Miranda’s Daily Blog: Day 211
How does it feel to be an Australian record holder? That is the question everyone is asking me since Tuesday, when I broke the National record for the longest time spent in a tree, after 209 days up here.
Well, to be honest, I wish I wasn’t a record holder. I wish more than anything that this forest had been protected a long time ago. I wish that the State and Federal government had honoured the promise they made back in August last year, and placed this forest under a conservation agreement as they said they would.
I wish that the forest negotiations had concluded and provided secure legislated protection for Tasmania’s high conservation value forest. And I could have got down and got on with my teaching career, knowing that Tasmania’s unique environment would still be in tact for my students to enjoy when they are grandparents! Because I’m not up here to break any records, I am here because I want to see the next generation of Tasmanian’s be able to experience the unique beauty of these world-class forests that we have on our doorstep. I’m here because I don’t want to be in a class-room one day teaching about how the Tasmania devil became extinct. We already have to tell the sad story of the last Tasmanian tiger, that was in fact caught not too far from where I am now. I think we have lost enough species in Tasmania and in fact in the world, and now it is time to prioritise conservation.
Over 560,000 hectares of forest in Tasmania has now been identified by a government-endorsed independent team of scientific experts to be of world heritage and national heritage value. Over half of the area is important habitat for devils, with the remainder also being significant in providing corridors between core habitat. Aside from devils, these forests also provide habitat for a range of other threatened and endangered species, including goshawks, wedge tail eagles, quolls, masked owls, hyrdrobiid snails… the list goes on.
And what’s more, protecting the forests is not only critical right now for species of the animal kind, it is vitally important for the people of Tasmania, including those people working in the forestry industry. The industry is in a state of crisis. It has been admitted by industry bodies and unions, and has lead to the involvement of these groups in the forest negotiations. The industry as it currently exists is not economically viable and is instead propped up by tax payer money. And it seems that if native forest logging is entrenched the industry is looking down the barrel of a collapse. The best way to secure jobs for the future is to transition the industry into a sustainable industry. And right now that is what Tasmania is holding it’s breath for, waiting to see what comes out of these negotiations, due to wrap up in a few weeks time.
It is time for Ta Ann to stop the destruction of these forests. This Malaysian logging company has already done enough damage in Tasmania. Not only have they been identified by official documentation to be the key driver behind the ongoing destruction of high conservation value forests, they are also misleading their customers. They are responsible for selling wood from these forests on the international market as environmentally friendly “eco-ply.” The company has made claims that their wood is sourced from plantations or managed regrowth. Yet, it is their demand for wood that is the reason my tree and the forest around me are under threat. This is not a plantation forest, and the tree I’m sitting in is hundreds of years old.
And so, I guess if I think about it, I am proud that I now have the Australian record for the longest tree sit. Because even though I wish I didn’t have to be up here, the reality is that I do. Every day that I have sat in this tree is another day that world heritage value forests are lost. And for that reason I am proud to be here, speaking up for these forests and for the future of Tasmania. Being up here I have been able to remind people here and around the world of the critical importance of securing forest protection. And through reading this blog so many people have come on board in helping to take action for these forests. Please, if you haven’t already, take a moment now to sign the cyber action (click here).