Category Archives: A Forest A Day

A forest a day! July 22: PC015B, Picton Valley

Logging coupe PC015B, located in the Picton Valley, southern Tasmania, is an area of forest that has been logged over the past few months. This forest, and the old growth ecosystems surrounding it, could have been protected under the promised moratorium and conservation agreement.

In June 2011, a new 2.6 km logging road was pushed into a remote tract of old growth forest, which enabled the logging industry access to this section of the Picton Valley throughout the duration of a promised moratorium.

In September 2011, logging commenced in these old growth Eucalyptus delegatensis forests, which are part of a large tract of remote wilderness forest contiguous with the Hartz Mountains National Park and the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA).

Tasmania’s Intergovernmental Agreement on Forests was signed on 7 August 2011, and one month later Forestry Tasmania continued to schedule logging in forests that were identified as being in need of protection. PC015B was primarily targeted by Forestry Tasmania to supply wood for Ta Ann.[i]

However, there is still time for the remaining forests in this area to be protected, as logging was suspended due to the logging road being too ‘green’, meaning it made it too difficult for the loggers and log trucks to access these forests.[ii]

Our organisations made public pleas for these forests to be protected as part of the ‘forests negotiation process’, as logging in this area had not commenced when Giddings and Gillard promised the immediate protection of these forests within the ENGO nominated 430 000ha.

The ecological consequences of the logging of these old growth forests are significant, contributing to a global loss of native forests, pushing wildlife to the brink of extinction and contributing to climate change.

The Picton Valley, along with the Weld and Huon Valleys, are considered to possess important natural and cultural heritage values that relate particularly to the World Heritage values of the adjoining Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. In particular, these lands 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]

CLICK HERE to take action now for the magnificent forests of the Picton Valley 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] Hoffmann, O. & Williams, D. Report  Of Independent Expert Schedulers Appointed Under the Tasmanian Forests Intergovernmental Agreement, 12th October 2011

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

[iii] Hitchcock, P, (2012) Verification of the Heritage Value of the ENGO-Proposed Reserves, IVG Forest Conservation Report 5A. P 87.

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A forest a day! July 21: RU043H, West Wellington

A significant area of forest that was left out of the Conservation Agreement, and which failed to receive promised protection as part of the Intergovernmental Agreement, was logged in the West Wellington region.  West Wellington is a sub-alpine region of native forests that adjoins the Mt Wellington reserve in southern Tasmania.

West Wellington is a very significant are of largely intact tall eucalyptus forest (Hitchcock, 2012: 104). The tall eucalypts occupy high elevations in some parts of the West Wellington region.

The eastern-most larger block of around 5,000 ha of diverse forest, including extensive regrowth tall eucalypt forest, is largely intact and is of obvious potential interest for conservation as surrounding lands are increasingly developed (Hitchcock, 2012: 105). The immediately adjoining Wellington Park greatly enhances the conservation potential of the area (Hitchcock, 2012: 105).

The tall eucalypt forests, which form a near intact continuous corridor connecting from Mount Wellington west to the Snowy Range, and hence the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, were assessed as being of considerable natural heritage significance (Hitchcock, 2012: 105).

The native forests of West Wellington are the water catchments for communities of Crabtree, Lucaston and Judbury.

RU043H is an area of forest that has been logged in the past twelve months.  The area of forest was a mixed forest of regrowth forest after some fire disturbance and mature old-growth forest (HVEC, 2011: 25).

These forests were targeted by Forestry Tasmania for wood supply to Ta Ann (Independent Schedulers Report Oct 2011). In 2010 a moratorium on logging in the ENGOs’ identified high conservation value forests was due to be in place in December. The so-called ‘moratorium’ failed these forests in West Wellington, like so many others across the state.

CLICK HERE to take action now for the forests of West Wellington 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.

Photographed in September 2011.

