Miranda’s Daily Blog: Day 56

It is such a quiet and still night that I can hear the water rushing in the nearby creeks. The trees are glowing silver in the moonlight. Not a leaf moving in the still air. It’s incredible how much this forest can change day by day. Down below me, the moonlight makes its way through the upper canopy, slivers of light reaching down to the celery top pines at the base of my tree.

Celery top pines are amoung  the first tree species I began to recognize and be able to name in Tasmania. It’s destinctive leaf shape resembling the top of celery was a useful handy hint to never forgetting its name. In reality those leaves are not really leaves at all, they are phylloclades (modified flattened stems). I guess this is how it gets its botanical name: phyllocladus aspleniifolius. It’s actual leaves are miniscule brown stubs, less than 1mm in size. This conifer is endemic to Tasmania (meaning it grows no where else on earth). It is has it’s orgins in the ancient Gondwanian rainforest and has close releatives growing in the mountains of Borneo and New Guinea.

In an area of Tasmania’s Huon Valley that is  known as the Picton logging operations have begun in coupe PC024B. This ancient forest ecosystem is home to a diversity of rainforest species including celery top pine. The Huon Valley Environment Centre conducted citizen science in area. A sample of a celery top pine that had been logged was analysed. Using dendochronological techniques the group found the tree to have been around 280 years old. To put this in context, the group noted in their media release that the tree would have been growing already in that forest when the Huon Valley was explored by D’Entrecasteaux in 1792. While perhaps still in its early life (the tree could have lived to possibly 800 years if it had been given the chance) it is well and truly an old growth tree. This tree was felled as part of a logging operation that is being conducted to provided wood for a company that is currently claiming to use only regrowth!

The newly launched website www.taann.com.au which has been set up by environmental groups to expose the truth about Ta Ann’s activities in Tasmania, provided a rebuttal to some of the recent misleading claims made by the company. Here is part of their response to this issue about regrowth:

“It is the origin of the logs that is the issue, not their size. Ta Ann implies that because they use regrowth logs there is no adverse environmental impact. They exploit a misapprehension that regrowth is always from areas that have been extensively logged and replanted, but this is not the case in Tasmania”

The sample of celery top pine (aged approx 280 years) was displayed on Parliament lawns by the Huon Valley Environment Center

The Picton valley continues to be decimated. This is an area in close proximity to a Indigenous heritage cave system of global significance, located in nearby threatened forest. This forest should have been safely guarded by a conservation agreement right now. The evidence has been made clear that the reason this coupe (and 42 others) was excluded from that agreement in order to meet the needs of Ta Ann. To imply that they are an innocent  bystander in the destruction of this irreplaceable ecosystem is laughable. Ta Ann Tasmania are driving the ongoing logging of these forests and it is about time they owned up to it.

I know I mention it just about everyday, but I think I’ll say it again- please get on board  for the Global 24 Hours of Action! It’s only a week away now, so time to start getting your banners and signs ready!! If you are keen to take part and haven’t let me know already, send me a quick email observertree2011@gmail.com. We need to make this action as big as we can, to send the strongest possible message to Ta Ann’s customer companies. I know that all of you reading this care about these forests. We need to make sure those companies know how much we all care about them too.

Till tomorrow,

Miranda

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Posted on February 7, 2012, in Daily Blog. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. IF

    If Julia could see her way
    To journey out to the big forest
    To be amongst the tall Styx
    To marvel in their majesty
    To quietly listen to the forest living

    If Julia would only touch this forest
    And know the momentary power in her hands
    Greater than these magnificent old giants
    To save them from the machines
    If, could be certain, forever.

    Tigerquoll, 2012

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