Bob Brown: Charges dropped over Lapoinya Forest anti-logging protest

Environmentalist and former Greens leader Bob Brown will not face prosecution over his arrest at an anti-logging protest in Tasmania's north-west.


Tasmania Police commissioner Darren Hine issued a statement saying the charges had been dropped.

"The decision not to proceed was made by Tasmania Police after receiving legal advice from the DPP," he said.

"In this case the DPP observed that it was difficult for police officers to determine whether a person was in a business access area or on business premises."

Read the full story on the ABC website.

Also see similar articles at:

Add your reaction Share

Abolish Failed Forest Deals

Regional Forest Agreements should end when they expire if not before

Swift Parrot. Photo: Henry Cook

For nearly 20 years native forest logging in Victoria, Tasmania, NSW and WA has received special treatment under commonwealth environmental laws. Other industries need approval from the commonwealth Environment Minister before taking an action that may affect threatened species or World Heritage. Native forest logging does not. The result has been catastrophic for wildlife and other forest values.

The environmental exemption for native forest logging is governed by Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs). These 20-year contracts, like the Coalition’s stalled ‘one stop shop’ plan, hand state governments the power to make environmental decisions about native forest logging. Numerous assessments show how comprehensively they have failed.

RFAs start expiring from 3 February 2017 (East Gippsland) followed by Tasmania, other Victorian RFAs, WA and NSW. Special treatment for native forest logging should end. RFAs should be abolished forthwith or at the latest when they expire.

A number of groups (including the Bob Brown Foundation) have endorsed the following RFA statement and will not accept extension, roll-over or renewal of Regional Forest Agreements. Any future proposal to log public native forests should be subject to commonwealth environmental laws in the same way as for all other industries.

Download the full RFA statement (PDF) here.


Add your reaction Share

Forestry Tasmania under fire over tourist attraction

The Mercury, Sunday September 6 2015, NEWS 17 - article by David Benuik.

"Locals and environmentalists have raised serious concerns about cash-strapped Forestry Tasmania's ability to provide a world-class tourism experience around its reopened Tahune AirWalk.

Government enterprise FT closed down the attraction and its access road for six weeks during winter for maintenance and to log a nearby eucalyptus forest coupe."

See the related posts: "Forestry Tasmania Lockout", "Arve Forest Gallery", and "Arve Forest Logging Aftermath" for further information.

Add your reaction Share

Arve Forest Logging Aftermath

Logged coupe. Photo: Adam Burling. September 2015

As a follow-up to our press release "Forestry Tasmania Lockout" and article "Arve Forest Gallery", here is a photo of the effect of logging near the main tourist route (Arve Road) inland from Geeveston to the Tahune Airwalk and the Hartz Mountains National Park.

From forest:

Forests intact before logging. Photo: Dan Broun. July 2015

To log:

Log truck - with logs from this coupe. Photographed August 2015

Forestry Tasmania is currently about $30 million in debt. The tourist industry seems to be doing quite well. Perhaps this log is more valuable as part of a healthy forest along the road to the popular Tahune Airwalk.


2 reactions Share

Arve Forest Gallery

Dan Broun has put together a gallery of photos of the Arve Rd forests near Geeeston and the tourist destinations of Tahune AirWalk and the Hartz Mountains National Park.

"Conservationists are calling for an immediate halt to planned logging as Forestry Tasmania conducts a lockout on a main tourism route Arve Rd near Geeveston in southern Tasmania for the next six weeks and log ancient forests surrounded by five registered giant Eucalyptus trees."

Read the full press release here.


Read more
Add your reaction Share

Vote against inclusion of native forest biomass into Australia's renewable energy target

An open letter to Australian Senators from the Dogwood Alliance.


Dear Senator,

My name is Julianna Martinez, and I am a campaign organizer at Dogwood Alliance. Dogwood Alliance is an environmental non-governmental organization that works to protect the forests of the Southern United States from unsustainable industrial logging practices. We urge you to vote against inclusion of native forest biomass in Australia's renewable energy target.

