Category Archives: A Forest A Day

‘A forest a day’ project compiled in new report!

There has been continuous logging in forests across Tasmania that were earmarked for protection and which have been independently verified as being of world heritage or national heritage value, despite promises of a comprehensive moratorium on logging these high conservation value forests whilst their long term future is negotiated.

During July, we launched a new online project on www.taann.net and www.observertree.org called ‘A forest a day’. This important project showcases some of Tasmania’s most significant forested ecosystems, and documents their ongoing destruction. Throughout July, a new area of forest on the current logging schedule was profiled each day. These forests are under imminent threat or had been logged in the period of time when they should have been under a moratorium. We’ve compiled the online project into a report, which you can download HERE (for screen viewing) or HERE (for printing).

Forests whose future protection has been under discussion have been falling to the chainsaw because of the influence of the forestry industry and the failure of decision makers to restrain Forestry Tasmania. Forestry Tasmania has failed to reschedule all logging to occur outside of the forests nominated for protection.

A major driver of this logging is Ta Ann’s wood supply requirements, according to official documents. Please take action to help stop this destruction by sending a message to Ta Ann’s corporate customers in Japan HERE.

A forest a day … when will the logging of our spectacular forests actually cease?

A cloud of concern hangs over 563 000ha of forests that have been independently verified as world heritage and national heritage value. If a deal is reached between the forestry industry and some environmental groups in Tasmania, the question remains; when will the logging of forests that are ear-marked for protection actually cease?

Logging coupe CO003A.Image by Rob Blakers

In the past two years the State and Federal Governments have failed to deliver on their promises of protection for Tasmania’s high conservation value forests. This inadequacy has been due to the influence of the forestry industry, with a major player being Ta Ann. In addition Forestry Tasmania (FT) has failed to perform forward rescheduling out of the forests nominated for protection. Deputy Premier Bryan Green, who is the minister responsible for overseeing FT, has played a weak role in directing the agency to reschedule. All of this had led to the ongoing destruction of forests that should have been provided the protection of a moratorium over a year ago.

It is a pressing concern for environmentalists, especially when Bryan Green only this morning stated on ABC radio, that securing wood supply is the priority for any agreement on forests, knowing that this argument has been used to justify continued logging of areas previously promised protection. What Tasmania needs is a strong conservation outcome, in order to adequately protect our unique environment and endangered species for the future. The independent verification group, endorsed by the government, made it clear through their research that protection of these forests is critical. Conservation science needs to be a driving force behind the forest agreement, not sidelined while industry demands are given precedence.

Endangered Tasmanian devil in the threatened Tarkine forest.

Right now there are forests being logged that have been proven to be core habitat for a range of endangered and threatened species. These are the species that we risk losing if these forests are excluded from protection.

And so our blog over the past month in July has been a unique opportunity for people around the globe to bear witness to the ongoing logging of Tasmania’s world heritage value, globally and nationally significant forests. Never before has there been an intensive account of the areas being logged or those areas that remain threatened in Tasmania’s forests. Throughout July we have documented 29 logging coupes in forests that were due for protection under the moratorium but are on logging plans instead. Of these, 15 have already been impacted by logging. This is just one small sample of significant forests around the state that are on the logging schedule right now.

BT-13A, Butlers Gorge

The end of our Forest A Day project occurs at a time when the future of 563 000ha of independently verified forests is uncertain. There are great concerns about whether adequate protection will be provided for these areas. In particular, there is no certainty that Forestry Tasmania has done the forward planning required to reschedule out of the proposed protected areas. If not, will Tasmania’s high conservation value forests be facing another 9 – 12 months business as usual onslaught of industrial scale logging? And what impact will this have on these areas that have been recommended to be our future national parks and world heritage areas?

Protection for these forests is long overdue. Not only are there concerns as to whether Forestry Tasmania have begun the rescheduling work needed to cease logging in the verified high conservation value forests, but in addition, there are uncertainties regarding wood supply modelling as Forestry Tasmania are the designated architects of modelling future wood supply to industry. Currently they are entrusted with providing a solution for wood supply that will enable the protection of the 563,000 hectares of forests, despite their interest in the continued control of as much forest as possible for logging. At the end of all of this, will verified high conservation value forests inside the 563,000 hectares continue to be decimated by logging in order to meet wood supply demands?

