A forest a day! July 18: CO003A
The Counsel forests are an area of great ecological significance, containing a high level of floristic diversity. The area consists of predominantly mixed forest with some stands of dry sclerophyll forests and some areas of callidendrous and thamnic rainforests. Still Wild Still Threatened have documented evidence of Tasmanian devils in this area. CO003A is approximately one kilometer from the current Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. It has been recommended to be included within the boundary. The existing boundary of the TWWHA in this area is considered inadequate as it follows the contour and leaves “the best development of the tall eucalypt system” outside the boundary of the protected area (Hitchcock 2012: 138).
This site is located on rocky terrain and has the potential to feature sink holes and caves. This coupe is just north of one of the most extensive tracts of karst in Australia that has been rated as nationally significant in the Tasmanian Geoconservation Database. Hitchcock recommended that this whole region, including this coupe, be protected in order to maintain the integrity of the karst systems and in particular to keep the catchment pristine.
The Counsel area is known for its tall eucalypts and this coupe was no exception, featuring significant tall trees. Of all the registered “giant trees” in Tasmania there are three main clusters in the state. The Counsel is one of these, “indicative of the superlative form of the tall eucalypt forest in the precinct” (Hitchcock 2012: 138). This coupe and the areas around it are considered to be essentially the last relics of the once extensive tall eucalypt forests in this region. Industrial scale forestry has been increasingly encroaching on this particular tract. Given that so much of the surrounding forest has been decimated, these relics have become increasingly important for conservation (Hitchcock 2012: 137). These forests are also important for regional conductivity, being connected to the Florentine Valley in the south, which also contains significant tall eucalypt forest (Hitchcock 2012: 137). This regional connectivity is one the key reasons for this area to be protected (Hitchcock 2012: 138).
This coupe has sadly been logged now, in a time when it should have been protected by a moratorium. In fact, this coupe was logged just after the March 15th deadline for the original moratorium that was promised by the Statement of Principles, that had been set to cover 572,000 hectares of forest, but was never fully implemented. However, there is still intact old growth surrounding this coupe. Hitchcock states:
“The ENGO proposed reserves include some recently logged coupes and it is considered that these logged areas should never-the-less be included in any protection to ensure as far as possible a consolidated block of forest that facilitates on going natural processes in the protected lands in the longer term” (Hitchcock 2012: 143).
We are calling for immediate formal protection of these forests, the rehabilitation of this site and the immediate cessation of any logging in the Counsel area.
Please CLICK HERE to take a moment to help protect the threatened forests of the Counsel and other high conservation value forests in Tasmania.
For more information about the ‘A forest a day’ project, which is a collaboration between Huon Valley Environment Centre, Still Wild Still Threatened, The Last Stand, Markets for Change and Code Green, please click HERE.
Hitchcock, P. (2012), IVG Report 5A: Verification of the Heritage Value of ENGO proposed Reserves [view online]