Tasmanian Timber Industry Buy-Out?
There are indications that Australia's Prime Minister John Howard is finalizing a multi-million-dollar compensation package to end old-growth logging in Tasmania. Recall Tasmania's ancient old-growth forests are being chipped into pulp to make paper (about 5.5 million cubic meters in 2000) in unconscionable violence against the Earth. Less than 13 percent of Tasmanian old growth forest remains. If a timber industry buy-out were implemented, rights to log some 390,000 hectares of remaining Tasmanian old-growth would be negated. Tasmania's forest mismanagement, including large-scale clearing of native forests for plantations, impacts on water, and the effects of toxic chemical use; have drawn local, national and international outrage and calls for a federal inquiry.
Rapid fire Tasmanian forest policy discussions are occurring against the backdrop of pending Australian elections, where the green vote may prove decisive, and one-upmanship on environmental policy is rampant. While only speculation at this point (though widely reported), this would set a marvelous precedent. Destructive and inherently unsustainable industrial harvest of ancient old-growth forests must end in Tasmania and throughout the World. If need be, those that have amassed capital to liquidate these ecosystems may be compensated – but then the industrial harvest ends, period.
Forests.org continues to follow the situation at http://forests.org/south_pacific/ . Thankfully, WWF's atrocious plan to greenwash continued old-growth logging appears to have met a timely death, in Tasmania at least. Thank you for your pressure in this regard. If a rich, developed country like Australia can not find the will to protect their last ancient forest legacy, there is no hope for any old, large forests anywhere. Australia, please lead. Indeed, Tasmania and Australia's reputation is as much at stake as the wild forests themselves.