Forest protection groups not happy with progress on Tas forest ‘peace talks’
Several forest conservation groups released the joint statement below on August 16.
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Conservation groups active in the markets and on the ground in Tasmania are concerned that forest peace talks have so far failed to agree on the size and location of new reserves to protect Tasmania’s high conservation value forests, while logging continues in forests whose protection is under negotiation. They are urging delivery of comprehensive forest protection as a top priority of forest negotiations.
Markets for Change spokesperson Peg Putt said: “The core of a forest agreement, the agreed delivery of reserves whose size and location are known and which adequately protect the high conservation value forests of Tasmania, is missing from the interim agreement released yesterday. It is a serious concern that this most basic requirement has not been able to be agreed upon.
“Unless forest protection can be rapidly progressed, the attempts for forests peace will fail. The significance of this problem should not be understated.”
Akira Harada, a spokesperson for Japanese environmental NGO JATAN, is in Tasmania inspecting the logging of high conservation value forests that were exempted from a logging moratorium. He said: “I am not happy to witness the logging destruction of Tasmania’s magnificent forests that are of global importance. It is not acceptable for the market in Japan to buy the product of such forest destruction sold as ‘eco’ wood.
“It is vital that such forests are protected and that Japanese customers of Tasmanian product such as that sold by [Malaysian logging company] Ta Ann can then have confidence that their product is from acceptable sources. This is not yet the case.”
Ula Majewski of The Last Stand said: “There was no progress on our core issue in the signatories’ announcement, but instead an admission that securing reserves has been a sticking point, and now we are seeing further delays. We want reserve creation to be unstuck.”
Jenny Weber of the Huon Valley Environment Centre said: “We remind everyone that every single day for the past two years of negotiations, precious forests inside the identified high conservation value areas have been logged. These forests are continually being compromised and still we have no firm agreement to protect any areas.”
Miranda Gibson from the Observer Tree said: “My stand for the forests will remain unchanged until we have something firm, not vague pronouncements.”