For more information and to see more pictures click HERE

References

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

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

Huon Valley Environment Centre, 2011, Behind the Veneer: Forest Destruction and Ta Ann Tasmania’s Lies. [ view online ]

A forest a day! July 20: RP034A, Repulse Forest

 

This massive 137 hectare logging coupe is near Misery Road in the Repulse River catchment, central Tasmania. This forest is part of the core area of 430,000 hectares that was promised protection as part of the Intergovernmental Agreement. Yet, like many other high conservation value forests across the state, it has been subject to logging since the signing of that agreement.

The coupe has been completed in sections, with some areas already burnt. The final section was logged within the past few months. The creek that runs through the area, which was given only a small buffer zone, was badly damaged by the high intensity burn and then further degraded as the vegetation has suffered from edge effects, that come with the sudden exposure to wind and sunlight.

This logging coupe is within an area that has been recommended for protection by the independent verification assessment. Its close proximity to Mount Field National Park is of particular significance. The current boundary of the park is inadequate and the inclusion of this area to the north of the current park would greatly enhance the value of the reserve. It has been recommended by Hitchcock that the Mount Field National Park along with the Repulse forests and other surrounding areas should be incorporated into the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (Hitchcock 2012: 132).

CLICK HERE to take action now for 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

 

A forest a day! July 19: CZ006C

Image by Rob Blakers

Surrounded on three sides by the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, an section of state forest creates a hole in the protected area. Located near Lake Saint Claire, this enclave contains logging coupe CZ006C, which is scheduled for logging this year. The coupe and the area surrounding it are “naturally vegetated by a mosaic of eucalypt forest, leptospermum woodland and treeless moorland” (Hitchcock 2012: 153). Despite some logging in the vicinity the overall condition “is one of a natural landscape with natural vegetation”

One of the critical issues for this region is the presence of Clarence Lagoon, located just inside the boundary of the TWWHA, but with its catchment area extended into the unprotected state forest. This is a critical habitat site for the endangered Clarence galaxias (Glaxias johnstoni) (Hitchcock 2012: 153). This is an endemic freshwater fish species that is found in the lagoon and downstream in the Clarence River, which is located within the area proposed by environment groups to be included in the reserve. The only other known habitat sites are 5-6 small lagoons (Hitchcock 2012: 153). The Threatened Species Listing Statement declares that “all populations of Clarence glaxias are essential to the species’ long-term viability and require protection and management” (DPWI). This region surrounding Clarence Lagoon has therefore been recommended by Hitchcock to be included in the TWWHA (Hitchcock 2012: 154).

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.

References:

DPWI Threatened Species Listing Statement Galaxias johnstoni [view online]

Hitchcock, P. (2012), IVG Report 5A: Verification of the Heritage Value of ENGO proposed Reserves [view online]

A forest a day! July 18: CO003A

Logging coupe CO003A. Photo by Rob Blakers

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.

Reference:

Hitchcock, P. (2012), IVG Report 5A: Verification of the Heritage Value of ENGO proposed Reserves [view online]

A forest a day! July 17: WE038A, Wedge Forest

Area cleared and burnt 2008; Photo by Laura Minnebo

This coupe is located in the Wedge forests, south-western Tasmania. It is situated on exceedingly steep terrain, and will therefore be subject to a clear felling cable logging operation. This coupe was already partially logged in 2007 and then subject to high intensity burns in 2008. Forestry Tasmania have now listed the coupe on their current harvest schedule, with a plan to return this year to log an addition 12 hectares (FT 2012).

The coupe is within 500 meters of the current Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. And this area has been recommended for inclusion into the World Heritage Area (Hitchcock 2012: 112). This forest contains old growth Eucalyptus delegatensis and Eucalyptus obliqua with a rainforest understorey, along with substantial stands of leatherwood. The tall eucalypt value of this forest is one of the key world heritage values. In addition, the area has significant scenic value. It is an integral part of the landscape of the adjoining TWWHA (Hitchcock 2012: 112).

