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Eight people are occupying a contentious logging area in Tasmania’s Eastern Tiers this morning after a forest defender was arrested there yesterday.
“It is beyond belief that the habitat of the critically endangered Swift Parrot is being lost to logging. Logging the Swift Parrot to extinction is a choice by Tasmanian Premier Gutwein and Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley,” Bob Brown Foundation Campaign Manager Jenny Weber said.
"Swift Parrots are present in the logging area this morning. This logging and all logging in native forests needs to cease. For climate, endangered species protection and the economy, ending native forest logging is urgently needed," said Ms Weber.
Bob Brown Foundation is taking a robust approach to protect the Antarctic with two new campaigners; Alistair Allan and Carola Rackete. These new positions will enable Bob Brown Foundation to extend its campaigning beyond Australia to protect the world's greatest wilderness area, Antarctica and its ocean. The impetus for BBF’s expansion to include an Antarctic campaign was a bequest from the late scientist and environmentalist Dr Louise Crossley, the second Australian woman to lead an Antarctic station.
"In this age of climate emergency and extinction crisis, what happens to Antarctica affects all 8 billion people on the planet. Operating out of the Antarctic gateway of Hobart, we aim to challenge the multiple threats to Antarctica and to pursue its rightful status as the world’s premier natural World Heritage property", said Bob Brown.
Alistair Allan has campaigned for the Antarctic with Sea Shepherd for many years and will now lead the BBF campaign from Hobart. With a strong focus on Australia's close links the Antarctic, the initial campaign Alistair will be involved in is calling for the immediate halt to the construction of the Great White Continent's first concrete runway, near Australia's Davis base.
Mr Allan said, "The Antarctic and its oceans are a unique wilderness that deserves unique protection. This campaign will call upon the Australian public and Government to recognise our duty to become environmental champions for the Antarctic, not villains."
"The 2.7km long, monstrous runway that the Australian Government proposes to construct will increase humanity's disturbance footprint in the Antarctic by a whopping 40%. It will also cause major negative impacts to nearby penguin and seal colonies. I am confident that the Australian public does not want this environmental disaster on their hands.
Carola Rackete spent eight seasons in the Antarctic, working for the German and British polar research institute and Greenpeace. She holds a master's degree in nature conservation and is based in Europe and will work on an international campaign to develop new approaches to guarantee the long term protection of the Antarctic and its wildlife.
Ms Rackete said, "The Antarctic continent and the Southern Ocean are important for the stability of our planet's climate and therefore directly linked to the future of all living beings on this planet. The region's unique wildlife will not be able to adapt on a heating planet, which is why we have to reduce Greenhouse gas emissions and protect wildlife from industrial exploitation.”
Protests have been carried out this morning in critically endangered Swift Parrot habitat that is being lost to logging in Tasmania and NSW.
On the NSW south coast an alliance of groups representing local, regional and state wide forest conservationists, are taking action today. South East Forest Rescue, Forest Defence NSW and Friends of the Forest Mogo are halting logging in an area that contains feeding and habitat trees for the parrots.
On Tasmania’s Eastern Tiers, Bob Brown Foundation halted logging in forests where the Swift Parrot has settled to breed this season. Tasmania’s globally renowned East Coast overlooking Wineglass Bay and the Freycinet peninsula is again under threat from a heavily industrialised logging onslaught.
“The demise of the Swift Parrot around Australia is a devastating reminder that we need to take action immediately to protect our last remaining natural places,” said BBF Campaign Organiser Erik Hayward.
“All logging in Swift Parrot habitat needed to end five years ago when the fastest parrot on Earth was listed as critically endangered. It needed to halt last week when experts revealed the parrot's numbers are as low as 300 in the wild. Secure conservation reserves need to be installed to protect species on the brink of extinction,” BBF Campaign Manager Jenny Weber said.
In NSW, Friends of the Forest (Mogo) spokesperson Jos said locals are outraged at logging of swift parrot habitat following the ferocious fires the community had endured.
