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This year, Bob Brown Foundation joined in Dark Mofo, holding an unofficial fringe event to show how much we love Dark Mofo but hate seeing Tasmania’s forests incinerated after logging.
The wild and scenic beauty of Tasmania, including its magnificent ancient forests, is what attracts visitors to our island. Yet Tasmania’s government continues to clear vast tracts of forests, firebombing what remains every autumn. We are just coming out of the recent 'burning season' when more than 3500 hectares of logged forests were incinerated.
Featuring projected art and sounds on the burning of Tasmania’s forests, INCENDIARY ran at the Waterside Pavilion 7-12 June on the waterfront between Dark Park and the Winter Feast.
Here are some pics of INCENDIARY by Dan Broun...
Where the wild land meets the sea in southern Tasmania, logging is decimating this place rich in culture and endemic threatened species.
LU040F is Australia’s most southerly scheduled logging coupe of 83.90ha, it contains mature stands of stringy bark (Eucalyptus obliqua), pockets of blue gum (Eucalyptus globulus), Australia’s tallest flowering plant the mountain ash (Eucalyptus regnans) and is bordered by picturesque buttongrass moorland.
Buttongrass moorland bordering scheduled clear-fell logging coupe LU040F
The landscape has a strong energy abound with tales and signs of human occupation for thousands of years. This is Lylequonny land, a clan of the South East nation.
Just a stone’s throw from this coupe is Recherche Bay, the landing site of the French scientific expeditions captained by Bruny d’Entrecasteaux where his two ships the Recherche and Esperence anchored in 1792 and 1793. These expeditions were amongst Australia’s first botanical surveys. Encounters with Lyluequonny were peaceful and well documented.
To the south and east of the coupe lies Southport Lagoon Conservation Area, home to the critically endangered herb, the swamp eyebright (Euphrasia gibbsiae psilantherea). This beautiful flowering plant occurs nowhere else on earth.
Aerial photograph of northern area of Recherche Bay, 2005
Ecologists conducted a call playback survey for the masked owl (Tyto novaehollandiae castanops) in late 2016 within the coupe and got an immediate response which indicates the owl may be roosting or nesting within the scheduled coupe. The Tasmanian masked owl has an important ecological role as a predator of the night skies.
Whilst Australia’s two largest carnivorous marsupials, the endangered Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) and spot-tailed quoll (Dasyuris maculatus) patrol the ground. This nocturnal bird of prey is listed as endangered under the Tasmanian threatened species act, primarily due to a loss of habitat much like that found in scheduled coupe LU040F.
Tasmanian Masked Owl (Photo: Luke O’Brien)
The endangered Tasmanian wedge-tailed eagle (Aquilla audax fleayi), Australia’s largest bird of prey occupy the forest and utilize a nest within the coupe. Sea eagles (Haliaeetus leucogaster) and the majestic white goshawk (Accipiter novaehollandiae) are often observed soaring the skies.
The mature stringy barks provide nesting habitat for swift parrots (Lathamus discolor) while stands of blue gum provide key foraging habitat for this nectarivore. The swift parrot is an obligatory breeding migrant (one of only two migratory parrots in the world) to Tasmania and has recently been up listed to a critically endangered status so the protection of suitable hollow bearing trees such as the stringy barks in this coupe is of utmost importance for its survival to say the least.
Mature Eucalyptus obliqua in scheduled logging coupe LU040F
The current Forest Practices Plan (FPP) which determines how logging operations are to be undertaken in this coupe is outdated and considering threatened flora and fauna have been up-listed and detected within or near to the scheduled coupe in question, a revision of the FPP must be undertaken. Logging cannot commence unless the FPP has been revised and updated to meet current threatened species protection prescriptions and forestry management procedures.
For a number of reasons, some mentioned above, logging of LU040F would be a real shame and an insult to the traditional owners and others who value this land much more than a logging coupe. It’s time forestry practices like this stopped in southern Tasmania for the forestry scarred landscape needs to heel. This place is culturally, historically and ecologically significant at a global scale.
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Letter 19th December, 2016 - via email - to the Premier of Victoria The Hon Daniel Andrews MP and The Hon Lily D' Ambrosio MP - Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change.
