There is a significant error in the article (HERE) about the decision of Gunns Limited to abandon claims against the remaining 4 defendants in the long running Gunns20 case. (Mercury 30/1).
These defendants were not accused of trespass on Gunns property as the article states, nor did they damage Gunns property.
They were peacefully protesting, on public land, against a plan to clearfell naturally forested hills near their homes in Lucaston in the Huon valley.
It was their democratic right (perhaps their responsibility?) to do that. The defendants are widely admired in their community and by many others for their brave stand and, now, for their success.
Gunns’ decision was described as “commercial” by company secretary Wayne Chapman. Gunns were wise to take that decision. It will save the time and expense of a protracted court battle with a strong chance of an embarrassing loss.
Also, Gunns are now pursuing certification by the prestigious Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) in order to get better market access for their products. The case was a very bad look, a public relations fiasco for Gunns.
FSC endorsement requires that not only does the product demonstrably derive from a timber resource which is managed in a way which is commercially and environmentally sustainable, it must be also managed in a way which is broadly acceptable to the wider community.
The community, or social, chamber of the FSC considers recreational, cultural and heritage values as well as issues such as impacts on public health and social cohesion caused by forestry operations.
Clearfelling of native forest is poorly regarded by the FSC.
In order to achieve FSC certification a major change of approach to community concerns about industrial forestry methods will be required of Forestry Tasmania and Gunns Limited.