Protect World Heritage Site From Logging

Target: Richard Colbeck, Australian Secretary of Agriculture

Goal: Stop the Australian government from de-listing a world heritage site in Australia for the purpose of logging

The federal government of Australia is currently taking steps to remove a world heritage listing from 170,000 hectares of pristine forests in Tasmania. The coalition has stated that the listing is preventing logging and costing Tasmanians jobs. This ill-advised move on the part of the Australian government is highlighted by the fact that conservationists and timber industry representatives alike oppose the move. They say that if the de-listing moves through it will threaten a hard-won compromise that was reached after decades of disputes between environmentalists and loggers over the fate of Tasmania’s forests.

The de-listing of a world heritage site is a rare occurrence, having only happened twice before. What makes this proposed de-listing even more unusual is that the request has come from the government of Australia itself. Glenn Walker, of the Wilderness Society, said of the deal, “We don’t know of any timber industry players interested in extracting wood from a heritage area because they know the future is sustainable, conflict-free timber. Tearing up this peace deal is a fundamentally irresponsible move by the government.”

If the Australian government successfully removes the world heritage status from these forests in Tasmania, it could re-open a decades long conflict between environmentalists and loggers. Some of the most pristine forests in the world are being put at risk in hopes that a few more logging jobs might be created. The government coalition behind this plan should listen to the conservationists and loggers who all agree that the de-listing should not be carried out.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Secretary Richard Colbeck:

The move to de-list the world heritage site in Tasmania recently carried out by your coalition in the Australian government is irresponsible. You are sacrificing the fate of a treasured wilderness area for the possibility of creating a few more logging jobs. Even the logging companies themselves are against the de-listing. They understand that if logging is to have a future in Tasmania it must be done sustainably. They agree with conservationists that your proposal to remove world heritage status from this area is a step in the wrong direction, and will only reopen old wounds.

Please reconsider the actions of your coalition. Australia is lucky enough to have a world heritage site in the forests of Tasmania. It should be preserved for future generations to appreciate. Removing its protected status in order so that its pristine forests may be squandered is unconscionable.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: TTaylor via Wikimedia Commons

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  1. I wrote to the Australian Department of Agriculture re. this matter, and I received the following response from the Department of the Environment:

    “Australian Government
    Department of the Environment

    Dear Ms. Beck

    Thank you for your enquiry form of 26. December 2013 to the Department of Agriculture concerning world heritage site in Tasmania. It has been passed to me for reply. I regret the delay in responding.

    Following a review of the 2013 extension to the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area the Australian Government is seeking a minor boundary modification that will remove areas from the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area that the Government considers detract from the overall Outstanding Universal Value of the property and diminish its overall integrity.

    This will reduce the property area by 4.7 per cent and result in the removal of a number of pine and exotic eucalypt plantations as well as areas that have been logged. Importantly, National Parks will be retained within the world heritage area, including high value tall forests and giant trees in the Weld-Snowy Range, Huon Picton, the Great Western Tiers and the Styx-Tyenna regions. Sixty-five registered ‘Giant Trees’ remain within the proposed new boundary.

    Based on the best available information the Government is requesting the removal of areas containing 117 patches of disturbed and previously logged forest from the area added to the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area in 2013. Over 98,000 hectares, or 57 per cent, of the 2013 boundary modification are proposed to be retained in the World Heritage Area.

    The request for a minor boundary modification was submitted in time to allow its consideration by the World Heritage Committee at its 38th session in Doha, Qatar in June 2014.

    A decision to modify the boundary of a property that is included in the World Heritage List is ultimately one for the World Heritage Committee.

    A map showing the minor boundary modification can be found on the Department’s website at http://www.environment.gov.au/node/19816.

    Yours sincerely,

    (name)
    Heritage Branch

    17. February 2014″

    So this is the Australians’ viewpoint!

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