The waterways in this coupe are known to contain rare hydrobiid snail species Phrantela pupiformis (Davis and Monks 2009).This species inhabits streams and can also be found in moss, on small waterfalls and and in fern roots. It is listed as rare in the Tasmanian Threatened Species Act. According to the IUCN Red List “this species may be threatened to a degree by habitat degradation and land clearance from forestry and sedimentation” (IUCN 2012). It has a very small distribution and the recommendation of the IUCN is that further research should be done on the population and potential threats: “In order to maintain the stability of this species’ habitat and water quality, it is advised that not only should the species’ locality be protected, but also the waters upstream” (IUCN 2012).

Please CLICK HERE to take a moment to help protect the threatened forests of the Wedge 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.

References:

Davis P and Munks S (2009) Wedge and Tyenna Block Hydobiid Snail Study [view online]

Forestry Tasmania (2012) Three year wood production Plan 2012 [view online]

Hitchcock, P. (2012), IVG Report 5A: Verification of the Heritage Value of ENGO proposed Reserves [view online]

IUCN (2012) Red List of threatened Species  [view online]

A forest a day! July 16: SA152B

This 45 hectare logging coupe in north east Tasmania is situated within the 572,000 hectares of forests that have been proposed for protection by environment groups and is the subject of ongoing negotiations.

Sadly, it remains on the logging schedule for this year. This is a mixed forest with a diversity of species and a diversity of ages. Old eucalypts, some scarred by fire from the distant past, grow beside younger trees.

This forest contains a great diversity of lichen and fungi growing in the natural leaf litter on the forest floor, supporting the biological cycling of nutrients into the soil. Such leaf litter and detritus, and the tiny organisms that exist within them, are often destroyed in the high intensity burns that are conducted by the forestry industry following logging

Lichen is a symbiotic relationship between fungi and a photosynthetic organism (most commonly algae). These two are co-dependent, the fungi providing water retention, the algae providing nutrients. One type of lichen common in this coupe is called ‘old man’s beard’ or Usnea. It is known to be sensitive to air pollution, which can restrict its growth to a few millimeters. In an environment with clean air it can grow grow to 10–20 cm long.

Please CLICK HERE and take a moment to help defend 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.

A forest a day! July 15: SX028C, Styx Valley

SX028C is an area of intact high conservation value forest that is on the current logging schedule to be logged this year. An area featuring the iconic giant trees of Tasmania’s Styx Valley. These tall eucalypt trees are hundreds of years old and provide critically important habitat hollows that are a unique feature of old forests.

This forest is dominated by Eucalyptus regnans. This species is the tree that the Styx Valley is perhaps the most well-renowned for. These giants are the tallest flowering plant in the world. They are also documented as having the highest biomass carbon stocks (Mackey 2008:28). Protecting forests as significant carbon stores is increasingly critical to mitigate climate change. Old forests such as this one have been shown to have a larger carbon store than industrialised forests, which hold around 40-60% less carbon (Mackey 2008: 6). This is because significant volumes of carbon have been emitted to the atmosphere as a result of logging operations and that the carbon density is never regained on the ground unless the original forest is completely restored.

The understorey features mature wet rainforest, including myrtle, celery-top pine and a diverse array of ferns. The forest floor is abundant with moss, lichen and fungi. This area of forest is within the 572,000 hectares of forests that has been proposed by environment groups and is the subject of ongoing negotiations.

We are calling for an immediate cessation of logging in this area and the formal protection of these iconic old growth forests of the Styx Valley. Please CLICK HERE to take action for the 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.

References:

Mackey B. et al. (2008) Green carbon : the role of natural forests in carbon storage. ANU E Press

A forest a day! July 14: BS115H, Mount Barrow

BS115H, a 60 hectare logging coupe, is located in north east Tasmania close to the Mount Barrow State Forest Reserve. This area was once home to a strong population (often described in plague proportions) of Tasmanian devils (Owen and Pemberton 2005). This species is now listed as endangered in both the EPBC (Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999) and the TSP (Threatened Species Protection Act Tasmania 1995).

