21 August, 2015

Victorian Government considers buying timber industry out of Leadbeater's possum habitat

ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation), 21 August 2015

PHOTO: The Leadbeater's possum is one of the most critically endangered animals in Australia and faces rapid habitat loss from logging. (AAP: Healesville Sanctuary)

In a highly sensitive move, the Victorian Government is considering a plan that could buy the logging industry out of a forest to save the state's faunal emblem, the Leadbeater's possum.

The Leadbeater's possum is one of the most critically endangered animals in Australia and its habitat in the tall mountain ash forests of the state's central highlands is in decline due to logging and fires.

A long awaited industry taskforce has now been set up to consider whether logging and the Leadbeater's Possum can both continue in these forests.

Professor David Lindenmayer from the Australian National University (ANU) said the timber industry must stop logging the central highlands mountain ash forest if the possum is to have a chance of surviving.

"Lots of places are being logged that shouldn't, the big old trees aren't being protected, this leaves animals like Leadbeater's very little chance of surviving the next 20 to 30 years," he said.

Dave Blair, a senior research officer with ANU, said recommendations handed down by the Leadbeater's Possum advisory group last year are not adequately protecting the possum.

"The science we have been working on for decades now was largely sidelined with a lot of the recommendations either being extremely watered down versions of it or proposing things that we know already aren't going to work," he said.

Scientists from the ANU and conservationists are pushing for a Great Forest National Park, which would provide a much larger ecological reserve for the possum.

The state owned logging corporation, VicForests, said that would mean the end of the timber industry in the central highlands.

VicForests general manager of planning Nathan Trushell, said: "It's not a surprise to anyone, if the Great Forest National Park was implemented in its current form that would result in the end of most of the Victorian hardwood timber industry."

Buying logging industry out risks upsetting key union supporter

The Victorian Government is under intense pressure to do more to save the possum.

In the last month, Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt has twice called on it to take action.

"We listed the Leadbeater's Possum as critically endangered and it's up to them now to be absolutely clear what their plans are because I understand that logging has recently commenced in new areas and I think it's time for the Labor Government in Victoria to be upfront about their plans," he said.

Mr Hunt has also invited the Victorian Government to apply for funding that could pave the way for it to buy the timber industry out of the central highlands mountain ash forest.

PHOTO: Rusty logging coupe in Toolangi state forest which was logged in 2014. (ABC)
If the submission was approved it would allow the State Government to bid for millions of dollars a year from the Emissions Reduction Fund to not log in Leadbeater's Possum forests.

It is a highly sensitive issue for the State Government because of its potential to upset one of its key union supporters, the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU), which represents timber workers.

Mr Trushell said even if millions of dollars of Emissions Reduction Fund money was available, it would not be easy or simple to move the timber industry out of the central highlands.

"Look, I think these are the types of issues that would be worked through the industry taskforce," he said.

"We're talking about a substantial industry. The reality is the solutions aren't easy. The alternatives aren't easy.

"Ultimately if you were to close down the timber industry in eastern Victoria, you would need to substitute from somewhere else."

Mr Trushell said it would also have a significant impact on some regional communities.

"It's an important industry regionally. It contributes to significant socio-economic benefits. You need to look at the whole picture."

The Victorian Government declined to be interviewed.

But in a statement a spokesperson said the terms of reference for the taskforce are currently being formalised.

07 August, 2015

Logging in national parks good for vulnerable species, Timber NSW says

ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
7 August 2015

Vulnerable native species would benefit if New South Wales' national parks were opened up to controlled logging, according to the state's timber industry.

PHOTO: Controlled logging would protect vulnerable species in NSW, experts say. (Rose Grant)

Timber NSW says controlled logging should be allowed in the state's national parks and Crown lands as well as in state forests.

That view is supported by Senator Richard Colbeck, Parliamentary Secretary to Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce.

