Category Archives: Media Releases

Peaceful action at Butlers Gorge exposes destruction of endangered species habitat

Conservationists from Still Wild Still Threatened have today taken peaceful direct action in Butlers Gorge to highlight the ongoing destruction of this area of important wildlife habitat. Two conservationists have blocked access to a logging road. They are sitting on the road, chained to each other and are willing to risk arrest. Still Wild Still Threatened is today releasing footage taken within threatened forest of Butlers Gorge. The footage includes several healthy Tasmanian devils as well as spot tailed quolls, echidnas, pademelons and other animals.

“Areas like Butlers Gorge have been nominated for World Heritage because they are globally significant forests. Habitat for wildlife, and in particular endangered species, is a critical value of these forests that needs to be protected” said Miranda Gibson, spokesperson for Still Wild Still Threatened.

“We are releasing footage today that shows a diversity of wildlife living in these threatened forests. Remote sensor fauna cameras have captured evidence of endangered species including Tasmanian devils and spot tail quolls in these areas that are being logged right now” said Ms Gibson.

According to independent experts, mapping shows Butlers Gorge as a high priority area for the improvement of reservation and connectivity of reserves for Tasmania’s large carnivore species, including Tasmanian devil and spot tailed quoll”

“Based on legal advice, a letter was sent earlier this week to Minister Tony Burke outlining the legal course of action he can take as Environment Minister to bring an end to logging in the forests he has nominated for World Heritage” said Ms Gibson.

“Tony Burke needs to take responsibility as Federal Environment Minister for the destruction being done right now to the homes of endangered species in these World Heritage nominated forests. Over 60,000 protests emails have been sent from around the world, calling on the Federal Government to immediately end this logging. Yet, Minister Burke has ignored these calls from the international community. ” said Ms Gibson.

“The values of these forests are being assessed by the IUCN in Paris, and meanwhile those very values, including the significant wildlife habitat in these forests, are being destroyed by logging. It is an absolute hypocrisy” said Ms Gibson.

Conservationists block access to logging road in Butlers Gorge

Conservationists block access to logging road in Butlers Gorge

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Media Release: Legal obligations and course of action on World Heritage logging outlined to Minister

The Australian Environment Minister has been urged to uphold Australia’s international obligations to conserve World Heritage values by using his powers under Australian legislation to halt logging inside Tasmanian forests recently nominated for World Heritage listing. Such logging last week provoked protest action on the forestry access road into Butlers Gorge.

A letter based on legal advice to Still Wild Still Threatened, the Huon Valley Environment Centre, and Markets For Change outlines to the Minister that Section 14 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act provides specifically for areas nominated but not yet listed as World Heritage to be the subject of a Ministerial Declaration. Publication of such a Declaration in the government Gazette is preliminary to any action to keep the World Heritage values safe from threat.

“As a signatory to the World Heritage Convention, Australia has taken on an obligation to protect World Heritage values under Articles 4 and 5 of that international agreement. Australian law then provides for the Environment Minister to publish a declaration regarding any place nominated to be added to the World Heritage list after which he can prevent any threats from destroying those values in the meanwhile – exactly the situation we are facing with the continued industrial logging of Tasmania’s forests nominated for recognition for their outstanding universal values,” said Jenny Weber of Huon Valley Environment Centre.

“We sent this letter and are publicising it, in order to scuttle the erroneous claim that there is nothing that the Australian Environment Minister can do to halt the logging until the area is actually listed. Nothing could be further from the truth.”

“It is a failure of political will that is daily destroying World Heritage values of these precious forests, and the Minister can’t simultaneously espouse these values and renege on his obligation to protect them,” said Miranda Gibson of Still Wild Still Threatened speaking from the Observer Tree.

“If it is true that the signatories are agreed on this continued logging, and we believe that this is not the position of the environmental signatories, then any such agreement is an awful mistake that must be rectified urgently.”

