Only a few days to go!
Only a few days to go!
On December 14th 2012 Australian environmentalist Miranda Gibson will mark 12 months since stepping foot on the ground with a live feed to the world from the tree tops. Ms Gibson holds the Australian record for the longest tree sit.
“When I climbed this tree on December 14th 2011 and vowed to remain here until the forest was protected, I had no idea how long I would have to stay up here. Sadly, a year later Tasmania’s forests continue to remain under threat from industrial scale logging.” said Ms Gibson.
“My tree top vigil has acted as a constant reminder that the forests are still in need of urgent protection. It has been a challenging year, but it has also been incredible to experience first-hand the values of these forests, including witnessing endangered wedge tailed eagles soaring above me and enjoying the first snow fall of winter. ”
Ms Gibson has been living on a small platform suspended at the top of the tree. Using solar power she has connected with people around the globe, updating her blog and giving talks via skype.
On December 14th the world will join her in the call for forest protection, with thousands expected to take part in the campaigns first live-stream event. Miranda will address the online event via a live-feed from the tree tops, allowing participants to send in comments and questions. The line up will also include international guest speakers. Community events are planned around Australia to celebrate.
“The support I have received from right across the globe has been a constant source of inspiration. I am looking forward to celebrating this milestone, of one year in the tree, with all of those people who have encouraged and inspired me to keep going”
“But my true hope is that we will all be celebrating the World Heritage protection of these ancient forests very soon. This forest that has been independently verified as world heritage value and needs a guarentee of secure protection. Only then will I return to the ground.”
“We are expecting a strong show of support for the one year anniversary. I will be asking people to send in their messages, photos and videos to tell the world why our forests need protection.”
“Despite the recently signed forest agreement, this forest remains under threat. There is still no guarentee if or when the proposed reserves will be protected. I am committed to staying at the top of this tree for as long as it takes, bringing an international spotlight on these forests, to bring about the protection they so urgently need”
Miranda is available to do interviews via phone or skype.
Contact: 0414 535 164 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Media Release 6.12.12 - Tasmania’s native forests face a new two-pronged threat as ENGO Signatories to the Tasmanian Forests Agreement contemplate supporting Ta Ann’s expansion of its Tasmanian operations and acting as ambassadors in a mission to spruik Ta Ann’s controversial products in overseas markets.
“Ta Ann’s announcement yesterday about a new plywood mill in the North of the state, and their suggestion that they will apply for a Commonwealth grant for the mill, could mean Australia’s taxpayer will continue to subsidise the logging of native forests in Tasmania. This comes at a time when Ta Ann has not committed to a rapid transition out of native forests to plantations,”
“Yesterday, Ta Ann revealed that they intend to continue sourcing wood from native forests at the current rate i.e. 160 000 cubic metres from public forests and 140 000 cubic metres from private forests. At this rate Ta Ann’s wood supply, and the failure of the signatories to the Tasmanian Forests Agreement to ensure the strengthening of the Forest Practices Code with biodiversity protection upgrades, will result in the intensification of logging and continue to destroy native forest ecosystems,” Huon Valley Environment Centre’s Jenny Weber said.
“Ta Ann’s announcement yesterday that Environmental NGOs would accompany them on a trade mission to provide market security is alarming as the source of timber to Ta Ann is still supplied by the logging of scientifically verified high conservation value forests. The Tasmanian Forests Agreement states that logging is set to continue in the proposed reserves, without a defined timeline for protection, hence removing certainty for forest protection,” Jenny Weber said.
“Ta Ann sabotaged their own security in the market by falsely claiming their timber to be environmentally sustainable and sourced from plantations and regrowth forests, when in reality Ta Ann receives timber from Tasmania’s world heritage value and unique native forests. Huon Valley Environment Centre informed some Japanese customers about the truth of the source of their ‘eco’ flooring from environmentally destructive practices,”
“And now some environment groups are contemplating saving this controversial company Ta Ann in international markets while they continue to receive timber from unacceptable environmental destruction,” Jenny Weber said.
“After hosting indigenous leaders from Sarawak for the past two weeks, our commitment to stand in solidarity with the people of Sarawak as they face human rights violations, under the Taib Mahmud government, by mega-dam projects and logging companies, has been strengthened. Endorsing the practices of Ta Ann in Tasmania provides a green-washed front for their activities in Sarawak and legitimises their direct connection to the displacement of indigenous peoples and resulting cultural loss overseen by the corrupt Taib government in Sarawak,” Jenny Weber said.
Still Wild Still Threatened and the Huon Valley Environment Centre have released their initial critique of the Tasmanian forest agreement. Read here.
