Media Release 5 April 2017
Forestry Tasmania misleads public as map shows escaped Tarkine logging burn was in adjoining reserve.
“Forestry Tasmania and the Tasmanian Government continue to ruin our Autumn days with their burns after logging, tonight the capital city of Hobart is experiencing an embarrassing sunset among logging fire plume. Forestry Tasmania has burnt hundreds of hectares today from Swift Parrot habitat on Bruny Island to ancient forests in the Huon Valley and Styx. More post logging fires have also been carried out in the Tarkine. Meanwhile the Minister has attempted to discredit conservationists today who criticise this archaic damaging practice,” Bob Brown Foundation’s Campaign Manager Jenny Weber said.
The Bob Brown Foundation has refuted the misleading claim by Forestry Tasmania that yesterday’s fire escape from the regeneration burn on coupe TE008P did not enter an adjoining reserve.
"A map produced from Forestry Tasmania's own web page interactive map tool, shows that there is no gap between the coupe and the reserve. Any claim that it had not reached the reserve is misleading", said Bob Brown Tarkine Campaigner, Scott Jordan.
"Forestry Tasmania has admitted to the fire escaping. Our concern that there was no active monitoring of this 30 hectare burn remains unanswered,” Scott Jordan said.
"Forestry Tasmania needs to answer that question,” Scott Jordan said.
Mr Jordan has also been surprised by statements by Tasmanian Government Minister Barnett.
"Mr Barnett refers to the escape as being to the southwest of the coupe. The escape we referred to was to the northwest of the coupe, and most definitely in the reserved area".
It appears the Minister is referring to an area additional to what was I observed at 3.20pm yesterday.
Attached is a photograph showing the fire escape on TE008P (viewing north west, Photo: Grant Wells), and a map taken from Forestry Tasmania's interactive map viewer, marked with the location of the two fire escapes.
Scott Jordan 0428 300 324
Jenny Weber 0427 366 929
Media Release 5 April 2017
Forestry Tasmania burn escapes into Tarkine reserve.
The Bob Brown Foundation has today condemned the ongoing burning of logging areas across Tasmania and continues to call for a ban on all post-logging burns. After a Forestry Tasmania post-logging burn escaped yesterday in the Tarkine, conservationists are calling for these burns to be banned to remove the climate, ecological and public health damage that these fires cause. Releasing surveillance images, Bob Brown Foundation has shown the impact of these high-intensity burns and the escaped fire near Temma.
“Tasmania’s logging industry makes a shameful and massive contribution to annual greenhouse gas emissions every year, by logging vast swathes of native forests and then burning the timber left on the forest floor after logging. The fact is that the 20 burns across the state yesterday by Forestry Tasmania included areas of forest that should not have been logged at all. They were once habitat for endangered wildlife and massive storehouses of carbon,” Bob Brown Foundation’s Campaign Manager Jenny Weber said.
At 3:20pm yesterday, a monitoring flight by the Bob Brown Foundation observed and reported that a Forestry Tasmania regeneration burn had escaped the coupe boundary and was burning into reserved forests.
The Bob Brown Foundation funded helicopter spent ten minutes circling in the area. At the time of the observation, it was clear that there were no Forestry Tasmania personnel present. The fire escape was immediately reported to Forestry Tasmania.
"That Forestry Tasmania was conducting 12 simultaneous regeneration burns in northwest Tasmania, and yet clearly failed to engage in proper monitoring, is breathtaking irresponsibility", said Bob Brown Foundation Tarkine Campaigner, Scott Jordan.
"This is a landscape still recovering from devastating fires in the summer of 2016 and to light a 43 hectare fire and walk away from it is inviting disaster,” Scott Jordan said.
The escaped fire was burning in a reserve with high conservation values, 6km southwest of the Arthur River township. This reserve is subject to the Forestry (Unlocking Production Forests) 2017 Bill currently before the Tasmanian Parliament.
"We called this breach in to Forestry Tasmania before it became a larger incident. The taxpayer funded logging agency should be removing this risk from our forests and community by ceasing the ongoing burning after logging,” Scott Jordan said.
"The public is owed an explanation for this negligence. Furthermore the public and our intact native forests are owed a future without these destructive post-logging burns that contribute to pollution, threats to human health and damaging climate impacts,” Jenny Weber said.
Full resolution photograph attached taken yesterday in Tasmania’s Tarkine 5 April 2017 Credit Grant Wells.
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The Great Awakening has a story and an interview with Lisa Searle.
