Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

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Forestry Bill threatens ancient forests, FSC certification and timber markets

The Tasmanian Government’s legislation to repeal forest protection and open ancient Rainforests and oldgrowth forests to logging, is incompatible with an environmentally acceptable forestry industry and directly threatens Forestry Tasmania’s chances of achieving Forest Stewardship Council certification and securing markets, environment groups said today.

Environment groups have responded to Forestry Tasmania’s request for feedback on plans to meet FSC’s high environmental standards, raising serious concerns about new legislation impacting FSC. A briefing paper is attached.

“The Tasmanian Government agrees FSC is essential to secure timber markets, but in the same breath is taking a huge and unnecessary risk by opening up protected forests,” said Vica Bayley spokesperson for the Wilderness Society.

“FSC certification is hard to get. All five previous attempts to certify wood from public native forests in Australia have failed. The Government can take the punt that its legislation doesn’t threaten Forestry Tasmania’s FSC application, but the decision makers at the end of the day are the auditor, SCS and FSC International.”

“Premier Hodgman must be a betting man – the Government is playing Russian roulette with FSC certification and the industry’s future. The Tasmanian Forest Agreement provides the best opportunity Forestry Tasmania will ever have to obtain FSC, but the government seems prepared to throw that away and roll the dice.”

“Stakeholder support is important in the FSC system. Currently legislated forest protection provides an unprecedented opportunity to secure environment group support for FSC in Tasmania, but the government will erode that support by failing to deliver legislated forest protection.”

“You can’t on the one hand say you support a non-contentious forestry industry that has FSC certification, whilst on the other hand, put forward legislation to enable logging of ancient rainforest like the Tarkine and old growth forests like the Blue Tier,” said Dr Phill Pullinger, spokesperson for Environment Tasmania.

“Forestry Tasmania’s proposal to meet FSC requirements is premised on Tasmania’s outstanding forests being protected in parks and reserves. The government’s proposed forestry legislation runs directly counter to an acceptable industry with FSC certification – with loopholes to log rainforest, cut forest out of so-called ‘moratorium’ areas and open up 800,000 hectares of existing reserves to logging,” said Dr Pullinger,

“Forest reserves aren’t forest reserves when they can be logged at the stroke of a Minister’s pen; this will be clear to FSC International and its auditors.”

“In its rushed approach to the legislation the government hasn’t addressed these glaring uncertainties or any adverse impacts on FSC certification. The safest way to maximise the opportunities of FSC is to amend the legislation to remove the logging loopholes and provide secure and permanent protection of the future reserve land.”

Download:

ENGO_Brief_1st_August_2014_-_Impacts_of_proposed_government_legislation_on_Forestry_Tasmania_FSC_certification.pdf
3 eNGo FSC Submission.pdf

Vica Bayley, The Wilderness Society, Phill Pullinger, Environment Tasmania.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Karl Stevens

    July 31, 2014 at 11:57 pm

    Actually, FSC is not ‘essential to secure timber markets’ as claimed here. All FSC can do is achieve a slight price increase in the wealthy markets able to pay the FSC premium.

    The real problem for ET and TWS is they have been used by the logging industry to help market product from Tasmania’s forests. That is also one of the biggest flaws in ‘multi-stakeholder initiatives’ such as FSC.

    Watching The Wilderness Society’s FSC representative trying to coral the remnants of Tasmania’s indigenous people into playing a role in Forestry Tasmania’s FSC certification was personally sickening for me. The Wilderness Society knows very well that the government attempting to certify it’s logging arm was the same government that carried out the alleged genocide of the Tasmanian Aboriginal people.

    That ET and TWS can use an alleged genocide to help market timber products is almost criminal in my view.

    It took me years to fully understand why FSC seemed so favourable to logging and so hostile to stakeholders in the Social Chamber. After reading an academic paper on why multi-stakeholder initiatives fail, I now understand why FSC is destined to fail.

    I suspect ET and TWS did very little research on what jumping on the FSC bandwagon really meant for them. In theory it looks fine, in practice it hijacks well-meaning environmentalist and uses them as just another marketing tool.

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