There is a common misconception amongst lawmakers in Australia, that biomass energy is non-controversial and commonly supported in the United States and around the world. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. The movement against the biomass industry is growing, and this issue has gained widespread attention, including pieces featured on NPR and in the Washington Post. We need leaders such as yourself to join the opposition to this misguided industry and to help mitigate the effects of the biomass industry.

Dogwood Alliance recognizes the dangers and fallacies of these destructive biomass industries. This summer, we are going on an “SOS: Save Our Southern Forests” tour to campaign against the biomass industry. We insist that “Our Forests Aren’t Fuel,” and we aim to educate citizens, policymakers, and industry members about the dangers of this false energy solution as well as pressure companies who stand to gain from this practice to put a stop to it.

European policymakers are increasingly promoting the clearcutting of Southern forests to burn them for electricity to satisfy their “clean energy” standards. However, this is not a climate-friendly solution, and in many cases it can release more carbon emissions than coal. Our standing forests gather and store carbon, which makes them a key solution for carbon pollution and one of our best defenses against climate change.

Additionally, the biomass industry is destroying wetland forests, and communities in the Southeast U.S will not stand for this. The industry has devastating impacts on our communities, our forests, and our local economies here in the Southern U.S. It poses serious threats to our health and lifestyles, destroys much of the biodiversity in the Southern U.S, and is entirely driven by unsustainable subsidies which creates unfair competition with our traditional wood products industries. The industry claims to use only wood waste, however, we have investigated different facilities and proven that they do not merely use residues rather they clearcut high volumes of whole logs from intact forests.

Dogwood Alliance does not support the biomass industry, rather we are in favor of alternative and competitive energy sources such as solar and wind energy. However, the inclusion of native forest biomass may further reduce the share of the Renewable Energy Target for wind and solar by up to 15%.

The inclusion of native forest biomass into the Renewable Energy Target could provide an incentive for the burning of native forest wood waste for bio-energy, which could lead to devastating outcomes for biodiversity and the destruction of intact carbon stores. Wood waste from native forests should not be an eligible renewable energy source.

We urge you to save Australia from going down the same destructive path as European policymakers have in the recent past. The inclusion of native forest biomass into the national Renewable Energy Target would have adverse effects on climate, forests, communities, and local economies. Vote against inclusion of native forest biomass into Australia's renewable energy target.

For Our Forests,


Julianna Martinez

Campaign Organizer

Dogwood Alliance

828-251-2525 x24

Add your reaction Share


Australian Forests and Climate Alliance.

We are scientists, researchers and analysts with a direct interest in the management, exploitation and conservation of Australia’s native forests.
We write to express our sincere opposition to the inclusion of native forest wood as an eligible fuel source for electricity generation under the Renewable Energy Target.

The inclusion of native forest wood in the RET is being driven in part by the idea that burning native forest wood for electricity production will lower carbon emissions, replace coal and be based on residues left from sawlog production. However, these pressures are misguided and superficial. We ask that you not accept them on face value.

Federal legislation should not allow for the burning of native forests to be termed ‘renewable’ and included in the government’s Renewable Energy Target.

The claim in early June by Environment Minister Greg Hunt that forest waste is better burnt even if creating CO2, than left to rot and produce methane is an extremely ill‐informed and concerning statement as part of a Parliamentary speech.

The definition of ‘waste’ is a key point and still remains without an adequate answer. Trees cut for pulplogs for paper production are considered ‘waste’ even when they comprise most of the logs taken from a forest. Australia should not be repeating the mistakes of the past 50 years of supporting a woodchip industry based on this distorted definition of waste.

