this: I was aware and gave my permission for him to disclose the details and facts of my husband’s demise. He in no way disclosed any confidential matters, He only knew him as a one time member of “Doctors for Forests”.
    Thank you again to all you people who support the fight to manage the environment in a truely sustainable manner.

    Ursula Roos.

  5. Pat

    January 5, 2005 at 6:39 am

    At first I was tempted to agree with CHP and Rollins .. but then truth is truth.. and the truth is that the forestry practises TRAUMATIZE us. One only has to live with it for awhile, and we discover, we cannot, I left Maydena, it was too tragic for me to bear .. The rape, the disrespect and unconcern, the remarkable ignorance that clearfells and poisons .. the ‘screw you’ attitude, affects those that care about our environment deeply, very deeply.

  6. Brenda Rosser

    January 1, 2005 at 3:14 pm

    SOMEONE has to bring the psychological effects – and their dire consequences – of the disgraceful forest industry to the attention of the Tasmanian public.

    I spoke to Mr Roos several times over the last few years and it didn’t take long to work out exactly how deeply he was affected by the devastation around him.

    Who better than a medical doctor to reveal the truth. And I know Mr Roos would have appreciated the efforts of Dr Nicklason to do just that.

  7. Concerned Health Professional

    December 23, 2004 at 9:41 am

    What a remarkably unfortunate contribution to link one man’s suicide to the Forestry issue. It may be that the Forestry situation contributed towards Mr Roos’ state of mind, but how do we know that? And how extraordinarily insensitive and unprofessional of a medical practitioner to disclose the cause and/or circumstances of an individual’s death.

    Suicide and its antecedent factors is a complex matter, and for this man’s unfortunate demise to be linked to the interests of Doctors for Forests is an outrageous and pathetic example of politicking. I would suggest that Dr Niklason’s submission be removed from the site as it is an affront to human dignity.

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