10 September, 2010

Gunns exits native forests, they should now be protected in Tasmania, NSW and Victoria

Peter Campbell
Letter submitted to The Age, 10 September 2010

Gunns has exited from logging native forests in Tasmania, and have stated that "native forest is not part of our future" and that they are moving to a plantation-based business.

Gunns acknowledged that the vast majority of Australians want their native forests protected.

However, Tasmanian native forests, and native forests in Victoria and New South Wales, are not protected from logging as a result of this.

The Victorian Labor government promised in 2006 to "immediately protect remaining significant stands of old growth forest currently available for timber harvesting" but they have not yet done so.

The 40,000 hectares of "forest" they did commit to protect included low quality regrowth forest and even some cow paddocks.  They did not protect other designated old growth forests such as Brown Mountain.

Following legal action by Environment East Gippsland, the Victorian Supreme Court ruled that Brown Mountain forest must be protected due to the presence of endangered species and the requirements of the law, and found the Victorian Government and Vicforests to be at fault.

It is now up to state and federal governments to recognised the will of the people and ensure that remaining native forests are protected and that the logging and woodchip industries fully transition to plantation resources.

The very significant benefits in protecting our remaining native forests include preserving their biodiversity, safeguarding the carbon they store and the water they produce, and providing an excellent resource for local and international eco-tourism.


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