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Forestry and timber stories

Special timbers given a plan

Edition 189_dory

A Special Species Management Plan, featuring a “tread widely, tread lightly” harvesting approach, was released by the Tasmanian Government in October.

Selective harvesting of special species will be permitted under certain conditions on future potential production forest land, conservation areas and regional reserves.

No clear felling of special species will be permitted.

On other land tenure types, the forest practices system will dictate permitted harvesting techniques.

The plan received bipartisan support from the Labor Party and was welcomed by the Tasmanian Special Timbers Alliance which represents the interests of craft workers, boat buildings, furniture makers and other special timber users.

The shadow minister for forestry, David Llewellyn, said: “The speciality timbers sector is an important employer and an iconic part of the Tasmanian brand.

“In order to maintain supply of special species timber for the future, we need to ensure the resource is managed sustainably and responsibly.

“That’s why we support a tread widely, tread lightly approach to harvesting, as well as the long rotations necessary to replenish the resource.

“This report will help to inform the sustainable management of the special species resource for the future.”

The special species listed under the Forestry (Rebuilding the Forest Industry) Act 2014 are:

  • Blackwood (Acacia melanoxylon)
  • Myrtle (Nothofagus cunninghamii)
  • Celery top pine (Phyllocladus aspleniifolius)
  • Sassafras (Atherosperma moschatum)
  • Huon pine (Lagarostrobos franklinii)
  • Silver wattle (Acacia dealbata)

None of these species is listed as endangered or threatened under either Tasmanian or Australian legislation.

Andrew Denman of the Tasmanian Special Timbers Alliance said: “For the first time, we have a clear picture on standing volumes of special timbers in areas where harvesting is permissible.

“This knowledge has allowed harvest levels to be set which will ensure a sustainable supply of Tasmania’s iconic special timbers for current and future generations.

“The next important step is for Government to streamline land tenure access provisions for harvesting.”

Environment groups were not happy with the plan.

Wilderness Society spokesperson, Vica Bayley, said: “Logging old-growth rainforests within Tasmania’s formal and informal conservation reserves will never be OK.

“Environment groups will maintain long-standing campaigns to properly protect these forests in new national parks and other reserves that rule out all forms of logging.”

Mr Bayley said the plan to selective harvest in 400,000ha of land declared Future Potential Production Forests in the 2013 forest peace deal was "outrageous and dangerous.”

The Minister for Forests, Guy Barnett, said: “Contrary to some of the misleading assertions put forward by the Greens and [environmental NGOs] the plan does not have the power to change the areas of land in which special species timber harvesting can occur.

“Under their own forest deal the Greens voted for special species timber harvesting to be permitted in every area covered by this plan, so any complaints concerning the area covered is gold-standard hypocrisy from the Greens and the Wilderness Society.

“Unfortunately, while the plan sets out a way forward for the sector, a large proportion of the resource identified will not be able to be accessed, in practice, until our legislation to unlock production forests and fix up the unworkable application process for special species harvesting is passed.”

Mr Barnett said the Liberal Party would seek a fresh mandate at the next election for the legislative changes it believes to be necessary.

“We are proud to be supporting the iconic special species sector by finalising the management plan and reaffirming our commitment to unlock production forests and simplify the application process for harvesting from the State’s wood bank,” he said.

The plan can be viewed at: www.stategrowth.tas.gov.au/specialspeciesmanagementplan

Image courtesy of Denman Marine

5 November 2017, Edition 189

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