“Forestry Tasmania is dragging the chain on rescheduling this logging and plan to commence more. Continuing to provide product logged from a smash and grab raid inside World Heritage nominated forests to the market is a recipe for disaster. It will not only lead to the loss of environmental values but will quite likely unsettle markets further,” said the CEO of Markets For Change, Peg Putt.

“Tony Burke should act in the best interests of the forests as well as the industry,” Ms Putt concluded.

Logging in World Heritage nominated forests in Butlers Gorge

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Media Release: A second day of protest halts logging at World Heritage nominated Butlers Gorge.

Today Still Wild Still Threatened has taken action at Butlers Gorge for the second day in a row. Yesterday protesters successfully halted logging operations in three separate logging coupes. Police arrested one protester yesterday afternoon and dismantled structures that blocked access to the logging road. This morning the logging is halted once again by a structure attached to a tree sit. One person is in the tree sit and 15 others are on the logging road.

“Conservationists are stopping logging for a second day today, because it is absolutely critical that the chainsaws stop in these World Heritage nominated forests” said Miranda Gibson, spokesperson for Still Wild Still Threatened.

“Three weeks ago when Minister Burke announced the outstanding universal values of these forests were worthy of World Heritage protection there should have been an immediate cessation of logging. This did not happen” said Ms Gibson.

“Stopping logging in World Heritage nominated forests should not be left up to the community. But unfortunately in the wake of Tony Burke’s deplorable neglect of these forests, conservationists have had to step in and hold the chainsaws at bay in order to try and protect very values for which these areas have been nominated” said Ms Gibson.

“As a conservationists, members of Still Wild Still Threatened cannot stand by and watch as some of Tasmania’s most precious forests carted away on the back of log trucks at a time when they should have been safe. We will continue to take action to end the destruction in these World Heritage nominated forests” said Ms Gibson.

“The message is clear: Tony Burke, enough is enough. You’ve nominated these forests, now protect them” said Ms Gibson.

butlers 21_2_13 2

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Media Update: Police arrest protester at Butlers Gorge

One conservationist has been arrested and a further arrest is likely this afternoon, at the protest taking place in Butlers Gorge. Approximately 11 police arrived at the protest just after 3:30pm today. One person who was locked onto the gate was removed and arrested. All other protesters left the area, except the tree-sitter, who remained in the tree. Police Search and Rescue are attempting to remove the tree-sitter.

“Dedicated conservationists have today put themselves in a position risking arrest in order to stand up for the World Heritage nominated forests of Butlers Gorge. These forests are being logged at an alarming rate, despite the Australian Government’s recent nomination to have them listed as World Heritage” said Miranda Gibson, spokesperson for Still Wild Still Threatened.

“The protection of these forests of outstanding universal value is supported by people around the world. Over 40,000 protest emails have been sent in the past few days targeting Burke and Gillard and calling for an end to this destruction” said Ms Gibson.

“Despite today’s arrests, Still Wild Still Threatened will continue to take action to bring an end to the logging of these globally significant forests” said Ms Gibson.

 Butlers Gorge banner and tree sit

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Media Update: Conservationists continue protest and call on Burke to protect Tasmania’s forests

Butlers Gorge tree sit 1 (2)

Today conservationists from Still Wild Still Threatened successfully halted logging operations for the day in the Butlers Gorge forests. One conservationist remains locked onto the gate, blocking access to the logging road that leads to three separate logging coupes in the area. Another protester remains in a tree sit.

“Today’s peaceful action has not only held off logging, giving reprieve for the forests of Butlers Gorge, it has highlighted the complete hypocrisy of the Australian Government who are allowing logging to continue in areas they have nominated for World Heritage protection” said Still Wild Still Threatened spokesperson, Miranda Gibson.

“Tony Burke is failing Tasmania’s forests. The nomination made by the Australian Government to protect these world-class forests could have been something to be proud of. Instead it is now tainted with the ongoing destruction of some of Tasmania’s most spectacular wilderness areas” said Ms Gibson.