In an opinion piece published today on ABC Environment, general manager of Timber NSW Maree McCaskill and industry consultant Nick Cameron argue that the current legislative arrangements for land management in NSW are failing vulnerable species.

They argue that a unified approach to "tenure" — the legal term for land management — would have better results for vulnerable species, communities and the timber industry.

"The tenure system offers no broad landscape management and accountability. Frequently, forestry departments focus on the profits of timber production, park managers focus on the records of individual species and managers of Crown lands focus on administration," they wrote.

"Native forests are not static museums that can be locked up forever. Like your own garden or backyard they need careful management to keep them healthy.

"Through preventative measures like ecological thinning and fire mitigation, the timber industry can play an important role in active, adaptive management to tackle common threats across all tenure types."

In a recent interview for Radio National's Background Briefing, Senator Colbeck made calls for a similar "broad landscape" approach to forest management.

"If you look at, for example, native species decline in this country, the rate of native species decline inside of national parks is hardly different at all to what it is across the rest of the landscape," he said.

"In my mind, what that says to me is you need to manage the entire landscape to ensure that those values that you're looking to achieve are maintained. You can do that with sustainable forest management principles."

He said such an approach to forest management was being adopted globally.

"If you go to a lot of the landscape and forestry management conferences around the world right now, it's about broad landscape management," Mr Colbeck said.

"It's about managing the broad landscape for values. It's about managing the broad landscape for native species and doing what you can across that entire landscape, not just bits and pieces of it because if you do it that way I think that we're only going to continue to go backwards," he said.

Ms McCaskill said forestry science professionals appeared to have been forgotten over the last 20 years of national park expansion, saying they had skills and knowledge that should be used.

"The timber industry can provide harvesting and thinning services as it does now, under the controls applied and required by the EPA legislation, to reduce fire risk and improve forest health," she said.

The proposal for a more consistent approach to forests comes on the back of allegations made last month to Background Briefing that high-grade timber is running out in NSW.

In a statutory declaration, a north coast NSW landholder, Peter Roberts, attested that at a community meeting, a Forest Corporation NSW representative told him privately: "The hardwood forests along the coast have been flogged to death, there's no decent sawlogs left, the timber's all gone".

Current practices 'murder' and 'criminal'

Forestry workers who spoke to Background Briefing agreed, describing current forest practices as "murder" and "criminal".

Nick Roberts, chief executive of Forest Corporation NSW, agreed that many areas previously available to loggers had been turned into national parks, however he disputed the suggestion the forests were "flogged".

"No, that's not my assessment," he said, pointing to the example of lush forest at Bruxner Park that had previously been harvested.

Logging national parks is not going to restore key habitat features: time will.
NSW National Parks Association science officer Dr Oisin Sweeney
Environmental groups have slammed the suggestion that national parks be opened to timber companies.

"To suggest we can manage our way to high biodiversity through activities like logging is extraordinarily arrogant and misguided," NSW National Parks Association science officer Dr Oisin Sweeney said.

"Protecting large, intact landscapes, controlling invasives and letting nature do the rest is our best approach."

He disagreed with Senator Colbeck that other countries were moving to a more tenure-neutral approach to forest management.

"Much of the world, including Europe, is moving [away from that] approach as 'rewilding' becomes a more and more popular approach to restoring natural values," he said.

"The decline in biodiversity is a legacy of past mismanagement: we have fragmented all natural habitats, removed millions of trees from west of the divide as land was cleared for agriculture and timber, and logged all our old-growth forests.

"Of course species have declined. Logging national parks is not going to restore key habitat features: time will."

30 June, 2015

Native forest wood waste: The new renewable energy?

Albert McKnight
Bega District News,  June 30, 2015

BURNING native forest wood waste for power is applicable for financial incentives under the Renewable Energy Target (RET).

Late at night on June 23, the Senate passed legislation cutting the RET from 41,000 gigawatt hours to 33,000 in an agreement between Labor and the Federal Liberal Government.

