Forest Stewardship Council auditors came to Tasmania recently to assess ‘Sustainable’ Timbers Tasmania for certification. Forest advocate Ed Hill and botanist Nick Fitzgerald worked with us to ensure the logging of old growth forests, destruction of Swift Parrot nests and failure to reach a standard fit to be certified was presented to the auditors.
Click on the images below to access the preliminary submission and the final submission.
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The comments by the Tasmanian government about embracing the plunder of Tasmanian forests by a dubious Sarawak logging company are rank hypocrisy.
“Given that the Tasmanian government has legislated to log high conservation value forests previously designated for protection under the abandoned Tasmanian Forests Agreement it’s a bit rich for them to then lay claim to world leading forest management standards,” Peg Putt said today.
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A proposed timber mill at Bell Bay in Tasmania’s north spells another Malaysian logging giant setting up to plunder the island’s unique native forests. A Western Australian company, Patriarch and Sons, has been established by one of Malaysia’s most disreputable logging companies, Shin Yang. Shin Yang have been responsible for wholesale destruction of intact rainforests, illegal logging, aggressive palm oil expansion and human rights violations, all documented by international environment and social justice organisations.
“This company is not welcome in Tasmania and their application to build this timber plant and woodchip mill should be refused,” Environmentalists Jenny Weber and Peg Putt said today.
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Will you send a quick submission? Use our form to send an email here.
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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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First Dog on the Moon has made a great little bumper sticker to help the Swifties along. Order your yours by clicking on the Swifty...
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Options to improve the protection of critically endangered species under national environmental laws.
Report cover: edotasmania. Swift Parrot photo by Dr Eric Woehler, BirdLife Tasmania
This report (commissioned by the Bob Brown Foundation and prepared by EDO Tasmania) examines some of the weaknesses in the current operation of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and identifies 5 key areas in which the laws should be strengthened to better protect those species and communities at greatest risk of being lost.
The summary of the recommendations in the report are reproduced here, and the full (PDF) report is linked at the bottom of this page.
Summary of recommendations
Critically endangered species and ecological communities should be afforded strong protection under Australia’s national environmental laws. Currently, inclusion of a threatened species or ecological community in the category representing the highest level of endangerment under federal laws does little to increase the protection provided.
There are 5 key areas in which our national environmental law, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, can be strengthened to provide more effective protection to critically endangered species and ecological communities.
The key findings of this report are outlined below:
1. Streamlining assessment decisions
- A species listed on the IUCN Red List in the category of Critically Endangered must be automatically upgraded to that status under the EPBC Act.
- The Minister should have clear emergency listing powers in relation to species and communities considered to be critically endangered.
- The Minister must act on the advice from the Threatened Species Scientific Committee to list a species or community as Critically Endangered.
- Commonwealth, State and Territory threatened species assessment criteria must be synchronised to allow for reciprocal recognition of assessments.
2. Strengthening recovery actions
- Within 6 months of a species or ecological community being listed as critically endangered, a recovery plan must be adopted for the species or community (or revised, if one already exists). Some exceptions may apply where the Threatened Species Scientific Committee advises that a plan is not required.
- Recovery plans for critically endangered species must identify critical habitat for the species. All critical habitat identified in such recovery plans must be entered on the Critical Habitat Register.
- Recovery plans must include clear performance indicators, and the Department of Environment must report against these indicators in its annual report.
- The Commonwealth must be required to “use its best endeavours” to get a State or Territory government to implement recovery plans and threat abatement plans within its territory.
- Commonwealth funding for environmental and scientific research programmes should give priority to proposals that will further the survival of a critically endangered species or ecological community.
3. Avoiding impacts
- The Significant Impact Guidelines should provide that any adverse impact on a critically endangered species or ecological community, including any adverse impact on listed critical habitat, will be “significant”.
- The Minister must seek, and act consistently with, the advice of the Threatened Species Scientific Committee in relation to any proposed actions which may adversely impact on a critically endangered species or ecological community.
- The Minister must be able to vary or revoke an approval where a threatened species or ecological community impacted by the approved activity is ‘uplisted’ to Critically Endangered.
- The obligation to avoid damage to registered critical habitat on Commonwealth land should extend to critical habitat on land owned or managed by a State or Territory government.
4. No delegation of responsibility
- Regional Forest Agreement (RFA) forestry operations should not be excluded from the requirement to obtain approval from the Commonwealth Minister.
- If the RFA exemption is retained, it should not apply to forestry operations in an area of registered Critical Habitat.
- The Minister must not be able to delegate approval powers to a State or Territory government for actions which will have, or are likely to have, a significant impact on a critically endangered species or ecological community. All actions likely to impact on critically endangered species or ecological communities must be assessed by the Commonwealth Minister.
5. Encouraging strong action by State and Territory governments
- The Commonwealth should exercise powers under the current Tasmanian Regional Forest Agreement to require the Tasmanian government to implement restrictions on broadscale clearing on private land.
- The Commonwealth should promote the implementation of best practice laws for the protection of threatened species by States and Territories, including through planning and building laws.
- The Commonwealth should consider entering into conservation agreements under the EPBC Act with State and Territory Governments to secure protection for critically endangered species and ecological communities.
The full report may be downloaded as a PDF here.