BY PAUL PRITCHARD
HOBART — Amid reports of increased cases of asthma from the thick palls of smoke that cover much of Tasmania during the forestry "re-generation burns" comes an altogether more disturbing story.
In April, Australia's biggest tree, with a height of 79 metres and a girth of 20 metres, was killed by a Forestry Tasmania regeneration burn which went badly out of control. The massive eucalyptus regnans, known as "El Grande", was the world's largest hardwood tree and flowering plant.
Forestry Tasmania, which manages much of the forest in the island state, has admitted that it, "Made a mistake and has learned from it", but has stopped short of a public apology.
Tasmanian Wilderness Society Campaign Co-ordinator Geoff Law said, "If Forestry Tasmania can't look after one tree, how can they be trusted to care for the state's magnificent forests?"
Consultant botanist Alan Gray conducted an inspection of the tree finding it to be dead having, "Cooked from the inside".
Greens leader Peg Putt believes El Grande was never revered by the authorities.
"On this far flung island we have so much still left of what the world has lost, but it is under assault from vandals in the highest levels of government."
From Green Left Weekly, May 28, 2003.
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