Tag Archives: UNESCO

Tasmania abandons World Heritage Area logging plans on UNESCO advice



It’s time to break out the champagne!!

In a rare show of forest-policy commonsense the Tasmanian Government has apparently accepted the umpire’s decision and abandoned plans to log special timbers (including Tasmanian blackwood) in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA).


News reports just in say the UNESCO recommendations will be accepted but that the Government was still committed to supporting the [special timbers] industry.

Here’s the Tasmanian Governments announcement on the UNESCO Report:


Here’s the single recommendation in the UNESCO report regarding logging the TWWHA and some worthwhile comments from the UNESCO Mission:

Recommendation 2

The State Party should confirm an unambiguous commitment that the property is off-limits to commercial logging in its entirety, and fully reflect this commitment in the Management Plan for the whole of the property.


The mission would like to put on record that it considers the interests of the special species timber sector per se fully legitimate and by no means excessive. Despite the regrettable lack of conclusive data, the mission finds it difficult to imagine that resource security could not be achieved in the vast forest estate available for logging outside of the TWWHA. While a mixed World Heritage property, recognized for globally significant cultural and natural heritage, is not the place to experiment in the view of the mission, there is every reason to further discuss and test sustainable forest management elsewhere in Tasmania in less polarized fashion. The political support to the special species timber industry should be channelled to areas available to commercial logging outside of the TWWHA, while fully considering that there are areas outside of the TWWHA, which are likewise of the highest conservation value, including in the Tarkine area. New approaches to manage the desired species can draw on longstanding research conducted in Tasmania and a growing body of knowledge about the ecology of the species (UNESCO, p. 13).


The concept of “outside the TWWHA” should include commercial private growers.

Here is the link to the UNESCO report:


To see my many blogs on this issue go here:


So now the State Government is faced with developing a Special Timbers Management Plan with next-to-no public special timbers resource.


What will be the next political play?

Tasmanian blackwood has been and will continue to be the backbone of the special timbers industry, and the only Tasmanian special timber species with the potential for a profitable commercial future on private land.

Will the Tasmanian Government and Parliament now look to a different future for the special timbers industry or will politics continue to reign supreme in Tasmanian forest policy?

Federal Government to abandon plans to log World Heritage Area if UNESCO will not ratify it


In yesterdays news media:


A UNESCO delegation recently visited the state to assess the practices and meet with stakeholders, with a final report expected next year.

The Federal Assistant Minister for Agriculture, Senator Anne Ruston, said the logging plan would be scrapped if UNESCO did not support it.

“When they [UNESCO] bring down that report I would be really surprised if the Federal Government did anything other than respect those decisions,” she said.

With the hardline, anti-conservation Tony Abbott administration now gone the politicians are already softening up the electorate and protecting their positions in the likely event that UNESCO will continue to not support logging special timbers in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.

Senator Ruston said she had some sympathy for users of specialty species timber.

“They also have an argument which is reasonable, that they have very low impact where they take those timbers from,” she said.

To forget the lessons of the last 30 years of bitter conflict over public native forest management in Tasmania would be foolish in the extreme. Tasmania has not changed and neither has our forest policy and management. Opening up the WHA to logging would be yet another forest industry disaster to add to an already long list of disasters.

Within the context of the past 30 years promises of “low impact” are utterly meaningless.

“It’s a major concern that the [special timbers] resource is now essentially behind closed doors.”

The remaining public native forest special timbers resource is “behind closed doors” precisely because of what has happened over the last 30 years.

The taxpayer-funded logging of public native forest old growth and rainforest for special timbers is over [subject to UNESCOs report].

Now when will Tasmania get a fully commercial and profitable forest industry?

Specialty timber industry has Tasmanian Government support, despite [WHA] logging doubts





Mr Hodgman was confident of changing the [UNESCO] delegation’s mind.

“We’ve every confidence that the delegation are open to understanding what we do in Tasmania and accepting, we believe, that an appropriate balance is in place,” he said.

“Any harvesting would be subject to considerable controls and environmental protection, including at a national level.”

But if unsuccessful, the Premier said logging would be banned.


The UNESCO delegation is in town to find out “what we do in Tasmania”.

what we do in Tasmania”…???

What we do in Tasmania is make stupid forest policy and then stuff things up, again and again!

What is perfectly obvious from the last 35 years is that politically-driven forest policy in Tasmania has been a disaster for both the forest industry and the Tasmanian community.

The “appropriate balance” in place is nothing more than wedging the community and winning elections.

It has nothing to do with good profitable sustainable forest management.

And as for “considerable controls and environmental protection” haven’t these been in place for decades but still the special timbers industry is in crisis?

It’s not about the controls and protection is it? The dominant issue continues to be the politics and conflict.

Our forest industry will never be profitable and sustainable because logging public native forests is just too political. There is no resolution to this problem except stopping the logging of public native forest. That is the fundamental lesson of the last 35 years.

