A new conservationist and passionate woman has climbed into the Tarkine canopy vigil for the coming days.
Logging was due to start in February in the ancient Frankland River, Tarkine forests!
First day of holding vigil in the treetops! I would like to firstly acknowledge the takayna people and the thousands of years of co-inhabitance and management of this exquisite forest and river system that I've been privileged enough to spend the last few days wandering through.
This is my first time in takayna and I'm in awe of this ancient place, I've been camping in a gully among some huge myrtles, nestled in the sphagnum moss. It's been beautiful spending time peering closely at the ferns, mosses, lichens and insects which I'm thinking about now sitting high in this peppermint gazing out at the treetops and distant mountains, the vastness of this wilderness and the tiny, complex intricacies of its ancient ecosystems.
We have spent the last couple of days on the ground getting to know the lay of the land better and looking for the hollow where the masked owl that danced in the air above our heads a couple of nights ago lives, we have heard its call every evening as it leaves its hollow and are looking for scats below the huge number of hollow bearing habitat trees in the proposed logging coupes.
The sun has just come out after a chilly morning and is hitting the hammock, a very welcome new addition! Feeling very grateful for the two amazing, staunch women that preceded me in the vigil sit and for the other beautiful folk who I've met since arriving last week, who I am watching laugh and talk while they cook around the campfire below, we stand against incredible odds but we are cultivating something very special here in the bush.
Bob Brown Foundation & Save The Tarkine
Media Release 6 March 2017
Conservation groups Bob Brown Foundation and Save the Tarkine have called on Liberal MP Joan Rylah to apologise and retract comments on her Facebook page that refer to community members at the Tarkine's Frankland River threatened forests as 'violent protesters'.
"With parliament resuming this week, the Tasmanian Government is preparing to allow logging in a further 357,000 hectares of high conservation value forests across Tasmania, while highly controversial, ancient forests like the Tarkine's Frankland River forests are in the current logging schedule. Meanwhile, Liberal MP Joan Rylah is using false accusations in an attempt to baselessly discredit our campaign highlighting this imminent logging," Bob Brown Foundation Campaign Manager Jenny Weber said.
"A team of volunteers has been camped in threatened forests at the Tarkine's Frankland River for the past weeks. They are conducting field surveys and documenting and broadcasting the outstanding natural values at risk from the logging that Forestry Tasmania planned to commence last month," Jenny Weber said.
"Ms Rylah has lambasted the peaceful community members in an error-laden social media post. Ms Rylah owes these volunteers an apology. They have broken no laws and are peacefully camped in public forests. Organisers notified both Forestry Tasmania and Tasmania Police of the planned camp prior to anyone entering the area", said Save the Tarkine Campaign Coordinator, Scott Jordan.
"When Ms Rylah and Tasmanian Resources Minister Guy Barnett passed by the camp and took photographs of the camp, the volunteers waved. Hardly an act of violence," Scott Jordan said.
"Ms Rylah's comments are becoming quite Trump-esque. She needs to publicly apologise, and the Premier should discipline her for these false and inflammatory comments," Scott Jordan said.
"Ms Rylah was called to account last week after failing to promptly delete threats of violence made by her supporters on her Facebook page, after numerous posts threatened violence against conservationists camped in the Frankland River forests. She has also been peddling 'alternative facts', including that the coupes in question were previously logged 120 years ago, despite the fact that Forestry Tasmania first pushed roads into this area of intact ancient forests in 2010," Jenny Weber said.
"There has never been an incident of violence perpetrated by conservation protesters in the Tasmanian forest campaigns over the past decades. This gross distortion of the truth by Ms Rylah only serves to mislead the public," Jenny Weber said.
Jenny Weber 0427 366 929
Scott Jordan 0428 300 324
Below - comment on Joan Rylah's Facebook page by Joan Rylah.
Wanton vandalism of public infrastructure is not acceptable, as show in those pictures and the comments which flowed.