Under the new legislation, native forest wood waste can receive RET certificates and be eligible for financial incentives, despite being removed from the target in 2011.

This move was made against protests from Labor and The Greens, who said this inclusion could encourage the unsustainable harvesting of native forests.

“It’s an open invitation for the struggling forestry industry to sacrifice NSW’s native forests into furnaces,” The Greens’ member of the NSW Legislative Council John Kaye said.

“Wood waste will take up opportunities to generate renewable energy certificates and crowd out solar and wind renewable energy sources.”

However, South East Fibre Exports general manager Peter Mitchell said the government had made a “very good decision”.

“Wood has been recognised as the main source of renewable energy for thousands of years,” he said.

Mr Mitchell said trees turn solar energy into wood, which can then be burnt, so it is “basically a renewable energy”.

However, Federation University Professor of Environmental Science Peter Gell said it was a “falsehood” to claim this type of electricity production as renewable.

“You can’t ‘renew’ or replace the burnt carbon stored in a 100 to 600-year-old forest in the turnaround time needed to address climate change,” Professor Gell said.

“If all Australian native forest log production in 2009 had instead been burned for electricity, it would have substituted as little as 2.8 per cent of our coal-based power generation.

“So, we risk unleashing an industry with the potential appetite to decimate our native forests, and all the services they provide, to gain very limited emissions benefit.”

Forty scientists – including Professor Gell - in such fields as ecology, chemistry and biology have signed an open letter to the Australian Parliament stating their opposition to the inclusion of native wood as an energy source under the RET.

“The native forest logging industry continues to decline across Australia as plantations now provide a viable alternative supply for building,” Professor Gell said.

“There is no logic in basing ‘renewable energy’ on the need to secure viable large supplies of ‘waste’ wood from a fast declining primary industry.”

While Mr Mitchell said while times had been hard for the forestry industry, things were improving as demand was growing for forestry products - especially in third world countries.

“It’s been tough times, but we posted a profit last year and we are going to make a profit this year,” he said.

A spokesperson for NSW Forestry Corporation said prior to the new legislation, native forest wood waste could already be burnt as an energy source.

Mr Mitchell said while this was the case, the waste was not applicable for RET certificates.

Under the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Amendment Bill 2015, biomass, or fuel, from a native forest must be harvested for a purpose other than energy production.

Acceptable biomass includes by-products of a Commonwealth or state approved harvesting operation, or an operation carried out with ecologically sustainable management principles.

Mr Mitchell said the industry is heavily regulated and if you cut down trees for the specific purpose of generating power you would not get renewable energy certificates.

A Forestry Corporation of NSW spokesperson said there had not been a demand for wood-fired power stations yet, but there may be opportunities in the future.

“We are aware of some private companies who are already investing in renewable energy generation elsewhere by combining waste from sugar mills with wood waste from timber plantations,” the spokesperson said.

IN 2011, a proposal for a wood-fired power station at South East Fibre Exports’ (SEFE) chipmill in Eden stirred up contention in the Bega Valley community.

However, the Federal Government removed native forest wood from its renewable energy scheme that year and the plans did not go ahead (BDN, 15/6/11).

Despite the recent Renewable Energy (Electricity) Amendment Bill 2015 listing wood waste as an energy source applicable for renewable energy certificates, SEFE general manager Peter Mitchell said his company has no plans to build a wood-fired power plant.

“We had plans a few years ago, but they were shelved as the amount of waste produced here reduced as exports reduced, so it was not economically viable to go ahead with that project anymore,” he said.

“It is a very fragile environment as the government can change the regulations very easily.

“So it is difficult to go ahead with a large, expensive investment unless there is certainty.”

In 2012, a DA was approved for a wood pellet fuel plant at Eden, which went on to produce wood pellets for heaters for a period of time before being shut down.

The plant will be leased this year and resume production.

Mr Mitchell said the new bill would have no effect on the wood pellet plant. 

