Media Releases - 17 August 2020

STT’s 2nd FSC-fail sends market signal Tasmanian logging still equals native forest & wildlife destruction

  • Tasmania’s government-owned logging agency ‘Sustainable’ Timber Tasmania fails FSC Full Forest Management certification audit for second time: 10 major non-conformances 
  • Ongoing absence of FSC certification is a market signal that STT-logged wood is not sustainable, ethical, transparent or has social licence
  • Failed audit highlights need for Gutwein Government to ensure high conservation value forests are adequately protected in secure reserves

Sustainable Timbers Tasmania’s (STT) Friday-evening release of its latest FSC audit report shows that the state government logging agency, Forestry Tasmania (the auditors queried the fact its legal name remains Forestry Tasmania): 

  • Continues to log old-growth forests 
  • Continues to log and mismanage swift parrot habitat
  • Is failing to manage High Conservation Values across the landscape.

“Tasmania’s Gutwein Government has flunked a major opportunity to raise Sustainable Timber Tasmania’s practices to the world-best practice level required by the global gold-standard of FSC forestry management,” said Tom Allen for the Wilderness Society Tasmania. 

“With a whopping 10 major non-conformances by STT, investors, markets and consumers demanding ethical and sustainable FSC-certified wood will now plainly see a big black cloud over Tasmania’s forestry industry and that its wood—and the products made from it—remain synonymous with forest destruction,” said Mr Allen. 

The independent FSC auditors found that STT continues to log foraging and nesting trees for the Critically Endangered swift parrot.

Tom Allen said: “In a ham-fisted attempt to distract from its yawning conservation failures at STT, the Government also released details on Friday of a “Public Authority Management Agreement (PAMA)” that it says will exclude about 10,000ha of “potential nesting habitat from harvesting within land managed by STT”. 

The FSC auditors noted that while welcome, the PAMA “covers a small area” and “does nothing about logging of swift parrot habitat outside this area”. 

“The risk is that this conservation-lite sop could actually lead to the intensification of the logging of swift parrot habitat beyond the PAMA-area’s boundaries,” said Mr Allen. 

FT/STT’s auditors note that this PAMA does “not preclude further loss of breeding and foraging habitat for the swift parrot within PTPZ land” and that it covers only “a small proportion of the [swift parrot’s] mainland breeding range.”

Tom Allen said: “Trying to distract from these yawning failures by releasing a weak PAMA plan to try and protect a small area of swift parrot habitat from logging shows the Gutwein Government is more interested in playing games with swift parrots than saving them.

“What’s needed are secure native forest reserves that protect rainforests, old growth, and endangered wildlife like the swift parrot. STT’s latest audit shows that formalising protection of the Future Potential Production Forests forests should be an urgent priority for the Gutwein Government. 

“If the Gutwein Government is genuine about supporting a truly sustainable Tasmanian forestry sector, it will recognise market expectations that STT obtain FSC Full Forest Management certification, and meantime put in place measures to prevent a repeat of the non-conformances found in this audit.

“Meanwhile the island’s FSC-certified plantation industry goes from strength to strength and it’s hard to see how the markets won’t continue to move away from STT’s tainted products. 

“While the market for FSC-certified wood continues to grow, VicForests and Sustainable Timber Tasmania's FSC certification problems mean these government-owned anachronisms are drifting further away from growing markets at the very time commercial viability, sustainability, and social licence have never been more important.

“If Premier Gutwein is the Tasmanian premier on whose watch the swift parrot goes extinct, it will largely be because he failed to use this FSC audit opportunity to put in place a still-missing swift parrot management plan and end the logging of threatened species habitat and high conservation value forests, including old growth—which is what’s required,” concluded Tom Allen. 

For further comment contact Tom Allen on 0434 614 323.

Table of failures and observations by STT’s FSC auditors, SCS (full audit report is available here.)