These violent protesters believe they are above the law and that is what makes everyday people very angry because it is just that- a belief by the enviro's that they are superior and further, that it is their behaviour that is unlawful and destructive.
As to your presumptions as to what I may see when I look at the forests of the Arthur-Pieman, you are wrong. I will state that all the parts of a living systems follow a cycle to senescence and re-birth. Making best use of the system, not just burning it as the only broadacre tool the aboriginal people's used, is what all farming is about. The foresters have done and continue to do absolutely amazing work in planning, environmental management so that today we do not 'clearfell' - implying hundreds of acres of cleared land - but operate in tiny spaces to optimise and protect habitat and timber species while keeping workers safe.
Half of Tasmania's land mass is reserved.
This land in question has never been part of a reserve but managed forest since white settlement and before as I raised earlier.
I celebrate what we have done with these forests because people like yourself are unable to see what has been created by generations of foresters in what you call the Tarkine - a forest so similar to other reserved forests you can't tell the difference. I say this respectfully but I will rebuff a direct challenge to the country and people I know and care about. Joan
Had such a great day today. Peaceful, calm, no unwelcome visitors, and beautiful clear skies. The ground crew did an amazing mission paddling an inflatable raft down a section of the Frankland River to have a look, take photos and see how feasible it is as a paddling route. They had a great time and got some beautiful shots of the threatened forest from the river. A couple of budding riggers came up for a visit as well and we had a 3-person game of scrabble up the sit! Also rigged up a hammock 20m off the ground and spent some quality time lounging around in it.
Being here in this forest by ourselves and being able to appreciate it in peace and quiet gives a strange and false sense of security. It is hard to believe that if we weren't here, there may already be the screech of chainsaws and the roar of heavy machinery ripping through this forest and silencing all the creatures that call this place home. I can't imagine these trees crashing to the ground, can't imagine the terrible vacuous silence that follows when the machines switch off for the day. How can that happen here? So much powerful destruction, and for what?
The more time I spend here the deeper the love I feel for this place becomes. It is such a powerful place and I can feel it taking hold of me. I will not let these forests fall without a fight!
So after a few days on the ground back at work (both the staff and my patients were very happy to see me back, which was nice), I am back up in the tree. It is amazing to be back. Climbed up at sunrise and said goodbye to the amazing Jess, who was reluctant to come down and sad to leave but was very excited to be back on the ground and enjoyed the novelty of using her legs by running circles around the camp!
Yesterday when I arrived back at camp I took advantage of my time on the ground to go and have a swim in the incredible Frankland River, which you can't see from the treesit. It was so beautiful. Cool, tannin-stained water rippling over the rocks, with celery top pines, native laurel, and leatherwood stooping low along the banks. Ran into some journalists from Griffith university who were here visiting whilst we were down at the river and did an impromptu interview with them.
I am so excited to be back here and so happy that we are well into Week 2 and going strong. Morale around camp is high, with lots of laughter from the ground floating up to the treesit through the day, and conversations around the campfire stretching well into the night.
I had a special visitor today, Emma Wasson, the Bob Brown Foundation's Melbourne campaigner. She climbed up and spent an hour or so up here with me chatting about the Tarkine and our ongoing battle to save it. We recorded some footage and took some photos to take back to Melbourne. Sounds like there are loads of passionate people in Victoria who really want to see this place saved and I felt so encouraged by Emma's stories of local community groups forming and taking action.
It's such a beautiful day today and the sun is shining. Lots more visitors heading in over the next couple days, but more are always welcome! If u want to drop in and stay for a few hours or a few days (or longer!) get in touch.
You can visit the camp - contact Jenny at BBF, [email protected]
Media Release 3 March 2017
This morning Forestry Tasmania has confirmed that the contentious and threatened Tarkine coupes have not been logged before. Bob Brown Foundation campaigners and community members have been camping in the threatened forests on the banks of the Frankland River since the 14th February, after Forestry Tasmania informed the Foundation campaigners that they intended to log the forests in February.