There is currently a growing demand in the Asian region for cheap wood pellets to burn in power plants. This gives an incentive to Australian forest industries to provide the resource for overseas use as well. In fact the current situation points to this being the most immediate market and one which would replace the recently collapsed export woodchip industry. If Australia begins to supply this market the demand could be difficult to curtail in the future. It could intensify the industrialisation of native forest management beyond the current practices and cause irreversible impacts on forest ecosystems.

Medium to large wood‐fired generators are very inefficient and require huge volumes of wood fuel to produce a small amount of energy. Existing forest based biomass power plants in the USA emit at least 50 per cent more CO2 than coal, for the same energy produced 1. The 70MW Laidlaw plant in NH USA burns 113 tons of wood an hour. Such demands for feed‐stocks cannot be met by the ‘waste’ materials and residues.

Greenhouse gas emissions created by forest logging include the loss of soil carbon, the output in the post logging site burn, emissions involved in transporting the materials from forests to processors then to generators and the emissions created by processing logs to a form suitable for a furnace. The additional CO2 the trees would have absorbed if left to grow should also be part of calculations. Recapturing this carbon loss by regenerating the logged forest takes hundreds of years. This is far longer than the period in which we need to address the serious problem of climate change. 2 3

Drax, the world’s biggest biomass energy plant in the UK, is selling its power for £80 per MW/hr, two‐and‐a‐half times more expensive than coal, but last year received £340 million in ‘green’ subsidies. Without these subsidies, its biomass operation would collapse.

Native forests are a critical component to climate mitigation and should be protected and restored as an extremely effective carbon capture and storage tool.

Offering Renewable Energy Certificates to biomass burners or exporters would rob credits and therefore financial assistance from Australia’s true clean green energy alternatives.

Energy‐related subsidies should be spent on measures that reduce carbon emissions and overall energy use, and on genuinely low carbon and sustainable forms or renewable energy.

Using Australia’s native forests as fuel at an industrial scale would have long term impacts, ecologically, economically and would be counter‐productive to reducing Australia’s CO2 levels. At the very least a public inquiry is needed into whether using forests in this way can help reduce CO2 emissions.

We ask you to consider these points carefully and exclude native forest wood ‘waste’ as a fuel source in the Renewable Energy Target.