A Friends of the Forest (Mogo) inspection on Friday 4 December documented unburnt forest logged with multiple trees cut down and a Nectar tree marked for protection under Swift Parrot prescriptions pushed over.
“With university research news last week that Swift Parrots number less than 300, it is criminal that the nectar tree marked for protection by Forestry was pushed over in the logging operation," said Jos.
"It is unacceptable that logging would continue in key habitat areas of the Swift Parrot. Surrounding forests were burnt in last summer's fires. Now Forestry Corporation is allowing remaining wildlife refuge areas to be destroyed. We have time to save this species if we act now to protect habitat, otherwise, we risk another extinction" said Miranda Gibson, spokesperson for Forest Defence NSW.
“In Tasmania’s Eastern Tiers, forests have been verified as a core habitat area for the Critically Endangered Swift Parrot by the same government who is sanctioning logging of these hollow bearing trees. This critical habitat is being logged for wasteful woodchips. Sus Timber Tasmania’s own documentation shows that 70% of these forests are heading straight to the chip pile,” Erik Hayward said.
“We will not sit and watch while yet another species is wiped off the face of this planet for the greed of the few. Silence is complicit,” Erik Hayward said
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The Bob Brown Foundation's challenge to the Tasmanian Regional Forest Agreement in the Federal Court concluded this afternoon. "In view of the onrush to extinction caused by the destruction of Australia's forests and woodlands, this is a huge test of whether the national government's stated aim to have 'ecologically sustainable forest management' is real or a farce," Bob Brown said.
The news today is that Swift parrots are in a spiral dive towards extinction, ANU experts recorded there are just 300 Swift parrots left in the wild. The BBF maintains that the RFA Act terms 'ecological sustainable forest management' and 'Comprehensive Adequate Reserve' provisions should mean what they say.
'Instead, we have the onrush of extinctions because of forest habitats being destroyed, needlessly, day by day in Australia's forests and woodlands' Bob Brown said. In the Great Forest Case taken by the Bob Brown Foundation the defence - Commonwealth, State and Sustainable Timber Tasmania - maintained that the Tasmanian RFA contains 'non enforceable legal obligations'.
Mr Ron Merkel QC, acting for the BBF, said that leaving Tasmanian authorities to have unconditional 'discretion' in forest management, as in the RFA Act amended in 2017, was not what the federal statutory regime intended. He said the Commonwealth law either required real protection to be delivered by the RFA, or it required nothing more than a piece of paper called an RFA. Mr Merkel said the position was clear: the RFA was to deliver real protection.
The plight of the critically endangered Swift Parrot, as outlined by Australian National University researchers and published in Animal Conservation today, is horrific, Bob Brown said in Hobart today.
The news came as Bob Brown Foundation’s challenge to Tasmania’s Regional Forest Agreement began before the full bench of the Federal Court.
"Whereas a decade ago there was alarm at the estimates of 1000 pairs of remaining Swift Parrots, the news of ‘less than 300’ is notice of a death spiral. And a chief villain here is the Tasmanian government’s logging of the parrots’ nesting sites; the flattening and incineration of native forests at the expense of jobs in the island’s burgeoning tourism and hospitality industries. Taxpayers are having their pockets robbed to pay for the forests and these birds’ destruction.”
“In this era of the human-induced extinction crisis, this deliberate extinguishment of a species’ right to exist is appalling and unforgivable,” Bob Brown said.
Brown called for an immediate halt to logging of Tasmania’s native forests until and unless the spiral to extinction of the Swift Parrot and other wildlife species is reversed.
"This is a wildlife emergency and Premier Gutwein will send these parrots to extinction unless action is taken immediately. All Swift Parrot habitat here in Tasmania and elsewhere in Australia, including potential habitat, breeding and foraging habitat, must be no go zones for logging and any other destructive practice that destroys the habitat of this critically endangered species on the brink of extinction,” Bob Brown Foundation Campaign Manager Jenny Weber said.