“The Frankland River forests should never have had roads pushed into them by Forestry Tasmania, but there is still time to halt the proposed logging and secure protection for the old growth forests,” Jenny Weber from the Bob Brown Foundation said today.
“Logging in the Tarkine’s Frankland River forests has been delayed for the past month as community members have been camping and treesitting in the threatened forests, conducting wildlife surveys, recording 42 species of birds, mammals and invertebrates in the short time. The endangered Masked Owl has been recorded each night for the past nine” Bob Brown Foundation’s campaign manager Jenny Weber said.
“I have been seeking information from Forestry Tasmania for the past two years on these threatened forests with the aim to raise awareness about their conservation values and the threat of destruction. This week, I was informed by the District Forester that Forestry Tasmania will not be providing me with any further information with regards their planned logging in the Tarkine, due to our ‘protest activity and publicly stated intent’. I called the stakeholder engagement coordinator at Forestry Tasmania to express concern at this lack of cooperation and transparency. I also questioned a public statement printed today in the Circular Head Chronicle that ‘It is land that has been previously harvested’, I was informed that this was a misquote and incorrect,” Jenny Weber said.
“Bob Brown Foundation is campaigning for the protection of the Tarkine in a National Park and these forests are at the heart of the proposed reserve. They are old growth forests, and rather than destroying the unique and fragile landscape, the Tasmanian government can protect their high conservation values. Logging of native forests in Tasmania comes at a huge cost to the environment, economy, climate, and the taxpayer,” Jenny Weber said.
“Tasmanian MP, Joan Rylah, has been claiming that these forests have been logged before. A claim that has been debunked by Forestry Tasmania, who have confirmed that these forests have not been previously logged. These forests are old growth eucalyptus forests with rainforest understorey. Forestry Tasmania only pushed in new roads for logging in 2010. The forests are contiguous with 6000 hectares of intact forests in the Sumac Regional Reserve,” Jenny Weber said.
Meanwhile, Joan Rylah MP has had vile and threatening comments from her supporters on her Facebook page, that threaten violence to the community members conducting themselves peacefully in these threatened forests. (see attached copies of these threats)
“Today, World Wildlife Day celebrates and raises awareness of the world’s animals and plants, while Tasmania’s Government pushes ahead to log the habitat of many vulnerable and endangered species in the Tarkine. The forests planned for logging on the banks of the Frankland River are home to the federally listed vulnerable species, the world’s largest freshwater crayfish, Astacopsis gouldi, and federally listed endangered species, the Tasmanian wedge-tailed eagle, Masked Owl and Tasmanian Devil,” Jenny Weber said.
Contact – Jenny Weber 0427 366 929
Copies of threats on Joan Rylah's Facebook page may be downloaded from these links:
Tuesday night was pretty special, we caught a glimpse of the southern lights from the sit whilst munching on a delicious warm curry. Shortly after some new crew arrived at camp. They all had a great first morning wandering the Gondwana and Frankland tracks. Our two newcomers are first timers to the Tarkine and both have already had their hearts stolen by its beauty and significance. Naturally.
Said newcomers were quite amazed by the chimneys they found on their way down to the river. These are the little mounds formed by the underground labyrinth of burrowing crayfish species. Tasmania is a globally renowned biodiversity hotspot of freshwater crayfish. 13 of the 15 burrowing crayfish species occurring in Tasmania are endemic and 5 of those are threatened. Environmental degradation due to forestry poses a major threat to burrowing crayfish populations.
It was another warm day here in the North-West and as I laid in the shade of my tarp a brown falcon flew over head. Despite my efforts to call it back for a photo it was on a mission and quickly disappeared above the canopy. It's been a nice afternoon playing scrabble in the shade with new friends who climbed up for a visit. Time passes much faster with friends around. The still day has allowed for clear conversations between the tree percher and the ground dwellers. Thankyou for keeping me smiling and fed friends on the ground. Your passion is a gift.