Logging in the Catamaran forests. Image by Emma Capp

Moreover, it is Ta Ann who have played a key role in driving the ongoing destruction of those forests nominated for protection. Our question then is this: will Ta Ann continue to source wood from forests that have been verified as world heritage and national heritage value? And will Ta Ann’s wood supply continue to be a key driver in the destruction of Tasmania’s forests, resulting in significant high conservation value forests being excluded from the recommended protection?

Tasmania has seen promises of forest protection made and those promises broken throughout this process. Will we see another repeat of the so-called “conservation agreement”; an agreement that actually allows further logging of areas due to be protected?

Tasmania’s high conservation value forests have been compromised enough over the past decades. Now it is time for real protection.

CLICK HERE to take action now for Tasmania’s magnificent forests.

For more information about the ‘A forest a day’ project, which has been a collaboration between Huon Valley Environment Centre, Still Wild Still Threatened, The Last Stand, Markets for Change and Code Green, please click HERE.

Written by Miranda Gibson and Jenny Weber

A forest a day! July 30: RS117C, Roses Tier

This 69 hectare logging coupe in Roses Tier was due for protection under the Intergovernmental Agreement. Like so many other high conservation value forests in Tasmania, it has been lost due to the failure of the government and industry to deliver on the promised moratoriums. Ta Ann’s wood supply was one of the key reasons that this coupe was subject to logging.1

This coupe was a forest of tall Eucalyptus delegatensis. It featured potential habitat for Tasmanian devils and spotted tail quolls.2 This includes areas of fallen logs, dense understorey and old wombat hollows, which may have provided shelter for these animals. This region has been listed as core range for the spotted tail quoll by the Independent Verification Report.3

There are four creeks within, or bordering the coupe. The coupe is also potential habitat zones for the north-east forest snail.4 This species is listed in the Regional Forest Agreement as a ‘Priority Species Requiring Consideration’. This is due to “slow recovery time from logging operations and perceived restricted habitat and environmental sensitivity.”5 This species is found living in leaf litter and the underside of fallen logs, feeding on fungi and detritus from the rotting logs. According to the Forest Practices Authority “The species is likely to be eliminated by clearfelling and associated hot regeneration burns” particularly because “may take at least 90 years following clearfelling and burning for the species to fully recover in regenerated forests.”6

The region that this logging coupe is situated in has also been identified as significant for priority flora. The verification reports indicated specific species within this region that would benefit from the formal reservation of this area. One of those species is Acacia pataczekii. This endemic Tasmanian shrub is listed as rare in the Tasmanian Threatened Species Act. Its population is restricted to eucalypt forest, mostly in north east Tasmania.7Protecting the proposed reserves would improve the reservation of this species by 52%.8

Another identified significant species is Barbarea australis. This herb is endemic to Tasmania and listed as endangered under the Tasmanian Threatened Species Act and as critically endangered under the federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. Barbarea australis is known to occur in approximately 10 river systems extending from northern Tasmania to rivers flowing south from the Central Highlands.9

In addition the region that includes this coupe has been recommended for protection due to its diversity of eucalypt species.10 Protection would increase the bioregional reservation of E. rubida and E. pauciflora, reserve geographical and ecologically marginal populations of endemic species E. archeria and increase the representation of E. viminalis.11 

Although this coupe has sadly been logged, it is vital that the area is regenerated and included with the surrounding forests as part of Tasmania’s proposed formal reserves. The regeneration of this coupe will help to maintain regional connectivity and help protect the endangered, rare and threatened flora and fauna found in this area of north east Tasmania.

Click HERE to help protect Tasmania’s forests.

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.

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A forest a day! July 29: PC072B, Picton Valley

While conservationists were visiting the Picton forests, this mother wombat and her baby walked out of the threatened forests of PC072B. Image by Laura Minnebo

Logging coupe PC072B is situated in an old growth forest adjacent to the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA) that runs down slope to the Picton River. The area of forest is potential habitat for the masked owl, Tasmanian devil, Tasmanian wedge tailed eagle and grey goshawk.[i]

Sadly the history of coupe PC072B, located on the East Picton Rd, where a long history of protests to protect the globally significant values of these forests, have failed to stop the destruction of these ecosystems. PC072B is located in a region of 2150ha of forest that were once protected as a national park.[ii]