Yours sincerely,

1. Professor Peter Gell, Professor of Environmental Science, Federation
University Australia
2. Professor David Lindenmayer AO, BSc, DipEd, PhD, DSc, FAA, Fenner
School of Environment and Society, ANU.
3. Adjunct Professor John R. J. French, USC, Faculty of Science, Health,
Education and Engineering, Qld.
4. Don White, Adjunct A Professor, School of Chemical and Biomolecular
Engineering, University of Sydney
5. Dr Greg. P. Clancy, Ecologist, Coutts Crossing, NSW
6. Ian Penna PhD, Honorary Research Fellow, Federation University, Ballarat.
7. Dr Mark Aaron Gregory, PhD, Chemistry, University of Melbourne Vic.
8. Dr Steve Leonard, Department of Ecology, Environment and Evolution, La
Trobe University Vic.
9. Linda Selvey, MBBS(Hon), MAppEpi, PhD, FAFPHM, Associate Professor,
Director of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Faculty of Health Sciences,
Curtin University WA.
10.Steve Phillips, B.Sc.(Hons), Ph.D. Managing Director/Principal Ecologist,
Biolink Ecological Consultants NSW.
11.Alan Roberts, MSc Solid State Physics Melb University (1967), NSW
12.Mark Graham, B. App. Sc (Env. Res Mngmnt) ‐ collaborator with UNSW,
Macquarie, UNE, UTS, SCU.
13.Dr Oisín Sweeney, Science Officer, National Parks Association of NSW .
14.Annette McKinley, M. Litt (Botany), consultant plant ecologist, NSW.
15.Barbara Stewart B.Sc (Hons) Ph D, Consultant plant ecologist, NSW.
16.Lucie Bradley, PhD, Organic chemistry, science communication, Monash
University Vic
17.Fiona Sutton, Botanist B.Biol.Sc. (Hons.), Ecology Australia, Vic
18. Dr Peter McQuillan, Honours Programme Coordinator, School of Land and
Food, University of Tasmania.
19.Marion Carey, MBBS (Hons) MPH FAFPHM FRSPH, Adjunct Associate
Professor (Research), Monash University, Vic.
20. Elaine Bayes BSc (Hons), MSc, ecologist with Rakali Ecological Consulting
21. David Cheal, Assoc. Adj. Professor, Centre for Environmental
Management, Faculty of Science & Technology, Federation University, Vic
22.Damien Cook, Principal Ecologist, Rakali Ecological Consulting, Vic.
23. Dr Graeme Lorimer, PhD, F.Airqual, 'Director, Biosphere Pty Ltd' Vic.
24.Bertram Lobert, BSc, MSc, Ecologist & Conservation Coordinator
Strathbogie Ranges Conservation Management Network.
25.Michael Calver, Associate Professor in Biological Sciences, School of
Veterinary and Life Sciences, Murdoch University.
26.Andy Baker, BSc (Hons), Wildsite Ecological Services.
27.Harry F. Recher, FRZS, AM, Senior Fellow, The Australian Museum.
28.David Milledge MRSc, wildlife ecologist (UNE).
29.Rhonda James, BBus M.EnvMan. Ecologist, Manager, Bushland Restoration
Services, NSW
30.Neil Marriott, B Ed. Environmental Consultant, Stawell, Vic.
31.John Kershaw, B.Env.Sc., Dip.Nat.Res.Mgt. Senior Botanist, Ecology
Australia Pty Ltd.
32.Keely Ough, Scientist, BSc Hons.
33. Bernard Mace, ARMIT, LIM, GMOO‐STS, RSV.
34. Geoffrey William Carr, BSc, Director, Ecology Aust Pty Ltd.
35. Ruth Marr, BSc(Hons), Ecologist, Ecology Australia.
36.Dr Linden Gillbank, School of Historical and Philosophical Studies,
University of Melbourne.
37.Doug Frood, BSc (Hons), Principle, Pathways Bushland and Environment.
38.Susie Duncan, BSc (Hons), Director, Hinterland Bush Links, SE Qld.
39.Dr Chris Belcher, BSc, MSc PhD, Principle Ecosystems Env Consultants Vic
40.Dr Heather Keith, Fenner School of Environment and Society, ANU.

2. Logging native forests causes immediate emissions (around 60% of forest carbon in SE NSW forests is lost in logging) that
cannot be recovered except over centuries (an estimated 53 years to recover 75%, 152 years to recover 90%).

Add your reaction Share

10 reasons why so-called 'biomass' has no place in Australia's Renewable Energy Target

Tarkine Rainforest, scheduled for logging, photographed by Loic LeGuilly
Tarkine Rainforest, scheduled for logging, photographed by Loic LeGuilly

Here are ten reasons why so-called 'biomass' has no place in Australia's Renewable Energy Target.

1.  Including native forest burning in the RET will restrict the uptake of real renewables

Renewable energy targets can be more than met by wind, solar and other genuinely renewable energy sources.  If burning the lungs of our land is allowed to be classified as renewable, it would take credits and assistance from the real renewable energy industry, especially from new, large-scale solar thermal and solar PV plants.

2.  Logging and burning native forests releases a lot of CO2 pollution

The purpose of the Renewable Energy Target is to encourage the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and create jobs in clean energy.  Burning native forest biomass for electricity generation is contrary to this purpose as it depletes forest carbon stocks.  Most estimates consider it to have a similar carbon intensity to burning coal.  Protecting Australia’s native forests would reduce emissions by tens of millions of tonnes of carbon per year.