RE: East Gippsland's Regional Forest Agreement and the logging industry exemption from federal environment laws
Dear Premier Andrews,
Since the flawed Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs) were signed 20 years ago, fires, climate change and markets have all combined to create a vastly different set e of circumstances, threats and opportunities in Victoria's forests.
Please do not support the regressive move to extend the obsolete RFAs.
The RFAs exempt the logging industry from complying with the federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act.
The industry is given special treatment by not having to refer planned logging operations for assessment and approval under the EPBC Act.
The exemption from the EPBC Act is based on state logging regulations protecting federally listed threatened species. However, for many Victorian forest-dependant species listed under the EPBC Act, there is very limited or no protections from logging under Victorian law.
The Greater Glider is an iconic Australian animal that has recently been listed as vulnerable to extinction under the EPBC Act. Very limited protections for Greater Gliders in East Gippsland were created over 20 years ago when the species was relatively common. These protections have failed. This is evidenced by a dramatic decline in the last 20 years, mainly due to extensive logging of habitat with very weak state based protections. In other regions in Victoria, the species has no protection from logging whatsoever.
The Greater Glider's decline shows how the RFAs have failed threatened species. Despite the Greater Glider's listing as vulnerable under the EPBC Act, the outdated state based protection in East Gippsland has not been reviewed and strengthened in light of its decline and listing as threatened under federal law.
Other industries need approval from the Commonwealth Environment Minister before taking an action that may significantly impact federally listed threatened species. Native forest logging does not. The result has been catastrophic for Victoria's forest dependant wildlife.
In February 2017 the East Gippsland Regional Forest Agreement (RFA) will expire. We respectfully request that you do not extend the East Gippsland RFA and instead ensure that logging is subject to the same environmental assessment and approval processes as any other industry under the EPBC Act.
Whilst the Victorian Government is examining options for the conservation of Victoria's forests and threatened species through the Forest Industry Taskforce, it would be irresponsible to extend or reinstate the failed and out-dated East Gippsland RFA. An extension would result in prolonging the special treatment the logging industry has exploited for 20 years.
This means more destruction of habitat for federally listed threatened species at a critical time when important steps to conserve native forests and wildlife need to be taken.
Ed Hill - Goongerah Environment Centre - firstname.lastname@example.org
Jill Redwood - Environment East Gippsland - email@example.com
Andrew Lincoln - Fauna and Flora Research Collective - firstname.lastname@example.org
Cam Walker - Friends of the Earth - email@example.com
Lauren Caulfield - Lawyers for Forests - firstname.lastname@example.org
Jenny Weber - Bob Brown Foundation - email@example.com
Matt Ruchel - Victorian National Parks Association - firstname.lastname@example.org
Peg Putt - Markets for Change - email@example.com
Sarah Rees - My Environment - firstname.lastname@example.org
Steve Meacher - Friends of Leadbeater's Possum - email@example.com
Tom Crook - East Gippsland Rainforest Conservation Management Network - firstname.lastname@example.org
Oisin Sweeney - National Parks Association of NSW - email@example.com
Frances Pike - Australian Forests and Climate Alliance -firstname.lastname@example.org
John Hermans - Gippsland Environment Group - email@example.com
Martyn Hiley - Friends of Mallacoota - firstname.lastname@example.org
Susie Russell - North Coast Environment Council & North East Forest Alliance - email@example.com
Virginia Young - Australian Rainforest Conservation Society - firstname.lastname@example.org
Karina Doughty - Warburton Environment - email@example.com
Karena Goldfinch - Knitting Nannas of Toolangi - firstname.lastname@example.org
Harriet Swift - South East Regional Conservation Alliance - email@example.com
Frances Pike - Native Rules - firstname.lastname@example.org
Sarah Day - Eco Shout - email@example.com
Bertram Lobert - Strathbogie Sustainable Forest Alliance - firstname.lastname@example.org
Bernard Mace - Save Mount St. Leonard Community Campaign - email@example.com
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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:
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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.
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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.
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.
Forests intact before logging. Photo: Dan Broun. July 2015
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.
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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.
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An open letter to Australian Senators from the Dogwood Alliance.
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,