Tasmania, Australia is home to the tallest hardwood forests on Earth, with eucalyptus trees reaching nearly 100 metres and living for over 400 years, existing within one of Earth's greatest tracts of temperate rainforest. Tasmania contains large tracts of intact old growth forest, wild rivers, indigenous heritage sites, and critical endangered species' habitat. There are many species that rely on old growth trees for their survival, including habitat for the Tasmanian devil which is threatened due to a quickly spreading disease. These forests continue to be subject to clear-felling, cable logging, and follow on high intensity burns which turn these ancient forests into wastelands. The key driver behind the logging is Malaysian timber giant Ta Ann, who turns these ancient ecosystems into plywood, and then sells it globally labeled as “eco ply” claiming it is environmentally friendly. Once again old-growth timber labeling claiming sustainability is revealed to be ecocidal greenwash.
In 2012 a team of government endorsed independent scientists made an assessment of Tamania's forests and found that 572,000 hectares of high conservation value forests were of significance both nationally and internationally. Recently the Australian government has formally acknowledged the global significance of these ancient forests, and has nominated 170,000 hectares to be added to the existing Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. Yet, alarmingly the government has allowed logging to continue in these forests even as they are being readied for protection status. Right now in Butlers Gorge, an area identified in the verification report as one of Tasmania's most significant tracts of wilderness, there are four logging coupes being subject to destruction. To rip the heart out of these precious ecosystems, right before they are listed as being of world heritage, makes no sense at all, and significantly reduces the ecological value of the temperate rainforest bioregion to be protected.
On December 14th 2011 conservationist Miranda Gibson climbed 60 meters to the top of a 400 year old tree in this ancient forest being threatened by logging. Miranda recently had to leave the tree due to fire danger, yet continues to connect to the world via the internet, sharing the story of these forests with a global audience. Miranda updates a daily blog at http://www.observertree.org/. Miranda has maintained her determined resolve, inspiring the international community. “My action alone will not save these forests – its power is as a catalyst for others to take a stand. Right now we need the Australian government to know that the whole world is watching. Please sign this online action and help us protect these unique ecosystems for the future,” says Ms. Gibson. Given the government themselves have acknowledged the values of these forests, and they would not want to bring international shame upon themselves, a large response from the international community right now could make a very real and tangible impact for these priceless old-growth forests. We must help pressure the Australian government to cease logging forests slated for protection.
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Clearcut industrial logging of Butlers Gorge Tasmanian old-growth for Australian sawmills and Malaysian plywood. Protected old-growth temperate rainforests not much of a heritage area if have been industrially pillage first.
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