“Releasing footage and photographs of Swift Parrots in Tasmania’s eastern tiers from last week, our citizen science project found logging in Swift Parrot habitat and documented parrots in permanent logging zones,” Jenny Weber said
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“We are carrying out a citizen science project these coming weeks to monitor Swift Parrot habitat in Tasmania’s threatened forests,” said Jenny Weber, Campaign Manager Bob Brown Foundation.
“Today in the Eastern Tiers we have stopped logging. It is up to Premier Gutwein to now move these native forest loggers into plantations and out of this critically endangered Swift Parrot habitat,” Ms Weber said from inside the logging area.
“The last wild forests for the critically endangered Swift Parrot need urgent protection in secure conservation reserves. All logging in native forests needs to cease for climate, environmental and biodiversity benefits. We will spend the next two days in the Eastern Tiers surveying for Swift Parrots, and we have more surveys planned in the coming weeks as the Swift parrot settles into breed," Ms Weber concluded.
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A group of Hobartians gathered this morning at the dockside where the new longline fishing vessel Antarctic Aurora is docked and preparing to wallop sub-Antarctic fisheries off Australia’s World Heritage Macquarie, Heard and McDonald Islands.
“In a world which has the majority of its fisheries collapsed or in rapid decline, the waters off these remote islands should be marine national parks. The long lines involve thousands of hooks spaced a metre apart, and the destination is the plates of China and the USA. We aim to put a public focus on the growing global tide of profiteering from the Antarctic and its oceans,” Jenny Weber from Bob Brown Foundation said.
“This vessel operating out of Hobart is longline, legal and lethal. Our aim is to protect the world’s last wild fisheries from plunder. The public has a right to know that Hobart is being used as a base for the expanding looting of the Antarctic marine ecosystem,” she said
"The Antarctic Aurora can drop 60,000 hooks into the pristine waters of the Antarctic to hunt for the toothfish. Antarctica’s oceans and wildlife need protection in secure marine reserves. The toothfish can live 3000m deep in icy waters and live to 50 years old. It shouldn’t be hunted with tens of thousands of hooks which can also kill sea birds, sharks and other species."
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Community members are this morning gathering at Tasmanian Executive Building calling for the protection of native forests and the ruling out of forest biomass burning.
Joining an International Day of Action on Forest Biomass Energy, Bob Brown Foundation is holding a snap action in Hobart to call for an end to subsidies and incentives for burning forest wood, for it to be excluded from renewable energy targets and for the protection and restoration of native forests to be prioritised for wildlife survival, climate benefits and biodiversity.
“Forests are not fuel. The world needs its forests for climate, community and biodiversity. Today’s international effort is focused on Europe, calling on the EU and its member countries to halt their unacceptable large scale biomass burning from forests and communities suffering the impacts. Here in Hobart, we are calling on our Premier Gutwein to rule out burning forests in furnaces for energy. It is a false and damaging climate solution,” Bob Brown Foundation’s Campaign Manager Jenny Weber said.
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Logging in critical Swift Parrot habitat has been uncovered on Tasmania’s east coast by Bob Brown Foundation Campaigners and volunteers.
“In native forests, just west of Freycinet National Park, logging of Swift parrot habitat has been uncovered this week. Tasmania was recently labelled the most secretive state in Australia, this is starkly apparent out in the forests where the ongoing flattening of forests occurs without proper scrutiny. Sus Timber Tasmania is secretly destroying habitat for a critically endangered species. All logging of Swift Parrot habitat needs to cease immediately,” Bob Brown Foundation Campaign Manager Jenny Weber said.
Bob Brown Foundation has today written to Minister for logging, Guy Barnett and Forest Practices Authority. Our Foundation is calling on the Minister to halt the logging and protect the Swift Parrot habitat and calling on Forest Practices Authority to investigate potential breaches of the Swift Parrot Important Breeding Area prescriptions including proximity to Swift Parrot sighting on 17/11/2020.