“Tony Burke’s recent assertions that the forest wars are almost over is ignorant of the reality faced by these forests everyday, which is an onslaught of logging in some of Tasmania’s most contentious forests. Tasmania’s forests are not at peace; they are being decimated by the logging that Burke is allowing to continue unabated in areas he has nominated for World Heritage. It is absurd and unacceptable” said Ms Gibson

“Despite Burke’s clear failure to protect the values that his government has recognised in these forests, he has the gall to claim that the Greens are not standing up for the environment. While the Burke has been turning a blind eye to the logging going on in the forests he nominated to the IUCN for their World Heritage values, Christine Milne the Leader of the Greens was here with me, in the Observer Tree, seeing first hand the values of these irreplaceable forests. I would like to invite Tony Burke to do the same” said Ms Gibson.

“We are calling on the Australian Government to immediately withdraw all logging operations from Butlers Gorge and to ensure no new logging coupes are started within the World Heritage nominated forests” said Ms Gibson.

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Media Release: Peaceful action to halt logging of World Heritage nominated forests.

Butlers Gorge banner and tree sit

 Over 40,000 protest emails have been sent within the first days of an online petition targeting the Australian Government in a call to end the logging of World Heritage nominated forests in Tasmania. Today, conservationists from Still Wild Still Threatened are continuing to highlight the destruction of these forests by conducting a peaceful protest in Butlers Gorge. One protester has locked themselves to a gate and another person is perched in a tree sit, halting logging operations in the three logging coupes in the area. These coupes are situated in a forest that has been nominated only weeks ago by the Australian Government for a World Heritage listing.

 

Today’s peaceful action is taking place to halt the destruction that the Australian Government should have stopped themselves upon nominating these forests for World Heritage to the IUCN. The government’s nomination is recognition of the outstanding ecological values of these forests, despite this they are neglecting their responsibility to protect the area. These forests are not safe” said Miranda Gibson, spokesperson for Still Wild Still Threatened.

Butlers Gorge tree sit 1

Tree-sitter at Butlers Gorge

” There has been a global outcry resulting from the documentation of the ongoing logging. Since we released a report in conjunction with the Huon Valley Environment Center and Markets for Change last week, thousands of people have signed an online petition calling for an end to the destruction of these World Heritage nominated forests” said Ms Gibson.

The Federal Government has the responsibility, as commanded by Article 4 of the World Heritage Convention (1972) that Australia is a signatory to, to identify, protect, conserve, present and transmit to future generations these globally significant forests. It is blatant hypocrisy to nominate forests for World Heritage one week and log the same forests the next week.” said Ms Gibson.

“Still Wild Still Threatened will continue to stand up for the threatened forests of Butlers Gorge and other World Heritage nominated forests until they are securely protected. We are calling on the Australian Government to immediately end logging and ensure no new coupes are started within the nominated forests” said Ms Gibson

 

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Butlers Gorge Banner  1

Media Release: Miranda Gibson remains in Observer Tree until logging ceases in world heritage nominated forest

 Logging destruction of area nominated for World Heritage listing continues in secret- exposed by environmentalists

World Heritage value forests nominated a fortnight ago by the Australian government for inclusion on the World Heritage register are still not safe and are being logged in secret, Tasmanian environment groups Still Wild Still Threatened, and Huon Valley Environment Centre and national group Markets For Change revealed today.

A detailed report as well as film footage of the ongoing destruction, collected since the nomination, including the installation of new forestry gates to exclude the public was released by the groups. Footage also shows the threatened forests that have not yet seen a chainsaw, although Forestry Tasmania has plans to log the intact areas with the knowledge and apparent agreement of the Minister for the Environment, Tony Burke.

An online action will today be launched from the Observer Tree through social media, where people can write to Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Environment Minister Tony Burke, asking for urgent action to halt the logging of the extraordinary values of the nominated World Heritage Value forests. Also a group of conservationists held a banner out the front of Canberra’s Parliament House this morning calling on Gillard and Burke, “You nominated the forests now stop the logging”.