09 June, 2015

Forestry Tasmania debt guarantee increased to $41 million by State Government

Rosemary Bolger
ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation),  9/6/15

Forestry Tasmania logging coupe
The Tasmanian Government has increased the level of debt it will guarantee for the state-owned forestry business.

Treasurer Peter Gutwein has revealed he signed off on another Letter of Comfort for Forestry Tasmania (FT) in February, increasing the debt level covered by $10 million to $41 million.

The letter allows the ailing business to continue operating in deficit.

Forestry Tasmania will also get a $30 million equity transfer from the state-owned energy business TasNetworks.

The reassurance was initially issued in 2009 to allow the state-owned lender Tascorp and Forestry Tasmania to negotiate new lending arrangements.

Greens treasury spokesman Nick McKim said Mr Gutwein had repeatedly failed to explain how Forestry Tasmania could ever pay back the money it owed.

"We know that Forestry Tasmania currently owes $27.8 million, yet the Treasurer has no idea whatsoever how and when FT can ever become financially viable," he said.

"The simple fact is that logging native forests is a loss making enterprise, and there is no realistic prospect of that changing in the future.

"It's now clear that Mr Gutwein has no plan for Forestry Tasmania except continuing to throw public funds at it and allowing it to rack up debts and sell assets."

07 June, 2015

The UK's £1billion carbon-belcher raping US forests...that YOU pay for: How world's biggest green power plant is actually INCREASING greenhouse gas emissions and Britain's energy bill

David Rose
The Mail on Sunday (UK), 7 June 2015

  • Drax power station in Yorkshire uses wood pellets to create electricity
  • The move from coal was considered to be environmentally friendly
  • But far from cutting emissions, change is actually increasing them
  • In turn, it is adding millions of pounds to Britain's electricity bills

It is touted as the flagship of Britain’s energy future: the world’s biggest green power plant burning wood pellets to generate renewable biomass electricity that will safeguard the planet for our children.

But today The Mail on Sunday can expose the hypocrisy that underpins the Drax power station in North Yorkshire – which far from curbing greenhouse emissions, is actually increasing them, while adding huge sums to the nation’s power bills.

Drax was once Britain’s biggest coal-fired power station. It now burns millions of tons of wood pellets each year, and is reputed to be the UK’s biggest single contributor towards meeting stringent EU green energy targets.

But astonishingly, a new study shows that the switch by Drax from coal to wood is actually increasing carbon emissions. It says they are four times as high as the maximum level the Government sets for plants that use biomass – which is defined as fuel made from plant material that will grow back again, therefore re-absorbing the CO2 emitted when it is burnt.

Drax was once Britain’s biggest coal-fired power station. It now burns millions of tons of wood pellets each year, and is reputed to be the UK’s biggest single contributor towards meeting stringent EU green energy targets

Drax was once Britain’s biggest coal-fired power station. It now burns millions of tons of wood pellets each year, and is reputed to be the UK’s biggest single contributor towards meeting stringent EU green energy targets

At £80 per MW/hr, Drax’s biomass energy is two-and-a-half times more expensive than coal – a cost passed on to customers. Last year Drax soaked up £340 million in ‘green’ subsidies that were added to British consumers’ power bills – a sum set to rocket still further. Without these subsidies, its biomass operation would collapse.

Perhaps most damningly of all, its hunger for wood fuel is devastating hardwood forests in America, to the fury of US environmentalists, who say that far from saving the planet, companies like Drax are destroying it. Drax denies this, saying it only uses dust and residues from sawmills, as well as wood left over when others log trees for purposes such as construction. Inquiries by The Mail on Sunday investigation suggests this claim is highly questionable.

In 2013, Drax’s first year of biomass operation, only one of its six units – which each have a capacity of 650MW – was burning pellets. Its total green subsidy then was £62.5 million.