No time frame for protection and false numbers on the area of forest to be protected
Although we would welcome the creation of reserves, if and when that happens, the numbers of hectares being often quoted are misleading. A deeper analysis shows a very different reality in terms of real forest protection. The more realistic figure is 395 000 ha, down from 610 000ha. Though there is nothing certain in the agreement for secure protection.
It is 395 000ha on the table for the first tranche, this is far different from half a million. The remaining areas that have been agreed for protection will be held to ransom, pending silencing the rights of people to participate in a democracy, and remaining areas will be logged over ten years and then possibly protected…
The map of proposed forest of reserves in Tasmania, as apparently agreed to in the forest peace talks today (from The Wilderness Society).
A HISTORIC deal to end the 30-year war over Tasmania’s forests by protecting more than 500,000ha - one of the nation’s largest conservation outcomes - is due to be unveiled today.
Multiple sources yesterday confirmed to The Australian that green and timber groups had agreed to protect more than 503,000ha of native forests while allocating 137,000cu m of sawlogs a year to industry.
The deal, following more than two years of difficult negotiation, was last night being voted on by the boards of the conservation and industry groups involved in the process.
Barring last-minute revolts, it will be endorsed by state cabinet and the federal government and introduced into the Tasmanian parliament today. This meets a deadline set by the Gillard government for $100 million in regional development funds linked to a successful forest peace deal, as well as at least $15m to buy out sawlog contracts.
Immediate protection will be granted to about 395,000ha of the forests most coveted for conservation, in areas such as the Styx, Weld and Upper Florentine, with their eventual inclusion in World Heritage areas and national parks.
A further 108,000ha will be added to reserves in 2015, as long as environment groups have kept to the agreement and cease campaigns against the industry.
In addition, 21,000ha will be logged once, but then rehabilitated and added to the new reserves, while 37,000ha will be selectively logged for specialty timbers only.
For this reason, the conservation groups - Environment Tasmania, The Wilderness Society and the Australian Conservation Foundation - will regard the total conservation gain to be just over 503,000ha.
This means green groups have achieved 70,000ha less than their original conservation demand of 572,000ha, while the timber industry has shaved its sawlog demands from 155,000cu m a year to 137,000cu m.
The talks were initially made possible by Gunns’ exit from native forest logging, freeing up 220,000cu m of sawlogs, although expert analysis later revealed less timber supply than previously thought.
This led the state and federal governments to run a sawlog buy-out scheme that identified a further 59,000cu m that could be surrendered for compensation.
Talks collapsed last month, but were resurrected informally in recent weeks, with the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union, via its national head Jane Calvert, playing a key role.
Pressure from Tasmanian Premier Lara Giddings, who governs in a power-sharing deal with the Greens, helped push the parties to reach agreement in time for the last sitting of parliament, securing the $100m federal funds.
Politically, the deal is seen as vital to any hope state Labor has of retaining power at an election due by March 2014.
The Liberal opposition, sections of the timber industry and some key independents in the state’s upper house are likely to firmly oppose the deal, arguing that it sells industry short.
Media Release: 22 Nov, 2012 Grassroots environment groups Huon Valley Environment Centre and Still Wild Still Threatened will closely scrutinise the forests agreement pending assessment of the detail. Our organisations have today stated, “Grassroots groups are not bound to the agreement and we will not be silenced in our forest advocacy work. We will continue to stand up for secure protection of Tasmania’s unique forests and to address the forest conservation issues that have not been resolved by the agreement”
“I have been at the top of this tree for almost a year now, waiting the protection of these world class forests. It is still uncertain what this agreement will mean for the future of Tasmania’s forests, and I will wait to see and assess the agreement before making any decision regarding coming down out of the Observer Tree,” said Miranda Gibson, spokesperson for Still Wild Still Threatened.
“We have not seen the agreement yet, and will comment once we have made an assessment. There is detail that needs to be scrutinised, including whether logging will continue in proposed reserves, restructure of Forestry Tasmania, and the future for Ta Ann.We will be looking to address issues of a transition of the industry out of native forests and change logging practices away from clearfelling, cable-logging and woodchipping” Jenny Weber, spokesperson for the Huon Valley Environment Centre said.
“As we know from the previous Interim Agreement, there are a lot of issues that will impact conservation outcomes. This means looking not only at hectares to be reserved, but also the structure of the industry into the future and policy implications such as the biodiversity upgrade recommendations to the forest practices code,” said Ms Gibson.
“Our groups will hold a press conference in the near future to provide comment on our perspective on the agreement and the implications it has for the forests” said Ms Weber.
