Activists from the Huon Valley Environment Centre (HVEC) and Still Wild Still Threatened returned to the Picton Valley on April 7 to launch a 10-week campaign to protest the logging of Tasmania’s old growth forests.
Police broke up a similar protest in the Picton Valley on February 18, in which two HVEC protesters were arrested.
HVEC’s Jenny Weber said on April 7 that the groups’ campaign is “aimed at promoting the benefits to both the community and the environment that will be delivered when native forests are given full and formal legislated protection.
“We will be conducting in-forest campaigns and taking proactive action to ensure that these forests are not lost and that their plight is seen around the world.”
In March, the two conservation groups pulled out of negotiations between environment groups, the state government and the forest industry to end the logging of high conservation forests. They cited the failure of the timber industry to carry out a logging moratorium that was supposed to begin on March 15.
Weber said: “The state government and Forestry Tasmania failed to act to protect these forests, [so] HVEC will participate in peaceful non-violent action to implement a moratorium on logging in Tasmania's southern forests.
“HVEC is concerned that Tasmania’s ancient forest ecosystems are being lost despite the continuing decline in markets for our native forest timber, indicated by the recent announcement that Triabunna woodchip mill would close for eight weeks.
”Meanwhile, logging continues three weeks after a full moratorium could have been delivered on these unique and wild forests.
“For years the ancient forests in Tasmania have been destroyed for the woodchipping giant Gunns, and now the logging is continuing despite recent downturns and a commitment from industry and government to implement change.”