Drax qualifies for subsidy because under EU rules, biomass is rated as ‘zero carbon’ – on the basis that trees used can be grown back.

Yesterday, the plant’s spokesman Andrew Brown refused to say how much subsidy it is being paid now, claiming this information was ‘commercially sensitive’.

But a Mail on Sunday analysis shows that in 2014, with two biomass units operational, the subsidy rose to at least £340 million – about three-quarters of Drax’s gross profit. The figure was calculated from the plant’s own public declarations of how much power it has generated from biomass, and known details of how much the subsidies are worth per MW/hr.

Now, with a third 650MW biomass furnace due to be lit in the next few weeks, the subsidy will grow again, in step with Drax’s output. By 2016, the total it has received will be well over £1 billion, with about half a billion being paid annually.

Drax is proud of its green credentials, and claims that it uses sawdust from sawmills and ‘waste wood’ or ‘leftovers’ – branches and smaller sections – discarded by commercial logging operations.

In a promotional video for Bloomberg Business last month, the only pellet source that managing director Andy Koss mentioned was the sawdust. He said: ‘We take the sawdust that’s left over from sawmills that are cutting the big trees that go into house-building.’

In fact, according to Drax’s own website, last year sawdust made up just 9.5 per cent of its pellets. A much bigger source is American hardwood trees – such as oak, sweetgum, cypress, maple and beech – supplied by US firm Enviva, which sells Drax a million tons of pellets a year, a quarter of the plant’s 2014 supply. Drax claims the wood it is supplied with is ‘sustainable’.

However, the Dogwood Alliance, a US environmental group, has investigated Enviva operations on the ground several times and found evidence to the contrary.

Late last month, Dogwood campaigner Adam Macon travelled with colleagues to the Enviva pellet plant at Ahoskie, North Carolina, where he saw piles of hardwood trunks 40 feet high being fed into the plant’s hopper – the start of the process where the trees are pulped and turned into pellets. These could not be described as ‘leftovers’.

Macon recorded the number plate details of an empty truck leaving the plant and followed it to a forested area 20 miles away. He waited as numerous other trucks, laden with tree trunks, left the forest for Ahoskie. Then, the truck he had been following left too, carrying its load back to the plant. The next step was to visit the area being cut. ‘To avoid detection, we trekked in from the back, through a forested swamp,’ Macon said.

‘We trudged through mud and water up to our knees. Wildlife buzzed, chirped and splashed all around as huge hardwood cypress trees towered above – a testament to the incredible biodiversity that exists in this region.’
Finally they reached the cut: ‘All that was left were the stumps of once great trees. They had destroyed an irreplaceable wetland treasure.’

MACON described how on another occasion last year, he hid closer to the actual cutting. ‘We saw the trees being cut, all the way to the bottom, then being put into a machine that cut off all the branches. The trunks were loaded into trucks, which we followed to Ahoskie.’

This operation is not illegal. Although they are home to dozens of species of animals and birds, some of them endangered, the forests are not protected. But US environmentalists claim that demand for biomass is hugely increasing the rate at which they are felled.

Yesterday, Drax spokesman Andrew Brown denied this, saying that at the sites where Enviva operates, it takes only ‘waste wood’ – the leftovers after trees are sent to sawmills to produce timber for building. He emphasised that the plant’s wood comes from branches and tree tops, or whole trees that were diseased, too thin or too twisted to use for other purposes, claiming that areas would never be felled just to make pellets.


The disgraced former Energy Secretary Chris Huhne was a key political architect of Britain’s drive for biomass – and is now the European chief of a US pellet company which is seeking UK markets.
Lib Dem Huhne, left – who was jailed in 2012 for persuading his ex-wife to take his speeding points – is a director of Zilkha Biomass, which is currently completing a huge ‘black wood pellet’ plant in Selma, Alabama.