3.  Native forests are more valuable left intact, sequestering huge stores of carbon

Australia’s native forests contain around 13,067 million tonnes of carbon, close to 24 times our annual national emissions profile (535.9 Mt).  Leaving these forests standing contributes much more to the effort to tackle climate change than chopping them down and burning them.  The carbon they hold, if burned, will simply add to greenhouse emissions and undermine other renewable energy sources.  The Climate Commission’s 2011 report ‘The Critical Decade’ recognises the protection of native forests as a key climate change mitigation strategy.

4.  Including biomass in the RET would drive deforestation

Eastern Australia was recently highlighted as a global deforestation hotspot.  Using native forest wood as fuel for biomass power is extremely inefficient.  A lot of wood is needed to make a small amount of electricity.  Biomass power plants need an ongoing source of wood for fuel.  This would increase pressure on Australia’s remaining native forests and become a major new driver for deforestation.

5.  If biomass electricity is allowed in the RET, whole trees will be used to fuel the furnaces

The definition of ‘waste’ already used by the woodchip industry is any tree not suitable for saw-logging.  This ranges from 30–75 per cent of the total volume, and in some instances up to 90 per cent, of the wood removed from a logged forest. 

6.  Burning forests for energy will mean increased subsidies for an industry that is already heavily subsidised by taxpayers

The logging industry in every state is unsustainably propped up by millions of taxpayer dollars every year.  There is no indication a native forest biomass industry would be able to stand on its own without government subsidies.

7.  It would be dangerous to human health

Burning native forest wood releases toxins harmful to the health of nearby communities. Wood dust is a known carcinogen and exposure is associated with skin disease, increased asthma, chronic bronchitis and nasal problems.  The available data, now established and documented, may leave federal and state governments open to legal challenges by individuals affected by sustained wood burning.

8.  The conservation values of Australia’s native forests are already under threat

Australian forests have been over-exploited for decades to meet unrealistic supply contracts.  We face a wildlife extinction crisis in many regions of Australia.  Loss of habitat from logging is a major cause.  Throughout the country logging degrades vast tracts for native forest, reducing water quality and quantity in catchments and lessening rain-making capacity.  The Australian Forest Products Association wants Australia to burn forest biomass, like Europe does, but most European forests are plantations, not natural forests.  There are different climates, water supplies and industry economics.

9.  It would have poor employment outcomes

The native forest biomass power industry would be a very small employer.  Australia has the capacity to power the whole energy sector with renewables like solar and wind.  The Renewable Energy Target has already generated more than 24,000 jobs in clean renewable energy industries and is forecast to generate tens of thousands more.

10.  Australians don’t want it

A May 2015 REACHtel poll in the federal seats of Eden Monaro and Corangamite found most voters would be less likely to buy electricity from a company that produced it from burning forests.


Add your reaction Share

Woodchip exports down the Huon River?

Huon Valley Council fired the starting gun on Monday night when it approved a planning scheme amendment proposal and a development application for export woodchipping among other industrial items at Waterloo Bay, to now be released in tandem for public consultation.

Read the full media release here.

Add your reaction Share

Tasmanian government rips up 'job-destroying' forestry peace deal

The Guardian - Tasmanian government rips up 'job-destroying' forestry peace deal Photograph: Rob Blakers

400,000 hectares of protected native forest to be opened to logging in move Liberals say will enhance job creation.

The Tasmanian government has repealed the state’s forestry peace deal after both houses of parliament passed a vote to scrap the plan on Tuesday evening.

The termination of the four-year peace deal, which ended a 30-year battle between environmentalists and loggers over Tasmania’s forests, will remove 400,000 hectares (988,000 acres) of state-wide native forest from reserves for logging.

The Forestry (Rebuilding the Forest Industry) bill passed the Liberal-dominated lower house after being amended in Tasmania’s upper house.

The bill scraps the forestry peace deal, introduced by the previous Labor government, to allow widespread logging in the protected 400,000-hectare area in six years’ time. The peace deal had provided payment to loggers to move away from felling native forests.

Read the full story here.

Add your reaction Share