The Hartz mountains, proclaimed as a scenic reserve in 1939, were protected within a National Park in 1952. At the time, the seemingly endless supply of timber in the southern forests enabled the logging industry to graciously concede the magnificent forest stretching up the flanks of the Picton River. However, by the mid-1970s, logging roads had extended further and further up the Huon and Picton River valleys and by 1977 the road along the east bank of the Picton River was at the Park Boundary.[iii]

In 1976, after a long court battle, during which conservationists fought the mining industry from accessing the wilderness area at Precipitous Bluff, a final decision was granted that the inclusion of Precipitous Bluff in the Southwest National Park was made conditional on the revocation of forested land in the Hartz Mountains National Park.[iv] PC072B and the large tracts of forests on East Picton Rd were the victims of this decision, where wilderness areas and ancient ecosystems are compromised in the interests of environmentally destructive interests.

These forests now have the opportunity to be granted secure legislated protection, and the protection of the forests of PC072B and the other areas in the Picton Valley, which you have read about over the past month, may be protected as an extension to the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.

The Picton, being a shorter valley than the Weld and Huon Valleys, is almost a ‘blind valley’ hemmed in by alpine and rainforest communities on three sides so the pattern of eucalypt and rainforest communities and their interactions are different to the Huon and especially the Weld. These characteristics are illustrative of the substantial ecological diversity evident in the tall eucalypt and rainforest communities in the ‘Three Valleys’.[v]

The Picton Valley has experienced various episodes and scales of glaciation with evidence of glaciation extending almost to the confluences of the valley.[vi]

The Picton Valley, along with the Huon and the Weld Valleys, is one of the few areas in Tasmania where there is a major concentration of tall eucalypt–rainforest ecosystems and where the forests are mostly intact with potential for ongoing natural processes to operate. Notwithstanding that some parts of the forests have been subject to industrial-scale logging operations, the combination of the intact forests and the option of being able to naturally rehabilitate the logged areas, means the ‘Three Valleys’ forests still offer outstanding potential for conservation, including maintaining natural processes.[vii]

Importantly, all of the ENGO-proposed additions for protection in these valleys back onto the TWWHA. Parts of the ENGO-proposed reserves in the Picton, Huon and Weld are an integral part of that major tract of wilderness. That is, parts of these areas have wilderness values, which would clearly enhance or contribute to the integrity of the TWWHA’s wilderness values. Rehabilitation of some areas would enhance the wilderness aspect of the TWWHA.[viii]

CLICK HERE to take action now for the spectacular forests of the Picton Valley, and for high conservation value forests right across 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.

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A forest a day! July 28: PC070B, Picton Valley

Adjacent to the Picton River is a Eucalyptus obliqua forest that is a proposed 54 ha logging coupe.[i]  Logging operations in this coupe were not rescheduled, as was promised by the State and Federal Governments. The primary reason given by the logging industry was that these forests needed to be logged to supply Ta Ann.[ii]

These magnificent forests remain unlogged to date, and they still have a chance to be protected. These forests, along with other large tracts of the Picton Valley, have been verified “to possess important natural and cultural heritage values that relate particularly to World Heritage values of the adjoining Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. In particular, the Weld-Huon-Picton valleys contribute a new complementary ‘lowland’ or lower valley manifestation of attributes already within the TWWHA, for example glacial, karst, tall eucalypt forest and rainforest.”[iii]

Forests adjacent to PC070B have been destroyed over the past two years. A 67ha area of old growth forest in logging coupe PC017C was logged to supply Ta Ann.[iv]

This forest region is potential habitat for the masked owl, spotted-tailed quolls, and nesting habitat for the swift parrot.[v] The ongoing logging of these magnificent native forests adjacent to the Picton River, and contiguous with the World Heritage listed Hartz Mountains National Park, marks a significant loss of spectacular eucalypt forests and crucial threatened species habitat.

View of the intact forest of PC070B (to the right of clearfell) with Hartz Mountain National Park on the horizon.

CLICK HERE to take action now for the spectacular forests of the Picton Valley, and for high conservation value forests right across 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.