It's my third day in the sit and I have come to the realization that I am horrible at crosswords and that harnessed yoga is more challenging than hot yoga. I'm learning new ways to entertain myself but being confined can be challenging for a fidgety person like me. The ground crew have cottoned onto the fact that I really like chips and they're starting to use this information to their advantage. Sending messages out to Scott Jordan implying that I am in desperate need of chips (somehow not many seem to get me). Scott however being the amazing man that he is replies: "Tell her I accept this quest. The sun shall not set without crisps first being offered up into her tree." A few hours later true to his word he is present with a variety of flavours! Thank you Scott (on behalf of the crew)!
It has been a very warm day (by Tasmanian standards) and some of the ground crew have resorted to building a makeshift shelter below the sit. The rest have gone to splash around in the refreshing shallows of the Frankland River that is just short walk away from camp. The Frankland River is home to the largest freshwater invertebrate in the world! That's right... No back bone and the size of my torso!! Pretty amazing. Astacopsis gouldii or the giant freshwater crayfish are an already threatened species and logging in this area will place further pressures on their populations. Sedimentation due to logging will greatly impact the Frankland River. Streamside reserves won't provide adequate protection for these ancient creatures. Healthy rivers systems are crucial. We all live downstream!
For the past two weeks conservationists have been camped in threatened Tarkine forests, as Forestry Tasmania was scheduled to start logging this month.
With just one day left in February we are hoping the logging has been delayed! As long as these ancient forests are on the logging schedule they are not safe. We are calling for their secure protection.
Steven Pearce and Jen Sanger climbed to the treesit with Lisa Searle last week and filmed this great piece.
Born and bred in the beautiful land of Tasmania! I'm in my final year of a science degree majoring in both zoology and plant science... Something I was driven to do to help me gain a deeper understanding of how forest ecosystems work and why it's so crucial that they are protected. To me these forests are more important than almost anything, they're the stronghold of not only all life but that of more than one Tasmanian endangered species. Intact forest and ancient Gondwanan forest has become so rare that it must be treated as such. There is an ongoing list of reasons as to why takayna needs to be protected and only one as to why it shouldn't: short-term gain. Sitting in a tree seems like a pretty simple thing to do when you compare it to what the forests of takayna/Tarkine provide us with.
I was woken by a beautiful bright sunrise over the myrtle forest canopy. It was a chilly and gusty morning and since the sit doesn't usually get full sun until 3pm I was a bit cold and decided to stay in my swag cocoon. I read my book and nodded back off to sleep.
I awoke a few hours later from a whistle down below and was quickly greeted with a delicious hot coffee. I sipped away and watched some of our ground crew yelling at the swarms of march flies that have taken up residence by the camp fire whilst the rest wandered off to walk the 'Gondwana track' circuit that we marked out a few days ago. The track follows through classic Tarkine myrtle forest and is teeming with various fern species, fungi and countless moss and liverworts species making homes on fallen trees. It's forest succession in action!
We said goodbye to our supporters Leia and her children Fillip and Vida this morning. Leia is originally from Croatia and first visited the Tarkine 8 years ago and fell in love. A love that has remained with her until now and has brought her back her to the Tarkine for a second time to share these unique forest ecosystems with her children. I hope with all my heart the Tarkine and its inhabitants are here for future generations and for the health and wellbeing of this planet.
Colette Harmsen, a wildlife veterinarian, has been one of the key campaigners based in the threatened Frankland River forests for the past two weeks. In that time she has set up a number of wildlife cameras and recorded healthy Tasmanian Devils, an endangered species. Here is the latest image of a devil:
"Our lovable Tassie devils deserve a place to live without the threat of logging of their forest homes. You'd think that the dense, cold, wet forests in the Tarkine would be inhospitable to many animals, but here in the Tarkine forests, Tassie devils are well at home. Using their exquisite sense of smell, they move through the environment with relative ease, searching for a feed.
Our fauna cameras have recorded three healthy looking individuals so far, deep in the threatened logging coupes. With their numbers dwindling elsewhere in the state, it is time for native forest logging to cease, giving our devils a fair chance at survival."