Zilkha already has a contract to supply a power station near Paris, and a spokesman said it was ‘absolutely interested’ in doing business in the UK. The firm’s website boasts of Huhne’s former Cabinet role, saying he was responsible for ‘setting up a new energy-saving framework’ as well as ‘market reform to spur low carbon investment’.

Huhne declined to disclose his salary, saying: ‘Biomass is one of the cheapest ways of generating low-carbon electricity ... all I am doing is working in a business that I have followed and been interested in for years.’


He added that it was much better to use the ‘leftovers’ for pellets than to let them rot, which would ‘release CO2 and potentially methane, without any net gain to society’.

In fact, the US Environmental Protection Agency reported in November that hardly any methane is released by rotting wood.
Enviva spokesman Kent Jenkins made similar assertions, saying: ‘You asked whether we take an entire harvest from a clear-cut of bottomland forests. No.’

However, The Mail on Sunday spoke last week to a senior forester at a North Carolina wood firm which has frequently worked for Enviva, clear-cutting areas from 20 to 80 acres. The forester, who asked us to protect his identity, said: ‘Most of this wood is no good for sawmills. You might get the odd log or two, but very few in the swamps I’ve cut. You might not get any that are any use for that. It’s very possible they will all just go for pellets or chips.’

His comments support claims that biomass is hastening forest decline. He added that the hardwood species that were cut might never grow back, because owners seeded other, fast-growing species in their place.

Wood chip pellets used to provide fuel for the heating system for the Olympic sailors village

According to Drax, the original forests grow back naturally.

In his video presentation, Drax’s Andy Koss claimed the firm was so green that its contribution to cutting emissions was the equivalent of taking three million cars off the road.

But a new study led by Dr Thomas Buchholz of the Spatial Informatics Group, a team of environmental experts and scientists, casts doubt on this. His findings are based on the official Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) model for calculating emissions, known as BEAC. This weighs factors including harvesting, transport and emissions from the furnaces – when pellets are burnt they produce much more CO2 than natural gas or coal – as well as new tree growth.

Dr Buchholz’s conclusions are devastating. The official DECC standard says biomass plants should emit a maximum of 285kg of carbon dioxide for every 1MW/hr of electricity. But the research found that averaged over 40 years, Drax’s net emissions will be more than four times as high.

"All that was left were the stumps of once great trees. They had destroyed an irreplaceable wetland treasure"  Dogwood campaigner Adam Macon

Enviva’s Kent Jenkins claimed the study ‘employed faulty assumptions and flawed methodology’, and should be disregarded because it was commissioned by the Southern Environmental Law Center in Virginia – a ‘vocal critic’ of the company.

Drax’s Brown cited another study from Duke University in North Carolina, which suggested biomass might cut emissions. He did not mention that this was funded by forestry companies, including Enviva. This study also admits it does not consider how long it takes for CO2 to be re-absorbed by new growth.

The UK government is taking the Buchholz study seriously. A DECC spokesman said it was ‘looking to expand our evidence base on the carbon impacts of bioenergy’ and had already commissioned further research to evaluate the findings.
Meanwhile, opposition by American environmentalists is building.

Dr Mary S Booth, a biomass expert and director of US think-tank the Partnership for Policy Integrity, said: ‘UK policymakers need to recognize that wood-fired power plants are a disaster for forests and the climate, and abolish bioenergy subsidies immediately.’

Dogwood Alliance director Danna Smith added: ‘It’s not the carbon emissions that are disappearing, it’s the forests – and there’s no guarantee they will ever come back.

02 June, 2015

Report Released at UN Climate Negotiations Says Forest Biomass Not Carbon Neutral

Media Release, 2 June 2015

Members of Parliament considering adding native forest biomass to the RET should be aware of a working paper released at UN Climate negotiations in Bonn overnight by Chatham House which says that burning forest biomass for electricity is not carbon neutral, warned Markets For Change.

Chatham House is a highly regarded international think tank based in London, also known as The Royal Institute of International Affairs.

