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Report confirms value of Tas forests

Updated:

Environment groups welcome the release of the independent and comprehensive verification report commissioned by Governments as part of the Tasmanian Forests Intergovernmental Agreement process.

Environment groups welcome the release of the independent and comprehensive verification report commissioned by Governments as part of the Tasmanian Forests Intergovernmental Agreement process.

The report will provide a sound factual basis on issues surrounding conservation values for the forest, wood supply for industry and community and social impacts. After decades of divisive debate it finally provides the information necessary for signatories to negotiate a lasting resolution.

The report confirms that the proposed forest reserves are unique and important on a national and global scale, with 94% of the proposed area having environmental values of national or World Heritage significance. These values deserve protection.

It concludes that reservation of the forest areas would improve protection or core habitat areas for species like the Tasmanian devil, swift parrot, griant freshwater crayfish and many other listed threatened species.

The Wilderness Society has long argued that Tasmania has some of the most carbon dense forests in the world and our community carbon accounting program is confirming this. The report states that “the creation of the ENGO reserves has the potential to make a ‘significant and quick’ contribution to reducing Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions”, furthering the fight against climate change.”

The report also presents some very sobering facts highlighting real challenges facing the logging industry. While the market challenges are well known and international markets have been systematically rejecting native forest wood products, this report highlights a supply side crisis.

The forests have been overcut and over allocated, meaning that current contracts cannot be met, even if there are no new reserves created!

It will be challenging, but we strongly believe that a negotiated outcome is not only possible, but still the best way to protect forests and restructure the industry onto a sustainable footing, delivering outcomes for the environment, industry and community and moving Tasmania on from decades of divisive conflict. In fact, in the short to middle term, this is the only way. Business as usual is not an option.

The report is available here and we thank Professor West his group of experts and their support teams for the thorough work they undertook in producing these reports.

Read more - Independent Verification Report Factsheet

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