One thing is absolutely 100% guaranteed. Any logging of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area would be an ongoing battleground that would further damage the Tasmanian community and our political system for decades to come. Not to mention the incredible waste of money and time it would entail.

Both of the major political parties DO NOT support the special timbers industry because they DO NOT support profitable tree growers.

Without profitable tree growers the special timbers industry has no future at all.

Tasmanian politics really does beggar belief!

When will Tasmania get a fully commercial profitable forest industry?

World Heritage Area logging: Boatbuilders need access to Tasmania’s protected forests due to lack of speciality timber, Government says




Here we go again continuing with the wasteful, divisive, political forestry wars.

“New analysis strengthens the argument that selective logging of speciality timber in Tasmania’s World Heritage Area is necessary to meet the demand from craft industries, including boat builders, the State Government says”.

As usual it’s not about profitable tree growing; it’s about tree growing as a community service.

It’s Centrelink Timbers!

How can Tasmanian blackwood have a profitable commercial future with Government policy like this?

Never mind the Tasmanian Forestry Agreement (TFA). It’s history! Using the TFA as an excuse to vilify your opponents and justify logging the World Heritage Area is complete nonsense.

Of course if you give away trees there will be a demand. But what would happen if the Government decided it was actually running a business and had to make a profit instead, like private tree growers, like Tasmanian farmers?

There is no discussion here about costs, prices or profits; and supply and demand are discussed as political not commercial objectives. Any relationship between cost, price, supply and demand is completely ignored. It’s a sad pathetic joke!

It’s the same with Forestry Tasmania as with the special timbers industry; the whole lot is run as a community service. Wasteful political nonsense.

As Vica Bailey of the Wilderness Society says “the specialty timber sector has traditionally been a by-product of clear-felling and woodchipping of vast areas of old-growth and rainforest, a model that glutted the market with heavily subsidised wood, there was never any expectation that historical levels of supply could, would or should continue“.

The public native forest special timbers industry has never been sustainable nor profitable.

The last 30 years have clearly demonstrated there is no such this as sensible when it comes to logging public native forests. Logging the World Heritage Area would be yet another forest industry disaster.

Resources Minister Paul Harriss said he would present the new analysis to the World Heritage committee delegation during its visit in November in a bid to reverse opposition to logging inside forests added to Tasmania’s World Heritage Wilderness Area in 2013.

Will Minister Harriss present the same analysis to the Tasmanian community for broader scrutiny?

The interesting thing in this news report is that blackwood is included in the discussion. World Heritage Area is now also about saving the blackwood industry. For the first time the Government admits the public native forest blackwood resource is not sustainable, only 12 months after the last blackwood resource review declared the resource sound and sustainable.


Forestry Tasmania’s own data clearly shows they have been overcutting the public blackwood resource for at least the past 25 years. And now as a consequence they want to try and justify logging the World Heritage Area. It’s just sickening!!

UNESCO must get the clear message from the Tasmanian community that logging the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area is not acceptable.

When will Tasmania get a fully commercial, profitable forest industry?

UNESCO calls for changes to Tasmania’s draft World Heritage Management Plan to prohibit logging and mining


In the ABC News yesterday:


So the UNESCO World Heritage Committee is now questioning the policies of the Tasmanian State Government.

In Paris overnight, UNESCO’s WHC urged the draft plan be changed. An initial review cited concerns that the plan appeared to create potential for logging operations and mining activity in the World Heritage Area.

An article by Vica Bayley on Tasmanian Times provides more details:


The draft decision of the World Heritage Committee, for consideration at its [forthcoming] June meeting, represents a damning rejection of the Tasmanian Government’s proposed management of Tasmania’s World Heritage Area.

The draft decision identifies ……. prohibiting logging and mining via upgraded conservation tenure as key actions that need to be taken.

Informed by expert reports from the Committee’s advisory bodies, the draft decision …. urges … that commercial logging and mining are not permitted within the entire [WHA] property, and that all areas of public lands within the property’s boundaries… have a status that ensures adequate protection (p. 56).

The draft Committee decision can be found at:

http://whc.unesco.org/archive/2015/whc15-39com-7BAdd-en.pdf. (1.8MB pdf file).

Pages 54 and 56 of the document are the most relevant.

It appears that Tasmania’s special timbers industry is fast running out of options, at least in terms of access to a taxpayer subsidised public forest resource. The World Heritage Committee will not accept special timbers logging within the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.

Here are some of my previous stories about the Draft Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area Management Plan:



Curiously the ABC news article says that the Tasmanian tourism Industry supports the draft Plan, when in fact the Tourism Council’s own submission is extremely qualified in its support, with strong opposition to the logging and mining proposals in the Plan.


So when will Tasmania get a fully commercial, profitable forest industry?