“At the end of March 2017 we met Lisa. At this time, she and her friends have been camping for 6 weeks in the Tarkine rainforest in Tasmania to protect it from logging. In the following video, she explains the ecological disaster it would cause.” Yann
Conservationists call for Tarkine protection as threatened species recorded in proposed logging area
Media Release 3 April 2017
Bob Brown Foundation has renewed calls for protection of Tasmania’s Tarkine today after recording a spotted-tailed quoll on wildlife cameras in the forests where logging is proposed by Forestry Tasmania. Releasing images today of the quoll.
“Prime Minister Turnbull and Opposition leader Bill Shorten need to scrap the federal logging act which entrenches the ongoing loss of native forests and wildlife by making logging exempt from environmental laws,” Campaign Manager Jenny Weber said.
“Our Foundation has had a conservation camp in the Tarkine’s Frankland river forests since 14 February, as Forestry Tasmania had planned to start logging in February. Community members have been camping in these forests, conducting wildlife surveys and a tree-sit vigil,” Jenny Weber said.
“The spot-tailed quoll was recorded in the proposed logging coupe on one of our wildlife sensor cameras. One of the main threats to this threatened species is the loss and fragmentation of habitat, especially areas of suitable forest with sufficient numbers of den sites and prey,” Jenny Weber said.
“These Tarkine forests are habitat for a long list of endangered and rare species, and this fact alone is enough to justify protection of the areas, where logging due to start any day. Endangered Wedge-tailed Eagles have two nests in and around the proposed logging area, we have recorded the endangered Masked Owl and Tasmanian Devil in the forest and the river that runs for 3 km along the boundary of the logging coupes is critical habitat for the world’s largest freshwater crayfish,” Jenny Weber said.
“Logging in Tasmania is having devastating impacts on the environment, climate, wildlife and the economy. Tasmania needs another way forward than ongoing logging of native forests for climate and forest destruction and species extinction. Here in the Tarkine, on the banks of the Frankland River, is a wildlife rich, ancient forest that can still be protected from logging and added to a Tarkine National Park,” Jenny Weber said.
The Bob Brown Foundation is hosting a public forum in Launceston this evening at the Annexe Theatre, with speakers Bob Brown, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, and Tasmanian Legislative Council Member Rosemary Armitage, with Launceston Legislative Council candidates Emma Anglesey and Neroli Ellis also talking.
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Uli & I just want to say what a lasting impression of a lovely group of caring volunteers we experienced Thursday till Friday. And what a real privilege it is to have visited you all. And to have experienced the beauty of the Frankland River & forest area & to see the destructive results of the earlier logging trucks so close to the river.
Thanks once again for your good work & dedication ... if we all cared a little more, this fast disaster could be stopped.
(All photos by Uli and Lynn)
We’re not, I have to say, protestors. We love trees and have been working hard over the last 2 years to raise awareness of the world's big trees but we're quite moderate in our approach. However, though our love of forests and our work promoting significant trees we felt personally compelled to visit the camp, if only to lend our skills to the campaign and make a contribution to saving this forest.
While we were there, we did have a few goals in mind. The Tree Projects, the organisation that we run, is all about communicating the true scale of trees and promoting canopy exploration. We have been wanting to test out our new drone for weeks now. We wanted to document a Myrtle with the aim of testing out our gear but also to give the resulting image to the BBF to use as a campaign tool. We also wanted to test out a new portaledge for sleeping in the trees. This was a particularly exciting prospect as we had never slept in a tree before.
Thanks to Erik who found the Myrtle, we didn’t really have to do any searching. Erik found a magnificent individual just 250m from the road and yes inside the logging coup. Getting our equipment to the tree, even though it was only 250m, took an extraordinary effort. 45 minutes of tumbling, falling and plunging our way through the incredibly thick understory was a trying experience especially with our delicate equipment. As if from a Hollywood film we struggled towards an invisible GPS point thought this tangle 200m to go, then 100m…. 50m….. 25m…. and at 15m we still couldn’t see the tree. Then it was revealed: a very tall Myrtle in its absolute prime situated at the very edge of a lush gully and glowing in the morning sun.
We quickly set about surveying the surrounding forest checking for its suitability. Our style of image building requires a gap in the canopy big enough to fly the drone. Success! We couldn’t have hoped for a more perfect situation for our subject to be in. We setup the equipment with much excitement and anticipation and within 3 hours we had recorded all we needed. There were a few exciting moments when strong gusts of wind pushed our drone dangerously close to a nearby tree. Also, we had frustrating issues with clouds blocking and revealing the sun at quite inopportune times, resulting in having to hover the drone in position waiting for the light to return, wasting many precious minutes of battery life. All we could do now is hope that once we got the images back to the computer we had all the pieces of this giant puzzle.