Members of Code Green have been monitoring the Eucalyptus delegatensis forest in BS115H using remote sensor fauna cameras. The results have shown the presence of Tasmanian devils which appear to be healthy and disease free. This is a particularly significant finding for this area, as the devils of north east Tasmania have been impacted most significantly by the effects of the deadly DFTD (devil facial tumour disease). The Save the Devil Program has reported that devil populations in this region of Tasmania have declined by 96% as of February 2011 (Save the Devil Program 2011

Unfortunately for these devils logging has resumed in sections of this coupe since these images were taken. Such logging activity is potentially threatening the habitat of these devils and other populations in the area. This destruction of habitat has continued on this site despite the fact that this forest was promised protection as part of the Conservation Agreement.

Forestry Tasmania have themselves acknowledged that the forests adjacent to this coupe are potential habitat for devils (Forestry Tasmania 2011). Yet logging has been allowed to proceed. The impact of logging operations on devil habitat and in particular sites where maternal dens occur has been inadequately addressed by the current forestry management systems. According to Dr Peter McQuillan ‘no special effort is made to identify and protect devil den sites in Forest Practice Plans’ (McQuillan 2012).

Please CLICK HERE to take action now to ensure that this area and other forests in Tasmania that provide critical habitat are protected.

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.

References:

Forestry Tasmania (2011) More Disruption, 4th April, 2011

McQuillan, P. (2012), Report 9A: Critical Habitat, Tasmanian Devil Sarcophilus Harrisii

Owen, D. Pemberton, D.(2005)Tasmanian Devil: A Unique and threatened Animal, Allen and Unwin, Melbourne

Save the Devil Program (2011) Mapping the disease [view online]

A forest a day! July 13: BT011C, Butlers Gorge

Image by Rob Blakers

Nestled deep in the wilderness is an area of forest known to the logging industry as BT011C. Recommended for inclusion in the World Heritage Area this coupe was meant to be in a moratorium many months ago. Yet, in blatant disregard for the very premise of the Tasmanian Forests Inter-Govermental Agreement (IGA) Forestry Tasmania (FT) has preceded to push a brand new road through the pristine forest to give the industry access to BT011C. If this area is close to receiving formal protection, the question remains why FT is spending tax payers money on establishing a new logging road?

Butlers Gorge has exceptional wilderness value, and prior to the advent of logging and new roads within the past decade, it was mapped as “high quality wilderness” [Wilderness Mapping 2006] (Hitchcock 2012: 147). It is absolutely remarkable that this tract of forest escaped, for as long as it did, the onslaught of logging that has ravaged so many places around Tasmania. It is even more devastating then, that its wilderness qualities should be compromised at this time, when it is on the table as a proposed new reserve.

Only a few kilometers away is the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, which holds as one of its major reasons for protection its “wilderness quality” (Parks and Wildlife 2004). The maintenance and enhancement of this quality is one of the major objectives of the TWWHA management Plan (Parks and Wildlife 2004). The remoteness and wilderness value of an area is severely compromised by the encroachment of logging operations. For this reason forestry operations need to end immediately in Butlers Gorge. The new road to BT11C should never have been built, but it is not too late to ensure that it is never used by log trucks or forestry machinery.

The IVG report states “Only with the recent advent of roading and selective logging has the wilderness quality been eroded but with cessation of logging and some rehabilitation, this outstanding tract of tall eucalypt forest could again be restored to wilderness condition” (Hitchcock 2012: 146).

Please CLICK HERE to take a moment to help protect BT011C 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.

References:

Parks and Wildlife Service (2004) State of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area—an evaluation of management effectiveness, Report No. 1 (Summary Report), Department of Tourism Parks Heritage and the Arts, Hobart Tasmania

Hitchcock, P. (2012), IVG Report 5A: Verification of the Heritage Value of ENGO proposed Reserves, p. 77 [View online]

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