The Working Paper “Forest-based biomass energy accounting under the UNFCCC: finding the ‘missing’ carbon emissions” is an advance release of one section of an extensive research paper examining the worldwide impact on forests and the climate of the use of wood for electricity generation and heat.

“According to the well-researched study, fostering forest biomass as a source of renewable energy in Europe is shown to be actually damaging the climate further with carbon emissions,” said Markets For Change CEO Peg Putt who attended the event in Bonn.

Key messages are:

  • The assumption that forest-based biomass is carbon neutral is flawed
  • The UNFCCC's GHG accounting framework treats biomass as carbon neutral within the energy sector based on the faulty assumption that emissions will be fully accounted in the land-use sector
  • The current land-use accounting rules result in a significant quantity of emissions from forest-based bioenergy being excluded from the global accounting system.
  • The global increase in the use of biomass for heat and electricity is making it increasingly clear that the accounting rules currently in place cause gaps in carbon accounting that can lead to perverse climate outcomes

A presentation on other parts of the upcoming full report also outlined that the burning of forest biomass creates a ‘carbon debt’ which can take decades or even centuries to recover.

“The important message for Australia from this weighty study is that burning native forests for electricity will not help the climate. The assumption that it is climate neutral is simply wrong,” Ms Putt said.

“The proposal to include native forest biomass burning into the Renewable Energy Target is deeply flawed and should be rejected when it is debated in Parliament in coming weeks,” Ms Putt concluded.

A copy of the paper can be obtained from: JHein@chathamhouse.org

Link to a blog about it

Contact: Peg Putt 0418 127 580

Markets For Change Limited
ABN 18 148 079 645
PO Box 3087, West Hobart, TAS, 7000
Email: mfc@marketsforchange.org

30 May, 2015

UNESCO calls for changes to Tasmania's draft World Heritage management plan amid mining and logging fears

ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation), 30 May 2015

A view of Cox Bight in Tasmania's World Heritage which is part of the South Coast Track (Dan Broun)

UNESCO's World Heritage Committee (WHC) is concerned about mining and logging under a draft management plan for Tasmania's World Heritage Area.

It wants the plan changed, and has stated that mineral exploration and exploitation is incompatible with world heritage status.

The Tasmanian Government is trying to change the way the state's 1.5 million hectare World Heritage Area is managed.

The existing management plan divides the area into four zones, while the new draft plan replaces the wilderness zone with a remote recreation zone.

In Paris overnight, UNESCO's WHC urged the draft plan be changed.

An initial review cited concerns that the plan appeared to create potential for logging operations and mining activity in the World Heritage Area.

It is also concerned that there is no clear identification of the area's cultural value.

A planned survey of the cultural attributes of Tasmania's World Heritage Area is due to be completed in 2018.

In its review of the draft management plan, the WHC said it had "repeatedly called" for a definition of the property's cultural value.

The committee recommended a mission of international experts be invited to Tasmania to review and provide advice for a survey and the revision of the draft management plan before any moves to finalise it.

'It's a wake-up call that we have to get it right'

Vica Bayley from the Wilderness Society said UNESCO delivered a damning rejection of Tasmania's draft management plan.

"It's a wake-up call that we have to get it right, we have to completely withdraw and redraft the management plan and we have to get on with the job of honouring the committee's request to engage with the Aboriginal community and properly understand and study the cultural heritage values of this area," he said.

Mr Bayley said it was uncommon for UNESCO to recommend sending a monitoring mission.

"I think that's significant in that it signals the committee has deep concerns over the management direction of the Hodgman Government, and that it wants to send its team out here to give advice and to assist with the development and finalisation of the management plan," he said.

"It demonstrates that the committee, I think, has lost confidence in the way Tasmania's wilderness World Heritage Area is being managed."

UNESCO last year rejected a bid from the Federal Government to delist more than 70,000 hectares of forest from the World Heritage Area.

The State and Federal Governments have been contacted for comment.