Tasmania’s forests

Tasmania’s forests

These forests support some of Australia’s most iconic species. They secure Tasmania’s water supplies and store more carbon than most. We’ve spent 30 years fighting for their protection.

In a country of diverse landscapes, Tasmania stands a world apart. Its spectacular forests support life across the state — they also form the identity of the place.

When your backyard looks like a adventure film set, everyone has an opinion on how to make the most of it. Often to the benefit of local politicians, these rifts have a history of ripping communities apart.

In 2012, the Wilderness Society helped broker an agreement to end the deadlock between loggers and environmentalists. The Tasmanian Forest Agreement meant 500,000 hectares of native forest would never see the inside of a woodchipper. But within a few years, politicians had rendered the agreement redundant. Today, most of it's up for grabs.

Top Photo: Brodie Emery

The threat to life

These forests scrub the air and shore up the domestic water supply. Like giant air conditioners, they help shape the climate that makes Tasmania a world-class food producer and iconic destination for nature lovers.

As a pile of wood chips, forests like Wielangta and the Tarkine are almost worthless. And incredibly, giant trees that remain in the Florentine Valley are up for the chop. But with a proper carbon price in place, they’d be among the most valuable forests on the planet. 

Tasmania’s forests can’t escape the past.

For decades, these native forests have been exploited for timber and wood chips.

When native forest is clear-felled, helicopters drop a napalm-like substance to burn off the remains. This releases carbon stored in soil and vegetation back into the atmosphere. For a region that trades on its natural beauty, the chemical-laden smoke tells a different story.

This logging has fuelled a deep political divide in Tasmania. Today, the Hodgman Government aggravates that divide by threatening to strip protections from reserved forests and slow-growing rainforests like the Tarkine and Blue Tier. Some of these reserves were protected by the Howard Government in 2005.

Photo: Hana Yates

Keep Tassie wild. 

These sprawling forests support some of Australia’s most spectacular and peculiar native wildlife, including the stunning Swift Parrot, Giant Freshwater Lobster and the Tasmanian Devil.

Life relies on forests like these. And so do we. 

After hundreds of years of growth, the rich soil and dense vegetation in Tasmania’s ancient forests stores more carbon than almost any forest on Earth. 

In our fight against climate change, keeping these ecosystems intact is one of the most important (and simple) things Australia can do. 

We can’t afford to live without them.

Our vision

Tasmania has been the stage for many of the Wilderness Society’s greatest achievements. It’s now a state with world-class reserves and an iconic World Heritage Area rivaled by no other. But there’s more to be done.

We’re in a race against the clock to expand Tasmania’s network of national parks before this critical life support system is gone for good.

What we’re doing: 

  • Advocating for new laws that support the life our lives depend on.
  • Working with a cross section of the community to transform critical forest areas into new national parks and for the Tarkine, World Heritage protection
  • Advocating proper protections to ensure Tasmania world class destination for truly sustainable tourism.
  • Leading community efforts to reform the timber industry.
  • Doing all of the above with a mind for Land Justice for Tasmania’s Aboriginal people.