The assessment of Forestry Tasmania for FSC certification is as much a test for the Forest Stewardship Council as it is for Forestry Tasmania as FSC auditors are asked to approve unacceptable logging practices and plans that insufficiently protect vital old growth forest and biodiversity, so that the product can be represented as having green credentials in international and domestic markets.
Markets For Change and The Bob Brown Foundation are participating in the process in good faith, although the organisations can see potential pitfalls in the FSC application.
Stakeholders have now been notified by FSC auditors, SCS Global, of the formal commencement of assessment of Forestry Tasmania’s application for Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification, including an on-ground audit from 4 – 9 December 2014.
“The assessment of Forestry Tasmania is a very big thing, much larger and more significant than the run of the mill FSC evaluation. Tasmania’s natural forests are in a danger zone where current clearfell and burn regimes are being advanced for green certification,” said CEO of Markets For Change, Peg Putt.
“This FSC assessment of Forestry Tasmania is as much about whether the Forest Stewardship Council will cut through the rhetoric generated by technocrats in head office to require high enough environmental standards as it is a test of Forestry Tasmania, which expects its current practices to satisfy FSC principles and criteria without any significant change to its treatment of Tasmania’s native forests.”
“Four hundred thousand hectares of significant public forests are hidden from the certifiers for the duration of an initial FSC certificate applied for by Forestry Tasmania because recent legislation designating the former proposed reserves as an expanded logging zone for Forestry Tasmania comes into effect only after the first FSC certification period,” Peg Putt said.
“This means that proposed logging of what were formerly designated as future reserves will not be assessed as part of this FSC assessment, even though they are public forests that are slated for logging, firstly for specialty species within the next five years and then later under Forestry Tasmania’s management for clearfell and burn logging as well,” Peg Putt said.
The Bob Brown Foundation has warned Forestry Tasmania’s regime is still highly controversial and if FSC certification is gained for their appalling logging, the FSC brand could be damaged.
The Bob Brown Foundation’s Campaign Manager Jenny Weber said, “Forestry Tasmania’s current 3 year logging plans are riddled with ancient forests destined for destruction, despite popular misapprehensions that old growth logging has ceased.”
“Clearfelling, cable logging, and annual autumn post-logging high temperature burns while draining the taxpayer purse are still routine practice of the government business enterprise. Environmental and social problems that go hand in hand with the daily practices of Forestry Tasmania mean that if they gain FSC certification, it is the FSC brand that will be sullied.'
“The wood requirements of Ta Ann as the single biggest player are now dictating unsustainably high levels of logging by Forestry Tasmania, effectively taking on the role formerly played by Gunns in driving logging volumes. From the Tarkine in the North to Lune River in the South, contentious forests planned for logging by Forestry Tasmania for Ta Ann, are ancient ecosystems that need protection not an FSC tick of approval,” Jenny Weber said.
Markets For Change CEO Peg Putt concluded, “Flaws that should stand in the way of FSC certification include the failure to engage the public at the level of what is to happen to particular forests in their area via district management plans, failure to properly protect biodiversity because upgrades to the Forest Practices Code prepared by scientists have never been applied as they would constrain wood production within the forest management zone, old growth forest continually being destroyed and intact forests diminished as a Forestry Tasmania continues to push roads and logging into remote areas.”
Jenny Weber 0427 366 929