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A forest a day! July 27: PC024B, Picton Valley

In the Picton Valley, logging operations were recently completed in forests that were rich with habitat for the Tasmanian devil, swift parrot, masked owl, spotted tailed and eastern quolls.[i] This forest was formerly populated with tall Eucalyptus regnans and tall Eucalyptus obliqua, along with mature stands of leatherwood and thamnic rainforest.[ii] A cultural heritage site has been identified by Forestry Tasmania in this coupe.[iii]

This 90 hectare coupe was logged over the past seven months, while talks have been occurring between industry and some conservation groups. The State and Federal Government gave the go ahead to log in parts of the 430,000ha area that was supposed to be under moratorium. The Prime Minister promised these old growth and high conservation value (HCV) areas should be protected but because of pressure from Ta Ann and Forestry Tasmania, some of these forests have been lost, PC024B being one such tragic loss.

The company driving the logging of this coupe is Ta Ann.[iv]

Giant Pinocchio visits PC024B. February 2012

In February, Huon Valley Environment Centre released a sample of a celery top pine from PC024B which is believed to be more than 250 years old. This sample of celery top pine clearly demonstrated that the forests being logged in the PC024B were part of an old growth ecosystem. Ta Ann has made public claims that this forest is regrowth, as a result of a wildfire In 1934.[v] However, sections of this coupe were mapped as old growth forest during the Tasmanian Regional Forest Agreement process.

Celery top pine sample from PC024B. February 2012

Ta Ann Tasmania public relations material emphasises that they mill regrowth logs. This implies incorrectly that there are no adverse environmental impacts associated with their operations.  It is not true that regrowth logs will always originate from regrowth forests – old growth forests can contain regrowth elements as a result of the dynamic ecology of these forest ecosystems.

PC204B in the Picton Valley is within 2km of a karst system that has indigenous and environmental values of international significance.[vi] This karst system contains evidence of the human societies living in this region, which were the most southerly known peoples on earth during the last ice age.[vii] This karst system is located in the World Heritage value forests of the Middle Huon Valley.  PC024B is located at the entrance to the Middle Huon Valley.

The globally significant and unique natural and cultural heritage values of the karst systems in the Middle Huon and Picton Valleys have not received the urgent protection that they need. Hitchcock states; “The likely direct physical and hydrological contact between the Blake’s Opening and Riveaux karsts suggests that a common tenure and management regime, or sympathetic cross-tenure management regime, would be the appropriate means of managing these adjacent karsts. Irrespective of this potential link, however, the undisturbed nature, significant extent and contents of the Riveaux karst and catchment, and its proximity to the recommended Blake’s Opening TWWHA extension means that the karst contributes significantly to karst World Heritage themes of the adjacent TWWHA.”[viii]

The forests in the Huon and Picton Valleys are adjacent to the boundary of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA).[ix] The tall eucalypt forests in the lower sections of the Weld and Picton Valleys, together with the closely associated middle Huon Valley, are collectively part of the largest single tract of tall eucalypt forest ecosystem extant in Tasmania.[x]

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Now that this area of forest has been logged it will need to be added to the area of disturbed forests in the Picton Valley that require restoration. As Peter Hitchcock stated, “a holistic long-term view was taken in establishing the contribution that the areas can make to conserving tall eucalypt forest and associated ongoing natural processes. Some rehabilitation will be necessary to restore the ecology of the area in the longer-term”.[xi] Sadly, there are areas in the Picton Valley that could have been protected as intact tall eucalypt and rainforest ecosystems instead, if logging operations in these magnificent areas had been halted over the past few months.

CLICK HERE to take action now for the spectacular forests of the Picton Valley, and for high conservation value forests right across 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.

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A forest a day! July 26: MD102B, Tarkine

Endangered Tasmanian devil in MD102B. Image captured by fauna cameras

This logging coupe is located in the Pieman area of north-west Tasmania. This magnificent forest is part of the core area of 430,000 hectares that was promised protection as part of the Intergovernmental Agreement. A section of this 48 hectare coupe has been logged, with an additional area scheduled for this year. This area also falls within Venture Minerals’ proposed strip mine site.

Volunteers from Code Green have conducted fauna surveys using remote sensor cameras. These produced evidence of healthy Tasmanian devils in this coupe. It was also identified by the Independent Verification Group (IVG) that conservation of this particular area would make a “high contribution across a large range of fauna species” (i). The area is important habitat for grey goshawk and azure kingfisher (ii). Its waterways are home to freshwater hydrobiid snails (iii) and giant freshwater crayfish (iv).