“When Minister Burke announced that the World Heritage nomination had gone to Paris I was overjoyed. Yet what he failed to announce was that the logging of these forests of global significance would continue. This is unacceptable and I am now compelled to remain in my tree sit until these forests are actually safe, as they should have been as soon as their values were put forward to the World Heritage Committee ,” said Miranda Gibson from the Observer Tree.

Feb 14 canberra action

Conservationists bring a messages from around the world to Canberra today.

“Conservationists in Canberra today are bringing the voice of the global community to the Australian Government. They have displayed a banner that features over 300 images sent in from around the globe, as the international community called for the protection of these world heritage value forests. Many more people will continue to bring the message to Gillard and Burke through the online action,” said Ms Gibson.

Miranda Gibson said, “In Butlers Gorge nearby the Observer Tree the tall forests are recognised to be absolutely outstanding wilderness and very significant tracts of the tallest flowering plants on the planet, yet this is where logging is ripping the place apart with three separate industrial scale operations.”

Current logging in Butlers Gorge

Current logging in Butlers Gorge

“The Australian government is abrogating its responsibility to protect the very World Heritage values they have nominated and many conservationists will be shocked that this could happen and angry that they have been kept in the dark about the continued logging. We are calling on the Federal Government to prevent any new logging from commencing and ensure that any current logging cease, so as to maintain the integrity and values of the World Heritage nominated forests.” said Jenny Weber of Huon Valley Environment Centre.

Jenny Weber said, “In the Huon region, seven areas of forests, with extraordinary values are scheduled for ongoing logging. The loggers are not in any of these forest areas now and we do not accept that logging should commence. In the far south in the Catamaran, the tall eucalypt forests in the Esperance and wilderness forests in the Picton Valley, we will not stand by while logging is scheduled to start in these world heritage value forests.”

These unique ecosystems in the Huon are on the schedule to supply timber to Ta Ann whose plywood flooring has already proved controversial in the Japanese market, which is another unacceptable source,” Jenny Weber said.

“Companies selling Tasmanian wood products will now be receiving supplies coming from forests nominated for protection for their world heritage values, a confronting prospect when the markets are actually crying out for improved environmental performance,” said CEO of Markets For Change, Peg Putt.

“Imagine a label on furniture or flooring saying ‘world heritage values died here’ and you get the idea of how horrified consumers will be and the damage this can do to the reputation of Tasmanian timber products just when world heritage recognition was supposed to crown the Tasmanian Forests Agreement. No wonder these logging plans were not publicly announced.”

“A failure of political will is now undermining both the industry and the best environmental treasures of Tasmania and the Prime Minister needs to take the matter in hand and insist that the world heritage values her government has nominated are not under assault for a single day more,” Ms Putt concluded.`

Click HERE to read the report.

butlers wh banner

From the threatened forests of Butlers Gorge all the way to Parliament House in Canberra- this banner is sharing the messages of support from around the globe, calling for world heritage forest protection.

Media Release: Tree sitter welcomes World Heritage nomination

Conservationist Miranda Gibson today welcomes the announcement by Federal Minister Tony Burke that a nomination will be made to the World Heritage Committee to include forests such as the Tyenna where Ms Gibson is located in the Observer Tree. Ms Gibson now awaits confirmation that logging will cease in World Heritage nominated areas, in order to make a decision on whether to continue Australia’s longest running tree-sit.

“After decades of community campaigning drawing attention to the values of these world class forests, we have now achieved a significant milestone for the protection of Tasmania’s forests. Today’s announcement comes after many years of Still Wild Still Threatened and other grassroots community groups defending these forests, such as the Upper Florentine Valley, that are now on their way to protection” said Miranda Gibson.

“The international community has been calling for the protection of these globally significant forests for a long time. With a recent example of over 300 actions taking place across the globe in support of the Observer Tree last month. Today’s announcement will most certainly be welcome around the world” said Ms Gibson.