You are invited to the Observer Tree event of the year!! Please join me on December 14th to celebrate my anniversary in the tree. That’s right…one year in the tree! And to celebrate we’re having a global cyber event – Anyone with internet access can join the party!
It’s easy! Here’s how:
Melbourne – State Library Steps from 6pm.
More to be announced.
‘Hydro Tasmania out of Sarawak - Save Sarawak Rivers’ tour announced
A coalition of environmental and social justice groups today have announced dates for an Australian tour to educate people about Hydro Tasmania’s involvement in dam construction and the displacement of tens of thousands of people in Sarawak. The tour will visit Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Launceston and Hobart. The tour will involve public events, meeting with NGOs, Politicians and Hydro Tasmania itself.
The tour will feature Sarawak anti-dam campaigners, Peter Kallang from SAVE Rivers, and James Nyurang Usang a village headman, whose area will be flooded to build one of the 50 proposed dams. Tasmanian environmentalist Adam Burling is coordinating the tour.
7pm, Thursday 22nd November
Beach Room, Bondi Beach Pavilion
7pm, Monday 26th November
Canberra Museum and Gallery
176 London Circuit, Canberra
7pm,Thursday 29th November
FOE 312 Smith st, Collingwood
4pm, Sunday 2nd December
Fresh on Charles 178 Charles St, Launceston
7pm, Tuesday 4th December
Republic Bar 299 Elizabeth St, Hobart
Photos from today’s action at the Ta Ann mill in the Huon Valley. See media release below.
Media Release 14th Nov 2012 - Eighteen people are today conducting a non-violent protest at the Huon Ta Ann mill. Today community members are reaffirming their protest about the controversial source of timber for Ta Ann, after revelations that plantation based sources have been deemed unsuitable by the company.
Four local mothers have attached themselves to parts of the mill site, inside the mill and on the entrance gate. They will remain at the Ta Ann mill until they are removed. Community members are demonstrating against Ta Ann selling Tasmanian forest destruction.
“Ta Ann sabotaged their future in Tasmania by adopting an unacceptable and disingenuous business model from the outset. They misled their Japanese and UK corporate customers with false claims they were supplying plantation and regrowth timber. Whilst receiving timber from the unsustainable logging of Tasmania’s unique and ancient forests,” Huon Valley Environment Centre’s spokesperson Jenny Weber said.
“The Huon Valley Environment Centre exposed the company twelve months ago with translations of Japanese customer company advertisements that claim the Tasmanian product is environmentally friendly and plantation grown, when the stark contrast is timber delivered to Ta Ann’s mills since 2006 is from old growth ecosystems and endangered species habitat,” Jenny Weber said.
“The fact is that the company continues to be the key driver of ongoing logging in the high conservation value and world heritage value forests in Tasmania[i]. Plantation sources have now been deemed unsuitable for Ta Ann’s mills ensuring the company will be a hindrance to achieving an urgently needed, complete transition away from a socially unacceptable and failed native forest logging model.” Jenny Weber said.
Documents released on January 13 regarding the scheduling for logging in contentious high conservation value coupes refer explicitly to the contract to supply Ta Ann, and state that: “Peeler billets is the limiting log product in the South and North West,” (Ta Ann Tasmania has mills in the south and north-west.) They outline that: “Peeler Billets for Ta Ann is an important driver for the harvest schedule”.
“Ta Ann has failed to insist on being supplied from outside of these forests. Instead they have embarked on a public relations campaign threatening once again to leave Tasmania, a tactic to try and extract favourable treatment,” Jenny Weber said
“The only positive solution for the Tasmanian timber industry is real downstream processing totally based on plantation sources. Ta Ann is a disreputable company, whose parent company in Sarawak is under a dark cloud of environmental and social atrocities. Their practice of processing timber from high conservation value forests and selling it in the market as sourced from plantations and regrowth forests from environmentally friendly sources is indicative of this company’s untrustworthy corporate practices and business model that brings great shame to Tasmania,” Jenny Weber said.
“The current informal peace talks between environment and industry groups could result in a controversial green tick to Ta Ann whilst allowing them to continue to receive timber from clear felling of high conservation value forests. It is no wonder that the company claims their future is dependent on the peace talks providing such a certificate of environmental endorsement,” Jenny Weber said.
“Huon Valley Environment Centre is advocating for an ethical future for our communities, with economies based on businesses that promote conservation of native ecology and an end to native forest logging. We will not be intimidated or blackmailed, by CFMEU, the Premier or the Liberals, into ceasing our protests about Tasmania’s controversial forestry industry. We will not be scapegoated by Ta Ann threatening to leave the state and blaming conservationists when it is they who sabotaged themselves by lying to their customers and selling a product based on environmental destruction,” Huon Valley Environment Centre’s Jenny Weber said.