The IVG reports also assessed priority flora and found that the “proposed reserves substantially improve the protection of a range of priority flora species (62 vascular flora species, 2 lichens)”. The area in which this coupe is located was one of seven areas that were listed as “very high” priority for flora conservation. These areas “would make an outstanding contribution to the CAR Reserve system and the National Reserve System of Australia and will help to address deficiencies in the representation of threatened flora in the reserve system” (v).

Two species identified in this forest that are of high priority are Epacris glabella and Micrantheum serpentinum. Epacris glabella is an endemic Tasmanian shrub listed as endangered under both the Tasmanian Threatened Species Act and the federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. This species occurs in the north west of the state, with 6 known locations across a geographic range of 150kms (vi).

Micrantheumn serpentinum is another endemic Tasmanian shrub that is listed as rare in the Tasmanian Threatened Species Act. The IVG report stated that there were many observations of this species in this area. The species is estimated to have only 8-9 populations, in an area of 245km2 (vii).

This spectacular forest has been recommended for protection in the proposed Tarkine World Heritage Area (viii).

CLICK HERE to take action now for high conservation value forests across 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.

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A forest a day! July 25: NH010A

This proposed 33 hectare logging coupe is located in the Rabalga Track area of north-west Tasmania. This forest is part of the core area of 430,000 hectares that was promised protection as part of the Intergovernmental Agreement. Logging and roading operations are scheduled in this spectacular tract of high conservation value forest for this year.

This mixed forest features tall eucalyptus, rainforest species and amazing stands of old growth celery top pine. The area is listed by the independent verification reports as being significant tall eucalypt forest ecosystems (i).

The protection of this area has been recommended for protection as it would make a significant contribution to potential habitat for many fauna species. The area that this coupe is situated in is important threatened species habitat (ii). For example, it is habitat for the azure kingfisher (Ceyx azureus diemenensis) (iii). This species is listed as endangered in both the federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act and the Tasmanian Threatened Species Act: “the total number of mature individuals is low and its geographic distribution is precarious for its survival given the nature of ongoing threats” (iv). Habitat clearing is considered to be one of the key threats (v). The distribution of the azure kingfisher mostly occurs in the north-west of the state, a reflection of the higher rainfall in this area and the greater density of river systems (vi).

CLICK HERE to take action now for high conservation value forests across 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.

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A forest a day! July 24: PC085A, Picton Valley

Image by Nishant Datt

Some areas of tall eucalypt and old growth forests in the Picton Valley have been intensively logged for many years. However, significant large tracts of these world heritage value forests remain, and their urgent protection from ongoing logging practices will ensure their globally unique values be spared from the chainsaw.

The tall eucalypt forests in the Weld, Picton and Middle Huon Valleys are collectively part of the largest single tract of tall eucalypt forest ecosystem extant in Tasmania.[i]

In the Picton Valley now, there is one area of verified high conservation value forest that is being logged, and three large areas of verified high conservation value forests that remain under imminent threat. All of these forests were left out of the promised conservation agreement that could have provided interim protection for these ecosystems.

One such area is logging coupe PC085A. Located on West Picton Rd, this old growth forest borders the Picton River. This forest has not had logging operations commence as yet, though logging is scheduled to start at any time. The company that is driving the logging of these forests is Ta Ann.[ii]

Image by Nishant Datt

This 62 hectare coupe is within the core range of the Tasmanian masked owl (Tyto novaehollandiae castanops) and contains significant habitat for this species.[iii]  The Tasmanian masked owl is an endangered species[iv] dependent on hollows in mature eucalypt trees, and is endemic to Tasmania. The Tasmanian masked owl is the second largest nocturnal raptor in Australia.[v]

The Tasmanian masked owl has been listed as endangered in Tasmania since 1995.[vi] Threats to the masked owl include habitat clearing and fragmentation (including forestry activities). Between 1996 and 2009, approximately 142 000 hectares of native forest in Tasmania have been converted to monoculture plantation or agricultural land (FPA, 2009). This has resulted in the loss of nesting habitat (large tree hollows) and an increased level of threat to the endangered masked owl.[vii]

Reports to the Independent Verification Group recently stated that the availability of mature eucalypt habitat is important for a range of hollow-dwelling and hollow-dependent vertebrate species that rely on these features for facets of their life cycle.[viii] Loss of hollow bearing trees is widely recognised as a threat to the survival of a wide range of Australian vertebrate fauna, and has statutory recognition as a threatening process in New South Wales and Victoria. However, information on the specific habitat requirements for a large proportion of hollow dwelling species is lacking.[ix]

