Wilderness lost as Tasmania opens world heritage area for new growth

Matthew Denholm, Tasmania Correspondent, THE AUSTRALIAN JANUARY 15, 2015

 The Australian

TASMANIA’S  Liberal government is to take the “wilderness’’ out of the state’s iconic Wilderness World Heritage Area, rezoning it to allow tourism developments, more aircraft and ship access, and even selective logging.

The radical plans, which have provoked outrage from conservationists, are contained in a draft ­revised management plan for the Tasmanian Wilderness WHA ­obtained by The Australian.

As well as suggesting the term “wilderness’’ be dumped from the title of the 1.5 million hectare property, which covers a fifth of the state, the draft plan reclassifies its dominant “wilderness zone’’ as a “natural zone’’.

The plan opens up this former wilderness zone to new tourist accom­modation, previously limited to visitor service sites.

As well, it increases access for aircraft and paves the way for new cruise ship stays and hut developments, while creating a process for logging of special species timbers, previously banned.

Also dumped is the existing plan’s overriding vision to manage the globally significant region so as to leave it “in as good or better condition than at present”.

 

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