Tag Archives: World Heritage Area logging

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?

Craft War!


I just found this article in The Australian from 10th October 2015 by the Tasmania correspondent Matthew Denholm.


Oh the sad stories of taxpayer-funded cultural and family heritage. It’s enough to make one weep with sympathy.

But as a forester after watching this fiasco for 35 years these stories don’t work for me anymore. My sympathy was consumed in the forestry wars of the last 20 years, and the ongoing blatant politicisation of the forest industry in Tasmania.

Forestry is just about wedging the community and winning elections – nothing more.

Now I’ve had enough of the sob stories. In fact I feel deeply offended by this ongoing stupidity.

The public native forest special timbers industry has never been and never will be sustainable nor profitable. And all the fine craftsmanship and beauty in the world will not make it so.

This is not a Tony Abbott moment revisited! Good [special timbers] forestry does not start tomorrow, nor any other day.

The past 30 years have clearly demonstrated that good, profitable public native forestry will never happen in this State.

Most special timber craftsmen lay much of blame for the emerging crisis on the politicians and timber barons who presided over a forestry industry that “wasted” vast volumes of special timbers in a head-long rush to clear old-growth forests.

Excuse me!! Ever since I can remember the special timbers industry has pretty much universally supported the industrial forestry orthodoxy and State Government policy, including the 1996 Tasmanian Regional Forestry Agreement. They didn’t really have any choice in the matter. All the forest policy was made for the big boys. The cheap subsidized wood provided by large scale industrial forestry is exactly what allowed the special timbers industry to thrive over the past 40 years.

So to turn around now and blame the politicians and greenies is disingenuous in the extreme.

…until the politicians squandered it!

The politicians did indeed squander it [our public native forest resource] and the vast majority of Tasmanians including the special timbers industry were right there in full support. Millions of tonnes of special timbers burnt and chipped over the last 40 years.

And now it’s time for tears and regrets?

Find someone else to blame? Don’t take any personal responsibility?

No! It’s now game over!!

No sympathy! No excuses! No exceptions! No Tony-Abbott promises of “good forestry tomorrow”!!

What little remains of our precious old growth and rainforest must not be used for further political games, waste, and stupidity.

However, Paul Harriss faces stiff resistance from many of the craftsmen in whose name he is -acting. They might be united in condemnation of previous “waste” of their resource, but they are divided when it comes to securing new ¬supplies from within the TWWHA.

“If a government decision was taken to harvest inside a World Heritage Area, I think we would suffer a backlash,”


The community reaction would rival if not exceed the Franklin Dam blockade. The damage done to Tasmania’s reputation, as a recalcitrant belligerent State would take decades to heal.

Brand Tasmania would be completely trashed!!

The article finishes with what I regard as a complete falsehood:

Whichever way the issue plays out, the special timbers and traditional skills that shaped a state are in ¬danger of being consigned to its past.

It’s the usual dramatic scaremongering that the mainstream media loves to peddle.

This article did not cover anything like half the real story of the special timbers industry. It just repeated what has been repeated many times before. There are many aspects of the story that were completely ignored.

The special timbers and the skills will not be consigned to the history books and museums. They will be confronted with reality just like the ivory traders and whalers were. Those that choose too can adapt and change to the new reality. Those that choose not to change will no doubt chew their old bones for comfort.

My own proposal to develop the commercial potential of growing blackwood timber via a blackwood growers cooperative is just one of the many special timbers opportunities waiting to be developed. But it’s not likely to happen whilst the old wars and the old warriors continue to play their games.

When will Tasmania get a fully commercial and 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?

Deloraine Stringfest & World Heritage Area logging


This was going to happen sooner or later. But the Deloraine Stringfest is now becoming associated with Tasmanian State Government forest policy and the logging of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA). This is courtesy of the Premier Will Hodgman and his press release associated with the recent launch of the 2015 Stringfest.


We want to ensure craftsmen like Daniel can continue to create instruments from Tasmanian timbers, which is why we are committed to rebuilding the forest industry.

As many people know, State forest policy now includes the planned logging of special timbers including Tasmanian tonewoods from the TWWHA. See my recent blog:




Daniel Brauchli certainly doesn’t support current Government forest policy, but the Premier seems happy to risk damaging the reputations of our craftpersons and artists.

The proposed logging of the TWWHA will become yet another divisive and destructive episode in the long running Tasmanian forestry wars.

Last year at Stringfest 2014 the elephant in the room was the ongoing supply of tonewoods to sustain the festival. That elephant was a mere calf.

This year the elephant has grown considerably into a cow elephant. The prospect of the Festival becoming associated with the logging of tonewoods from the TWWHA will see the elephant become a rampaging bull. It will destroy the Festival.

The Deloraine Stringfest depends on attracting major performing artists. Once the Festival becomes associated with TWWHA tonewoods, no major (and many minor) artists will want to be associated with the Festival.

End of Festival!

By all means please come along and enjoy the 2015 Deloraine Festival, but spot the elephant hiding in the room, or wandering the streets of Deloraine with deliberate intent.

It may even be hiding behind me. Come and look!

The Deloraine Stringfest is a fantastic festival, but given the highly politicised and conflict-driven nature of forestry in Tasmania, the future of Stringfest hangs in the balance.

Stringfest has now become a political weapon. The reputations of those associated with the Festival are now at risk.

Say “No” to World Heritage tonewoods!

[Come along and talk to me about conflict-free, farm-grown Tasmanian blackwood.]