Forestry Tasmania called to account for misleading claims on Florentine Valley

Community group Still Wild Still Threatened (SWST) today released new data showing that Forestry Tasmania’s claim that 90% of the Upper Florentine catchment is “protected or otherwise unavailable for logging” is misleading

50 people gathered at Forestry Tasmania headquarters to hear forest campaigners present new information disputing Forestry’s claims of protected land in the Upper Florentine. .

Data compiled by forest campaigners from the Land Information System Tasmania reveal that 53% of the catchment’s commercially desirable tall wet eucalypt forests are still available for logging.

“Forestry Tasmania, the state government, federal MPs and even Prime Minister Kevin Rudd have all claimed that 90% of the Upper Florentine catchment is ‘protected or otherwise unavailable for logging’”, said SWST spokesperson Ed Hill.

“But to date – even despite repeated requests by the Derwent Valley community, a complaint to the Ombudsman and requests under Freedom of Information by a journalist from the Australian newspaper – Forestry has refused to provide any data or maps that verify its claims,” said Mr Hill.

“Now, maps and data compiled by forest campaigners shows that the area of the Upper Florentine catchment that is available for logging is nearly double what Forestry Tasmania has claimed.”

“What’s worse, 53% of tall wet eucalypt forest – the forest type that Forestry most wants to log – remains available for logging,” said Mr Hill. “56% of old growth tall eucalypt forest is available for logging”.

“Tasmania is world-renowned for its tall trees. But 80% of the Upper Florentine’s Eucalyptus regnans old growth forest, the tallest flowering plant species on the planet, is unprotected from logging.”

“If Forestry Tasmania is as transparent as they claim to be they would have released this data to the public. Instead they have left it up to volunteer forest campaigners to sift through data to see if Forestry’s claims are correct.”

“Forestry Tasmania has deliberately not released this data as it contradicts their claims that 90% of the catchment is unavailable for harvesting.”

“If logging in the Upper Florentine is sustainable and ecologically sensitive as Forestry claim, why do they make false and misleading claims to justify their operations?”

“Old growth and tall eucalypt forests not only have important biodiversity values, but are recognised as key carbon sinks. If we are to avoid dangerous climate change, we need to leave these big trees standing”, said Mr Hill.

Long time conservationist Geoff Law said that Forestry Tasmania’s logging plans would destroy the integrity of the entire Upper Florentine valley.

“The Upper Florentine valley will be gutted by Forestry Tasmania’s plans to destroy over 1,000 and as much as 2,000 hectares of old growth forest,” said Mr Law.

Still Wild Still Threatened is a grassroots community organisation campaigning for the immediate protection of Tasmania’s ancient forests and the creation of an equitable and environmentally sustainable forestry industry in Tasmania.
PO Box 295. South Hobart TAS 7004