[i] Report of Independent Expert Schedulers12th October 2011 p7, Supplementary Report November 2011, Rescheduling Work - January and February 2012, Report requested by The Australian Government
Media Release 12 Nov. 2012 - Groundswell shuts down Ta Ann veneer mill
Grassroots environmental group Groundswell have today shut down operations at Ta Ann’s veneer mill in Smithton, with a peaceful protest. The group are highlighting the ongoing loss of Tasmania’s forests by Ta Ann, 2 protesters are locked onto a conveyor belt inside the mill, completely shutting down operations. A number of other members of the group are present and holding a banner in front of the mill, which reads; “TA ANN – SELLING TASMANIAN FOREST DESTRUCTION”.
Ta Ann is a Malaysian-based timber company that has been accused of human rights violations and continues to destroy pristine rainforest in the Malaysian state of Sarawak. Ta Ann has had logging contracts in Tasmania from 2006 and is the driving force behind the ongoing logging of old growth forests.
“Today’s protest is being held at the Ta Ann Smithton mill to oppose the ongoing devastation of Tasmania’s native forests just for the sake of a quick profit.” Groundswell spokesperson Dr Lisa Searle said.
“As the forest peace talks have carried on over the last 3 years, the destruction of Tasmania’s native forests has continued. The talks have so far failed to deliver any form of permanent protection and the future of these ecosystems hangs in the balance.” Dr Searle continued.
“There is currently a very limited market for Tasmanian woodchips, and Ta Ann is driving the continuing destruction of huge tracts of forest. These forests are being clear-felled just to remove a few select logs for Ta Ann while low-grade sawlogs and woodchip-grade logs are being left behind to rot in these decimated areas.” Said Dr Searle.
The protesters will stay in place locked onto machinery until they are removed and Groundswell will continue standing up for the protection of our wild natural state.
A press conference will be held in Launceston with the group’s spokesperson in Princes’ Square, at 1pm today.
News article: ABC Online
These beautiful photos of a rainbow in the old growth forests of Tasmania were taken by Miranda Gibson, who has been living in a 60 metre high tree-sit for 329 days (and counting…). You can find her website here www.observertree.org.
The short video was filmed three days ago in a forest in the Weld Valley, Tasmania, where new road making operations are being conducted right now. A 1km road is being pushed in to previously unlogged forests, where a large scale cable logging operation is proposed to source timber for Ta Ann from steep slopes.
Yesterday, conservationists from the Huon Valley Environment Centre conducted a protest at the site of this new logging road. Ten people walked into the forests and staged a peaceful vigil in these forests that are habitat for the endangered wedge tailed eagle, where unlogged native forest with species such as the Eucalyptus regnans will be logged along the banks of the Huon River.
These new logging operations are a stark indication that there is a need for a fundamental policy change in Tasmania. The ongoing clearfelling of native forests is not acceptable. There is an urgent need for a transformation of the forestry industry and its silvicultural practices to focus on climate, water and wildlife as primary imperatives, driving forest restoration and protection.
The native forest in the Lower Weld Valley is not included in the proposed 572 000ha for protection under the recently collapsed negotiations. Yet it is an intact unlogged tract of native forest which is a watershed for the Huon River. An active Wedge-Tailed Eagle nest is nearby, in line of sight of this new logging area.
This lower Weld region has suffered a clearfelling assault over the past ten years, after the rapacious logging industry pushed in major logging roads, and a bridge over the Weld River. All the while, local conservationists have been lobbying for protection of these forests and conducted peaceful protests in every logging coupe in the region.
Observer Tree needs your help!
I’ve been at the top of this tree for over 300 days now. I think it’s time for the world to know I’m here. The more people who find out and add their voice to the call for forest protection… the sooner we can save Tasmania’s forests and I can get down!
Tasmania’s forest negotiations have collapsed! Public pressure is now more urgent than ever!
I am calling November a month of “Social Media Blitz” for Observer Tree. If everyone reading this takes part, we can reach our message around the world. Each person who connects with Observer Tree through facebook, twitter and the blog, is another person who has the chance to get informed, sign the cyber action and stand with me in calling for forest protection.
My goal is to, by the end of November:
With your help, we can do it!! Join me and become an Observer Tree Blitzzer!
Here’s how you can help:
Like the facebook page, and follow me on Twitter.
Download the photo (right click and “save picture as”). You can then use it to post on all your social media platforms.
Share and re-tweet Observer Tree content.
Let me know your ideas for how we can reach our goals! Add your thoughts in the comments here, or email me: email@example.com
Let’s get blitzing!