If protected, Tasmania’s southern forests, including the Picton Valley, will make a significant contribution to the additional protection of the ranges of hollow-using birds. Three hollow-using species of birds that are priority forest species have core range (swift parrot & masked owl) or known ranges (forty-spotted pardalote) that intersect with proposed ENGO proposed reserves.[x] Coupe PC085A is within the eastern breeding range of the swift parrot,[xi] also an endangered species, and supports high density nesting habitat for this species.[xii]

Preserving these old growth forests for the species that rely on them for habitat and life-cycles is critical. The protection of endangered species habitat outside the ENGOs’ proposed new reserves is also critical.

CLICK HERE to take action now for the magnificent forests of the Picton Valley and other crucial threatened species habitat across 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.


[i] Hitchcock, P, (2012) Verification of the Heritage Value of the ENGO-Proposed Reserves, IVG Forest Conservation Report 5A. [ view online ] p. 77

[ii] Hoffmann, O. & Williams, D. Report  Of Independent Expert Schedulers Appointed Under the Tasmanian Forests Intergovernmental Agreement, 12th October 2011

[iii] Forestry Tasmania, Forests Practices Plan, 23 February 2012

[iv] Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment.  Threatened Species List. http://www.dpipwe.tas.gov.au/inter.nsf/WebPages/SJON-58K8WK?open

[v] Tyto novaehollandiae castanops (Tasmanian population) — Masked Owl (Tasmanian), http://www.environment.gov.au/cgi-bin/sprat/public/publicspecies.pl?taxon_id=67051

[vi] Tyto novaehollandiae castanops (Tasmanian population) — Masked Owl (Tasmanian), http://www.environment.gov.au/cgi-bin/sprat/public/publicspecies.pl?taxon_id=67051

[vii] Tyto novaehollandiae castanops (Tasmanian population) — Masked Owl (Tasmanian), http://www.environment.gov.au/cgi-bin/sprat/public/publicspecies.pl?taxon_id=67051

[viii] Knight, R.I. & Cullen, P.J. (2012). Preliminary assessment of reliability indicators for predicting mature eucalypt habitat in Tasmania. Report to the Independent Verification Group for the Tasmanian Forests Intergovernmental Agreement, February 2012. Natural Resource Planning, Hobart. P 7.

[ix] Knight, R.I. & Cullen, P.J. (2012). Preliminary assessment of reliability indicators for predicting mature eucalypt habitat in Tasmania. Report to the Independent Verification Group for the Tasmanian Forests Intergovernmental Agreement, February 2012. Natural Resource Planning, Hobart. P 7.

[x] Independent Verification Group (2012) Validation of the ENGO proposed reserves for the conservation of priority fauna species on public forest. Unpublished report of the Independent Verification Group for the Tasmanian Forest Agreement, Hobart. P13.

[xi] Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment.  Threatened Species List. http://www.dpipwe.tas.gov.au/inter.nsf/WebPages/SJON-58K8WK?open

[xii] Forestry Tasmania, Forests Practices Plan PC085A, 23 February 2012

A forest a day! July 23: CM004C, Catamaran

A forest a day #22: Logging coupe CM004C, Catamaran

Image by Emma Capp

In far south Tasmania, a World Heritage bordering forest, known to Forestry Tasmania as logging coupe CM004C, was left out of the Conservation Agreement and subsequently logged.

This forest area was tall eucalyptus forest, core habitat for the grey goshawk, masked owl, spotted tailed quoll. The forest was potential habitat for cave dwelling invertebrates, as the logging site is a steep, high erodibility area, with a karst system down slope from the operation.[i] The Forest Practices Plan provided by Forestry Tasmania states that the new 1.4km road that was needed to access the 57 ha coupe is located in a karst catchment. Glacial deposits and possible fossils related to the Jurassic Basalt, which form the upper parts of the northern hill of the coupe, are major geomorphic considerations.[ii]

The key company driving the logging in these high conservation value forests was Ta Ann.[iii] Logging in this coupe commenced after Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Premier Lara Giddings announced that the Inter-Governmental Agreement in August 2011 would provide ‘immediate protection in informal reserves’ for forests such as these. CM004C is located within the 572 000ha of identified forests for legislated protection.

These world heritage value forests are located behind Recherche Bay and south of the D’Entrecasteaux River, this forested region is Australia’s southern most forested lands.