With this task complete and our batteries empty we struggled once again back to the road and back to camp ready for a strong cup of tea before our next goal of setting up the portaledge. We have been climbing into the trees for 4 years now, but never had slept in one. This was until we were contacted by John Middendorf at Big Wall Gear who offered us the use of one of his new designs. A portaledge is basically a tent for rock climbers who have to spend more than one day climbing and need to sleep overnight on the wall.
For our purposes, it seemed perfect a quick and easy setup in the canopy and a comfortable place to sleep. It was an extraordinary opportunity for us and although the wind was blowing a strong easterly, flexing the tree and branches, we couldn’t pass it up. I won’t lie, it was a rough night as are most new experiences. The wind did not let up all night and a few gusts really did throw around the platform and more scarily, push the tree around which is quite the experience when trying to sleep. But, as if to contrast this the sunrise, the following day made it all worthwhile.
Dawn over the top of the forest brought a chorus of birdsong with green rosellas, superb wrens and strong billed honeyeaters all staring in the show on this brisk pre dawn. In just a few seconds the sun rose over the distant horizon and the steel blue hues were transformed into a burning orange. The tree that had held me all night now blazed with warmth as did the entire canopy landscape of the proposed logging coup. I’ve always thought that the hardest experiences result in the greatest experiences and on this occasion that was very true.
As our third morning dawned then progressed it was apparent that our time was up, again.
Steve & Jen
An article in The Examiner by 18 Mar 2017
Conservationists are ramping up their protest efforts as they brace for Forestry Tasmania to begin logging two coupes in the Tarkine.
It comes as the Forestry (Unlocking Production Forests) Bill 2017 heads to the upper house, aimed at unlocking a further 100,000 hectares in the region, as part of a proposed 356,000 hectares statewide, after the legislation passed through the House of Assembly early Friday morning.
Meanwhile, loggers were expected to move into the already available Frankland River area “any day”, where the Bob Brown Foundation was holding a vigil in a tree canopy.
Activist Scott Jordan said the vigil camp was well into its fourth week. “We’re watching over the area and conducting surveys and presenting evidence back to Forestry Tasmania as to why they shouldn’t be logging it.”
With artist Calandra Kidd and photographer Charles Chadwick, Andy photographed the threatened forests.
Charles Chadwick, Tasmanian photographer visited Frankland River threatened forests.
Here are his wonderful photographs:
It is a battle that has been fought over many decades, occasionally popping up in national and international media.
This time, a treetop vigil organised by the Bob Brown Foundation, has sparked a flicker of global interest in the Tarkine again, as Forestry Tasmania prepares to move in on two coupes earmarked for logging around the Frankland River.
If Forestry Tasmania does start logging and conservationists continue their occupation in the North-West, the state government’s anti-protest laws will come into effect.
A spokesman for Forestry Tasmania says he will not comment on the activities of protesters, but confirmed loggers intend to harvest the area this year.
“The Forest Practices Plans for [the two coupes] take into account forest values, including management prescriptions for threatened species and other special values.”
Environmental groups, including the Bob Brown Foundation, Save the Tarkine and the Wilderness Society say the wild region should be listed for national heritage, world heritage, and be given national park status.
But the federal government says the area is not being considered for potential listing on any fronts.
“In December 2015, the meeting of environment ministers discussed updating Australia’s World Heritage tentative list,” a spokesman for federal Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg said. “The Tasmanian government did not put forward any places for inclusion on the tentative list.
“We regularly receive correspondence from interested parties on a range of matters including potential heritage sites. However, it is incumbent on the state government to put forward a nomination.
“The Tasmanian government has not requested the Tarkine be considered for World Heritage listing, and the department understands the area has not been assessed for its potential outstanding universal value.”
As peaceful protesters occupy the Frankland River area where Forestry Tasmania is due to begin logging “any day”, environmentalists are also watching closely as a contentious new forestry bill heads to the upper house.
On Friday, the state government passed its Forestry (Unlocking Production Forests) Bill 2017 in the House of Assembly, after a debate of nearly 12 hours – one of the longest in the history of the Tasmanian parliament. The government hopes to now push it through the upper house before a two-week parliamentary break.
