Media Releases - 03 September 2020

Govt logging agency intends to keep logging Leatherwood, Tasmania’s single-most agriculturally important plant species

The ABC’s 7.30 Report featured a story on 2 September 2020 about the continued logging of rainforest species Leatherwood by Tasmania’s Government-owned logging agency (marketed as Sustainable Timber Tasmania), which showed that its agreement to protect Leatherwood trees is meaningless. 

“Logging regulations in Tasmania are peppered with caveats and weasel-words like ‘may’, ‘could’ and ‘should’. The logging agency’s apiary ‘guidelines’ and memorandum of understanding with Tasmanian beekeepers are textbook examples, giving little meaningful extra protection to Leatherwood in reality,” said Tom Allen for the Wilderness Society Tasmania. 

“The 7.30 Report showed that, despite these guidelines, logging contractors knowingly destroyed yet more of the dwindling stocks of Tasmania’s single most agriculturally important plant species—despite a local beekeeper informing them and asking them not to.”

The logging agency’s Suzette Weeding told the ABC: “It’s probably unlikely that we’d ever be in a situation where we wouldn’t be able to harvest a wet forest area without impacting on Leatherwood.”

“Having already logged 80% of Tasmania’s single most agriculturally important plant, the logging agency is going to continue to destroy it, making a mockery of its agreement to “protect retained commercial Leatherwood patches when conducting operations”. 

“The Gutwein Government’s logging agency claimed in the report that “[Leatherwood and Forestry Tasmania’s logging] are important and both support jobs and compromise is required” but the agency is subsidised by taxpayers and destroys High Conservation Value forests, including Leatherwood. In contrast, Leatherwood trees are unsubsidised and dwindling yet support the state’s multi-billion-dollar agricultural industry like no other species does. 

“We urge Premier Gutwein to read The Lorax and then guarantee the protection of Tasmania’s remaining Leatherwood trees,” said Mr Allen. 

For further comment contact Tom Allen on 0434 614 323