Image by Emma Capp

The eucalypt forests in the region south of the D’Entrecasteaux River to Cockle Creek include some of the most southerly tracts of eucalypt forest in Australia, indeed the world. The natural diversity of this small forest complex is at the southern latitudinal limits of the Australian eucalypt and rainforest flora and fauna. The globally significant eucalypts here can be expected to be of enduring scientific interest, especially given the historic research conducted by the French scientists in the 18th century. The eucalypt forests of the Recherche area would contribute to the ecological integrity of the adjoining Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA) by preserving the natural vegetation sequence from sea level to tree limit on Mount La Perouse. This is particularly important for maintaining vegetation conditions conducive to natural fire interaction with the vegetation, especially on foothills and escarpment of the existing TWWHA. The eucalypt forests of this narrow lowland corridor are an integral part of a still existing natural connectivity of tall eucalypt communities, which extends up the eastern side (mostly outside) of the TWWHA, an important element in the long-term conservation of this ecosystem.[iv]

They remain unprotected, due to an “illogical and unsustainable boundary”.[v] The adjacent section of the TWWHA incorporates only a disjunct series of remnant tall eucalypt forest, the greater part of the otherwise continuous tract of tall eucalypt forest being located just outside the TWWHA boundary, an artifact of the drawing of the original protected area boundary which excluded the commercially important tall eucalypt forests. The ENGO-proposed reserves include the main corridor of tall eucalypt forest otherwise excluded from this section of the TWWHA. This corridor of tall eucalypt forest is relevant to the concept outlined elsewhere for protection—within the TWWHA—of a regional-scale tall eucalypt corridor from Cockle Creek to central Tasmania as a means of ensuring regional connectivity for the globally significant tall eucalypt ecosystems in Tasmania.[vi]

Recent reports that have verified the values of this forest region have stated that, “given the gross under representation of the ecological diversity of tall eucalypt forest in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, there is a clear case to remedy that situation. The tall eucalypt forests in the lowlands of the Recherche Bay–D’Entrecasteaux coast potentially represents a significant contribution to the ecological integrity of the TWWHA (southern limit, alpine summit to sea sequence on one slope—The ‘French transect’—Mount La Perouse to Recherche Bay]. This area provides the best opportunity to capture the full range of elevation values in the TWWHA—of significant benefit to the ecological function and integrity of the TWWHA and particularly important to assist adaptation to climate change. [vii]

Protection of this southern coastal precinct of Tasmania would link up the World Heritage Area, Southport Lagoon Conservation Area and the National Heritage listed Recherche Bay area. The cultural heritage value of the Recherche Bay area would make a significant contribution to the integrity of the TWWHA.[viii]

Notwithstanding a significant amount of past disturbance within the assessed area caused by coupe-based logging, the longer term view is that natural rehabilitation can be expected to progressively eliminate both the direct and indirect impacts of those logged coupes. The assessed area comprises mostly coastal lowland rising inland to foothills, and is predominantly

forested with significant areas of tall eucalypt forest. The Recherche Bay region has historic significance for the discovery and first formal description of the eucalypts of the world. The first eucalypts collected for science were from the region and the first eucalypt officially described also came from the region (Bruny Island).[ix]

Pro logging industry supporters and Ta Ann have, in the past months, tried to question the conservation values of CM004C. However the facts are that some minor disturbance occurred in the region in the start of last century. These disturbances however were negligible compared to the current forms of industrial scale clearfelling. The forests of CM004C were unroaded until 2011 and the verified values of the remaining threatened tall eucalypt forests in this region, that are part of a remote tract of wilderness area with world heritage values, require urgent protection from ongoing logging.

CLICK HERE to take action now for the magnificent forests of the Catamaran and other high conservation value forests across 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.


[i] Forestry Tasmania Forest Practices Plan for CM004C 02/03/2011

[ii] ibid

[iii] Hoffmann, O. & Williams, D. Report  Of Independent Expert Schedulers Appointed Under the Tasmanian Forests Intergovernmental Agreement, 12th October 2011

[iv] Hitchcock, P, (2012) Verification of the Heritage Value of the ENGO-Proposed Reserves, IVG Forest Conservation Report 5A. P58

[v] Ibid, P54

[vi] Ibid, P56

[vii] Ibid, P57

[viii] Ibid, P60

[ix] Ibid, P55

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