"Our Foundation is writing to the FPA, which is claimed to prevent such environmental wrong-doing. I am thinking of writing to Santa Claus because I think it might be more effective. This failure to protect the people's wild forests and wildlife is why we are taking the logging authorities to the Federal court on December 2nd/3rd," said Bob Brown.
“Our Foundation is commencing a Swift Parrot citizen science project next week, we will be surveying critical habitat for the Swift parrot that is on the logging schedule. It is vital that we are out in these native forests to defend and protect the habitat for this critically endangered species. The logging over the last few decades has been relentless in these east coast forests pushing the Swift parrot to the brink of extinction. The logging is hidden away from public scrutiny,” Erik Hayward Campaign Organiser for Bob Brown Foundation said.
“The native forests that are being lost right now is Eucalyptus foraging and potential nesting habitat. Logging of Eucalyptus ovata forests in proximity to potential Swift parrot nests and foraging habitat is in breach of logging prescriptions. These valuable Parrot forests need secure long term protection in conservation reserves,” Erik Hayward said.
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Bob Brown Foundation’s sixth annual Tarkine BioBlitz has been another roaring success. At an early count, 280 species were recorded in three days.
“Our Tarkine BioBlitz highlights the global significance of one of the last wild places on Earth, takayna / Tarkine. Citizens joined scientists to survey forests threatened by logging, the coastline with the cleanest air in the world and wild rivers to document hundreds of species and their habitats that need urgent protection,” Bob Brown Foundation Campaign Manager Jenny Weber said.
“In southern takayna / Tarkine, where logging is imminent, we discovered a gigantic myrtle during a mature habitat survey in the threatened BO102C coupe. We’re naming it the ‘Champion of the Species’. We weren’t looking for massive trees and were just doing regular transects when we found a myrtle measuring 9.6m in circumference and no shorter than 42m tall,” said The Tree Project’s Steve Pearce.
In a remote rainforest area south of Rapid River, a small group of adventurers surveyed an area imminently threatened by logging.
“In an inaccessible area of takayna / Tarkine, where few people have been besides the traditional custodians, we led a trip into this majestic, and largely undocumented, wild area towards a proposed logging area - Mount Bertha. A group of self-sufficient hikers comprising of scientists, biologists, photographers, a caver, geologist, ornithology enthusiasts and flora and fauna experts ventured in for three days to explore, document, record and bear witness to this pristine, ancient wonderland. This forest on the edge of the takayna / Tarkine wilderness deserves protection,” said Erik Hayward, Bob Brown Foundation Campaign Organiser.
“North of Rapid River, citizens observed devil experts trapping Tasmanian Devils to monitor their populations in takayna / Tarkine. Unfortunately we found the tumour disease in four out of six devils surveyed. Forests provide vital habitat for many endangered species in the Tarkine including the Tasmanian Devil. Devils travel throughout a wide range of landscapes in search of food, and sleep during the day in dens often in native forests. I would like to see all native forests formally protected in Tasmania to maintain biodiversity and to provide habitat for all species, especially endangered species,” Carnivore Conservancy Researcher Colette Harmsen said.
“Tarkine BioBlitz 2020 had over 50 surveys over three days exploring the rivers, plains, forests and coastline of takayna/Tarkine. With
Our discoveries included an endemic jewelled Moss Beetle (Notolioon gematus) living in the moss at the base of a Southern Beech (Nothofagus cunninghamii) in the threatened forests at Que River. The beautiful endemic jewelled Moss Beetles are uncommonly found, though they do reside in rainforests across Australia,” Molly Coburn, Tarkine BioBlitz organiser said.
“With 135 participants across five different camps including 30 scientists, 17 staff and volunteers, 83 participants, our BioBlitz is making history as the longest running Blitz in Tasmania. The records of species and invaluable engagement of citizens and scientists together in wild, ancient and threatened takayna / Tarkine are building the undeniable case for its secure protection,” Jenny Weber said.