Under the new legislation, the Labor-Green Tasmanian Forest Agreement, known as the ‘peace deal’, will be overturned. It had a six-year moratorium on logging in 400,000 hectares of Tasmanian forests, including parts of the Tarkine.
If it passes the upper house, the legislation will unlock 356,000 hectares of forests, including around 100,000 hectares in the Tarkine, for logging from July 1, 2018.
Forestry isn’t the only fight going on in the area. The Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre says opening up takayna (the Tarkine) to 4WD tracks will wreck indigenous heritage.
The government is making changes to the Aboriginal Relics Act, which are welcomed by the Aboriginal community, but the centre’s chief executive Heather Sculthorpe says the tracks in the Tarkine undermine the positive amendments.
“Whilst they’re bringing in amendments to the Relics Act, they’re continuing with their determination to open takayna to 4WD tracks, which will … wreck Aboriginal heritage.”
Environment Minister Matthew Groom says improvements to the act show a commitment by the government to reset its relationship with the Tasmanian Aboriginal community. “The additional protections this bill provides for our rich Aboriginal heritage is another way we are demonstrating this.”
The Tarkine is home to the world’s second-largest temperate rainforest, wild rivers, buttongrass moorland, unique cave formations and rare Tasmanian species.
Resources Minister Guy Barnett says its new “unlocking forestry” bill, which will open up around 100,000 hectares of the Tarkine to logging, will mean the government can stop subsidising Forestry Tasmania to the tune of $25 million a year.
"Our legislation will end the subsidies by making available for harvest trees formerly locked up under the job-destroying Labor-Green forest deal - trees which can be harvested more economically (without subsidies) than up to one-quarter of those in the existing production forest.
"The only other way to end the subsidies is to reduce the amount of trees harvested by around a quarter, costing up to 700 jobs, which is something we simply won't countenance."
However, Forestry Tasmania will not harvest those contentious areas because it might affect its Forest Stewardship Council certification bid. Instead, the areas will be leased out to private companies.
The new legislation does not have the support of the opposition or the Greens, however, or even the state’s peak forest industry representative body.
“It will create unnecessary sovereign risk in log supply and problems in our markets, and a return to the ‘forestry wars’,” the Forest Industries Association of Tasmania said in a statement.
This is certainly not the first time the Tarkine has been in the spotlight as a result of environmental protest. The current debate is around forestry, but it has just as often been about mining.
In 2012, for example, during the previous government, there were 10 mine proposals and 58 exploration licences across the wilderness area at one stage.
Then-federal Environment Minister Tony Burke had let the region’s emergency heritage listing lapse the previous year, and was called upon to intervene in a similar way to the 1983 Franklin Dam case.
“The mining stuff is still simmering away, but the prices have dropped so much that it’s not viable, which is what we were saying quite a few years ago,” Tarkine campaigner Scott Jordan said.
“In the meantime, the state government has torn up the forestry agreement and seems hellbent on reigniting the forestry debate, and so is pushing into areas that just shouldn’t be logged.
“We want intervention from the state government and the federal government - any one of them can stand up and put a stop to this.
“We’ve campaigned for the Tarkine for over two decades now. This passage of this legislation won’t change that.”
Despite the decades of battle, all three environmental groups are united in the belief that the Tarkine will eventually receive heritage listing and national park status.
“I think it absolutely will happen eventually. It’s just a matter of having a government that wakes up to the opportunity,” Wilderness Society spokesman Vica Bayley said.
Bob Brown says Tasmania is the “place to be”.
“That isn’t because of logging. It isn’t because of mining. It is because of our wild and scenic heritage, certainly our historic heritage, and our marvellous foods and wines and the cleanest air in the world, and the Tarkine’s a winner on all things.
“Much like with the campaigns of the past, it’s just a matter of whichever big party sees it’s going to have a winner in the Tarkine.”
The Bob Brown Foundation has developed a campaign to create a 104-kilometre Trans Tarkine Track, which will take visitors through rainforest, over the Norfolk Range and around the West Coast with Aboriginal rangers to help people along the way.
“It’s much longer than the Overland Track or Cradle Mountain, and the South Coast Track,” Dr Brown said.
He says the development will cost in the order of $20 million, and believes it will bring more prosperity to the North-West than mining or forestry if it goes ahead.
The groups intend to continue lobbying until the region is awarded national park status or world heritage listing.
“Until we get that protection, our job is pretty straightforward, in convincing the public that these areas have to be protected,” Mr Jordan said.