For more than 100 days, Miranda Gibson kept a 24-hour vigil 60 metres up a gum tree. Dubbed the ObserverTree, it is in Tasmania's logging coupe TN044B, whose steeply forested slopes have been earmarked for cable logging.
The tree is in an area that is being assessed for reserve status under the Tasmania forestry peace deal. From the platform, Gibson can see areas of clearfelled forest around her.
“That very clearfell I can see from here was once an amazing old growth forest, which should have been protected through the Statement Of Principles process,” Gibson said on New Year's Eve last year.
“A moratorium should have been in place before the negotiations were allowed to continue. What is the point of talking for two years about protecting the forest if you are destroying it every day during that time?”
Using a solar-powered laptop and mobile phone, Gibson has been maintaining a blog and communicating with the media and other groups.
At the 100-day mark, on March 23, she said: “For 100 days I have sat at the top of this tree, bringing international attention to the ongoing destruction that is occurring every day in Tasmania’s irreplaceable high conservation value forests.”
She has vowed to stay up in her tree-sit until the forests are protected.
Another prominent environmental activist remains in medium security in Risdon Prison.
Ali Alishah, 28, was sentenced to three months in jail for non-violent direct action protests against Gunns' proposed pulp mill, the Malaysian logging giant Ta Ann and logging in high conservation value forests.
Huon Valley Environment Centre’s Jenny Weber said: “Ali Alishah is the first forest activist to be sentenced to prison for non-violent protest in Tasmania.” The organisation is conducting a prisoner support campaign, sending him mail and other reading material.
[For more information, visit Nativeforest.net.