Florentine forest campaign escalates

Forestry Tasmania has pushed more than three kilometres of road through the old growth forests of the Upper Florentine Valley, sparking weeks of intense protest.

Over 28 people have been arrested in the Upper Florentine since the demolition of the protest camp on January 12. Four tree sitters have spent more than a week high in the forest canopy, while others have locked-on to equipment to stop the road construction.

On January 14, 18 community members were arrested during a mass community walk-in to blockade logging operations.

On the January 17, activists used abseiling equipment to hang a giant 11-metre "Save the Upper Florentine" banner from the roof of Parliament House in Hobart.

By January 18, 500 protesters walked into the exclusion zone around the logging site and brought work to a stand still.

Concerned members of the British public also took their message to save the Upper Florentine to the Australian High Commission in London on January 19. They handed in a petition containing 1000 signatures.

Still Wild Still Threatened, the group spearheading the campaign, argues that Tasmania is home to the tallest hardwood trees on the planet. They regularly grow to over 80m tall. A month ago, one was found to be 110m tall — making it the second tallest tree and the tallest hardwood tree in the world.

Ula Majewski, a spokesperson for Still Wild Still Threatened told the January 15 Mercury that the campaign to save the Upper Florentine was only just beginning: "Once again, we are seeing a massive swell of community support for Tasmania's carbon dense old growth forests and outrage at the destructive roading, logging, woodchipping and burning of these precious ecosystems by climate criminals Forestry Tasmania and Gunns Limited.

"Our community will continue to stand up and speak out against these environmentally criminal acts. In this era of dangerous climate change, the destruction of Tasmania's ancient forests is a global issue", she said.

Protesters are planning a weekend "Reclaim our forests community camp-out" starting on January 24.

For details visit .