“This extension to the World Heritage boundary has been recommended by the World Heritage Committee itself several years ago, and Burke had a responsibility as Environment Minister to protect these forests, despite the stalled process of the Forest Agreement.” said Ms Gibson.

“The World Heritage nomination for these areas should signal their protection. Burke has now acknowledged their values and must honour this nomination by protecting those values. This could potentially be a moment at which I could get down from the tree and celebrate, if these forests now safe from logging. However, I need to be certain that this significant international commitment will honoured on the ground, by the immediate withdrawal of logging operations from within the nominated forests” said Ms Gibson.

” It is our expectation that any ongoing logging within the area will cease within the coming days and that obviously no new logging coupes will be started. I will be waiting until we can confirm the cessation of logging before making a decision on getting down from the tree ” said Ms Gibson.

narrogin2

One of 300 actions around the world last month calling for the protection of these world class forests.

Media Release: Santa celebrates environmentalist’s second Christmas in the tree tops.

Santa arrives_low resConservationist Miranda Gibson is set to spend her second Christmas in the Observer Tree after spending more than a year living 60 meters above the ground.  To bring the festive spirit to Miranda’s tree-top perch, Santa Claus paid her a visit. Santa came into the tree baring gifts from many community members who support Miranda’s stance for the forests.

“Of all the natural areas in the world that I fly over each year on my Christmas flight I honestly believe that Tasmania’s tall forests are some of the most spectacular landscapes I have ever seen. To think they are still unprotected and threatened by logging and burning is unacceptable” said Mr Claus.

“This marks my second Christmas at the top of this tree. This time last year I had hoped that I would not have spent another Christmas here, and that this forest would be securely protected by now. Sadly, after a year, I still need to be here watching over this forest that remains under threat” said Miranda Gibson. “I hope that I will not be here for a third Christmas. In early 2013 the government has a opporutunity and the responsiblity to nominate these world-class forests for world heritage protection. What a wonderful Christmas gift it would be for all of Australians and the world, to have these forests protected for future generations” said Ms Gibson.

 

“I have sent a Christmas greeting to Environment Minister Tony Burke today urging him to place this area and all the other verified world heritage value forests of Tasmania into the  Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area,” said Mr Claus.
“The best christmas present Tasmania’s can ask for is the secure protection of these globally unique forests. I wish I could give this present but I it’s up to Tony Burke,” said Mr Claus.

Miranda and Santa 2_low res

Santa’s letter to Tony Burke

Santa Claus
PO Box 1,
North Pole
Dear Minister Burke,
As you know, I have traveled extensively across our beautiful planet and witnessed first hand many of the world’s finest natural wonders and wildernesses. I have to say that the Tasmanian wilderness and tall wet Eucalypt forests bordering the World Heritage Area are among my favourite areas to fly through. Unique in the world, these forests are home to endangered species, such as the Tasmanian devil, they are the most carbon rich forests on the planet, helping to keep our climate cool and are exceptionally beautiful and  irreplaceable.

Whilst passing through Tasmania each year on my global delivery run I am shocked to see these forests remain unprotected, many clear felled and cable logged. From the air, viewed from my sleigh, these areas look devastated. Large tracts of burnt, cleared land bordering the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.

This Christmas will be the second time that I will pay a visit to Miranda Gibson in the Observer tree. I believe Miranda is a true champion of democracy and standing up for what you believe in. For over one year now she has remained at the top of a threatened old growth Eucalypt tree in the Tyenna Valley near the Styx valley in Tasmania’s Southern forests. She has vowed to stay up the tree until the forest receives the protection it deserves and is added into the World Heritage Area. If not for Miranda I believe the magnificent forest she lives in would have already been destroyed for short-term profits but at an unmeasureable cost to the environment.

These forests are some of the most majestic, unique and tallest forests on the planet. I urge you to act immediately for their protection by adding them to the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.

