WWF Threatens Australian Old-Growth Forests
WWF Australia has released a policy document advocating the logging of vast areas of old-growth forest in Tasmania, Australia. The document, entitled “A Blueprint for the Forest Industry and Vegetation Management in Tasmania”, has rightly outraged local conservation organizations working for the past 25 years to stop logging in Tasmania's old-growth forests.
A broad global consensus has emerged within the grassroots forest conservation community that industrial logging of old-growth, and other endangered forests, is no longer acceptable.
As Dr. Glen Barry of Forests.org explains, “ancient forests are required to maintain local as well as global ecological sustainability. Industrial development of Tasmanian and other endangered forests irrevocably diminishes them, whether management is certified or not. To protect the Earth and all her life, the world's remaining old-growth must be protected from commercial scale development.”
WWF's support for industrial logging against the wishes of heavily invested local conservationists is the most recent instance of large environmental organizations obstructing grassroots efforts to end industrial logging of ancient old-growth and other endangered forests. All too frequently corporate environmental organizations benefit financially from their endorsement of ancient forest logging as being supposedly environmentally friendly.
The Australia Institute recently reported that WWF Australia has received vast sums of money from the Australian Federal Government ($13.5 million between 1999 and 2003). It has also supported the majority of the Federal Government's environment policies – including commercial logging of Tasmania's ancient forests – while its name and statements have been used by the Government to promote its environmental credentials.
If adopted by Australia's government, WWF's proposals would undermine the twenty five years' campaign to protect Tasmania's old growth forests and biodiversity; continue undesirable and unpopular practices such as clearfelling of native forests; destroy wilderness areas of World Heritage value in western Tasmania; and exacerbate current divisions in Tasmania regarding the future of forests, the development of forest-consuming industrial complexes, and the proposed expansion of plantations.
Twenty-five years of grassroots campaigning have won great victories in the campaign to save what remains of Australia's precious old-growth forests. Public opinion is behind the movement and political parties are on the verge of making the leap to true conservation policies – based upon strict protection and an end to old-growth logging – for Tasmania's precious ancient forests.
WWF's recently published 'blueprint' threatens to stall this progress. Forest.org supports Tasmanian conservation organizations in their demand that WWF remove the document from circulation and the debate, or else withdraw from the Tasmanian forest campaign altogether.
As Dr. Barry concludes, “greenwashing of old-growth forest destruction by corporate environmental apologists will not stand. The mega-environmental conglomerates will heed this message or lose their members.””
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A copy of WWF Australia's report is available on their website at http://www.wwf.org.au/
A copy of the Australia Insitute's report is available at: http:/www.tai.org.au/ (see 'What's New')
A copy of Tasmanian NGO's letter to WWF can be found at: http://forests.org/docfeed/tasmania_wwf.doc
For more information including interviews contact:
Dr. Glen Barry
+1 608 213 9224