Miranda’s Daily Blog: Day 42 & 43
Ta Ann Tasmania has been put in the spotlight over these past few days, for the role in the continued destruction of Tasmania’s high conservation value forests. Yesterday 25 conservationists entered the Ta Ann veneer mill in the Huon Valley, halting operations and drawing attention to the ancient forest destruction that is occurring to supply wood to this company. Jenny Weber, from the Huon Valley Environment Centre was the spokesperson for the action and stated that “The Tasmanian Government’s own reports show Ta Ann is the major driver for logging in old-growth and HCV forests,”
The concern around Ta Ann’s practises is growing, with more actions occurring today. In Tasmania’s south and also in the north west, actions took place in logging coupes that should have been protected by the Intergovernmental Agreement, yet are now being felled to feed Ta Ann’s mills.
‘The forests we are protesting in today are key targets for Ta Ann’s wood supply. Ta Ann is misleading Japanese customers and the public by peddling misinformation that they receive timber from regrowth and plantation areas in Tasmania only. The Southern protest in the Picton Valley forest is within 2km of a cave system that has indigenous and environmental values of international significance. These forests have never been logged before and conservationists have identified celery top pines that were 150 years old that have been felled,’ Jenny Weber said.
‘The conservation agreement signed on the 13th of January by the State and Federal governments does absolutely nothing to protect Tasmania’s globally unique forests including areas such as these in the North West of the state. It is still business as usual in the forests, with old growth and high conservation value forests tracts still being lost despite being promised protection by the Federal Government in August last year.” said spokesperson for Code Green Jared Irwin. ‘Code Green are committed to ongoing action until Tasmania’s irreplaceable wild forests receive true protection.’
In addition, Ta Ann was the focus today for environmental NGO Markets For Change (MFC), who publically released a letter they sent to Forestry Tasmania, calling for an admission that Ta Ann is in fact receiving timber from high conservation native forests, contrary to the misleading claims currently being made by Ta Ann. MFC noted that in the annual report of Ta Ann Holding it is cited that Ta Ann Tasmania uses ‘plantation eucalypt.” This is also reiterated on the website of Ta Ann shareholder company Sumisho & Mitsuibussan Kenzai Co Ltd (SMKC) on a page devoted to their Tasmanian product, which states that “We produce there veneer from high-quality eucalyptus plantations…” (http://www.smkc.co.jp/eco/participation.html). Yet this is simply incorrect, as MFC pointed out Ta Ann Tasmania itself admitted that it requires native forest timber, in their submission to a House of Representatives Committee and in evidence under oath to a Legislative Council Committee.
Markets For Change have called on Forestry Tasmania to make a public statement clarifying the fact that Ta Ann is receiving wood from native forests. The letter states
“While the content of its Annual Report it is obviously the responsibility of TAHB, we believe that it is the responsibility of Forestry Tasmania, as the principal supplier of wood to TAT, to be clear and explicit with respect to the source of such wood so that TAHB can be confident of the veracity of statements it makes to shareholders, regulatory authorities, customers and the general public.”
“In the context of current forest conservation debate, the distinction between planted forest (plantation) and naturally regenerated forest (native forest) is highly significant. We believe that TAHB have made a mistake in how they have characterised sources of wood used by TAT mills in Tasmania and that this mistake may have significant market implications.”
It does indeed have market implications. Consumers are likely to believe the product is sustainable if it is labeled “eco” and claimed to be from plantations. Yet, here I am at the top of a tree that is centuries old, in the middle of a spectacular ancient forest that is due to be logged in order to supply Ta Ann with this so called “eco ply.” It is an absolute disgrace that they can place the word “eco” in front of a product that is driving the ongoing destruction of endangered species habitat! These past few days have been inspiring with so many conservationists speaking out against Ta Ann. Please help out by adding your voice at our upcoming Global 24 hours of action on Feb 14-15.