Give Miranda Gibson the Christmas present that she deserves, that these forests deserve and that the vast majority of Tasmanian’s and Australian’s want too – World heritage protection for Tasmania’s ancient forests.
Your sincerely,
Santa Claus.

Miranda and Santa_low res

Media Release: Scrutiny of controversial support for Ta Ann

Cable logging in Russell Valley Photo: Jenny Weber

Cable logging in Russell Valley Photo: Jenny Weber

Environment groups Huon Valley Environment Centre and Still Wild Still Threatened have called for an immediate and comprehensive moratorium on all forests nominated for protection, as the key driver of forest destruction Ta Ann has announced it would close over January. The State Government could provide an immediate moratorium, with-out the business as usual logging that the failed moratoriums have had in the past.

“A real moratorium on logging in the world heritage value and national heritage value forests will provide the necessary protection for these areas. If Ta Ann is scaling back operations for January, then the logging can be scaled back too,” Huon Valley Environment Centre’s spokesperson Jenny Weber said.

“Ta Ann’s announcements of a seven week shut down and an agreement to accept lower peeler log supply from public forest, means there is no reason for those forests nominated for future reserves to be lost to clear-felling this summer. For this company to re-open in 2013 and continue to accept wood from verified national and world heritage value forest would fuel controversy in the international market and is unacceptable,” Miranda Gibson spokesperson for Still Wild Still Threatened said.

The organisations state their opposition to a premature environmental endorsement for Ta Ann in the markets.

“Ta Ann’s announcement that some environment groups will assist the company in January with a ‘market support program’, belittles the credibility of these environment groups and gives false certainty for the Japanese customers of Ta Ann. Premature endorsement for Ta Ann before secure protection of high conservation value forests is delivered is unacceptable. Endorsement for Ta Ann in their markets by environment groups will be supporting a timber product that is tainted with the loss of globally significant forests, threatened species impacts and large scale clear-felling,” Jenny Weber said.

“Certainty for forest protection has not been provided, so the largest timber company in Tasmania that is the key driver of world heritage and national heritage forests should not be provided market security,” Jenny Weber said.

“Ta Ann has not yet proven that they will cease accepting wood from the controversial forests that are the concern of the international community and customers. The company cannot expect to gain environmental credibility internationally without making those changes. And the market support they intend to receive from some environment groups cannot be a replacement for making real change to their ongoing destructive practises” said Miranda Gibson.

Our organisations are concerned that there are a range of issues arising from Ta Ann in Tasmania that require closer scrutiny including taxpayer funding for a multi-million dollar company, and the intention of the company to maintain their timber supply at 265 000 cubic metres, with 140 000 cubic metres being provided by private land at the same time that a weakening of the forest practices code spells threats to biodiversity.

“Ta Ann is set to be provided financial assistance by the State Government, with one example being a cheaper electricity deal. For tax-payer funds to support a multi-million dollar company, in a time when our community struggle with high power prices is an insult to the Tasmanian public,” said Jenny Weber

“Furthermore Federal tax-payer compensation for the company will be provided after their contracted wood supply could not be met by Forestry Tasmania; however Ta Ann is looking to make up the difference in their contracted wood supply from private land,” Jenny Weber said.

“Ta Ann stands to be the biggest winner out of the Tasmanian Forest Agreement, while the forests continue to be lost. Environment groups will give them a tick of approval despite the company being one of the most controversial companies to operate in Tasmania’s environmental landscape, while the tax-payer will prop up a multi-million dollar company,” Jenny Weber said.

“Tasmania has not yet seen one hectare of forest guaranteed secure protection through this forest agreement. Yet despite the uncertainty for the forests Ta Ann are being further propped up by the Government to continue operating in this state, without any evidence that they will cease accepting high conservation value forests,” Miranda Gibson said.

“Ta Ann’s announcements highlight the complete hypocrisy of the forest agreement. While logging is set to continue business as usual in high conservation value forests, the industry are being supported to continue that destruction without a guarantee for the forests,” Miranda Gibson said.

Image by Emma Capp

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