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Thread: Florentine Forest

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    http://steveaxford.smugmug.com/ Steve Axford's Avatar
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    Florentine Forest

    What is happening there?

    I recently got a request from a French magazine to publish some of my photos of the Florentine Forest in Tasmania. This puzzled me as I thought it was now part of the World Heritage Area and was no longer contentious. I looked it up on Google and it seems that the Federal Government want to remove it, or large parts of it, from the World Heritage Area. I tried to get a balanced view of this but was left with the anti logging view, which was well put in numerous articles, and a piece by Forestry Tasmania which was dated 2009 and was from well before the 2013 World Heritage listing. I did read an article in the Herald which was interesting in that it said "The Forest Industries Association of Tasmania confirmed that it stood firmly beside The Wilderness Society and other signatories to a 2013 forest peace deal in opposing any wind-back of World Heritage." http://www.theherald.com.au/story/20...ge-flashpoint/

    Does anyone know why our Federal Government is pushing for this?

    Here are a couple of pics of the Forest that I took a while back.




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    Go the Rabbitohs mudman's Avatar
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    nice images Steve, i love this type of photo
    i think part of the reason is that the area the feds want removed has been logged in the past, there is always the business side of things too. good to see some support for not logging coming from the logging industry itself
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    I read some reference to that (previos logging), but no reference to what that logging was. Many national parks were logged 150 years ago, but then they only took the occasional valuable tree and the value of the forest was essentially retained, ie the general ecology. Most forest areas in Australia have been logged to some extent in the past. It is very rare to see an old red cedar up here now as almost all were removed in the 19th century, as it is very rare to see a Huon Pine in a Tasmanian forest. I can't see that that justifies removing the rest of the forest as well. But I would like to know what this logging in the Florentine refers to.

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    Still in the Circle of Confusion Cage's Avatar
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    Steve, it would be sacrilege to touch an area as beautiful as the one in your photos.

    Unfortunately the ball to log it was probably started rolling by some shiny bum in Canberra who has never been in a forest.

    As Muddie alluded to, the bottom line is the Holy Dollar.
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    I would have thought that you would draw a line around the Florentine Forest, but someone doesn't think we should. The Forest Industries Association of Tasmania would prefer to keep the good name of Tasmanian timber rather than get lots of Europeans banning all Tasmanian wood, but it seems that some in the Federal Government don't really care about outcomes. They just want to show their muscle. Or is that, show their .....

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    Ausphotography irregular Mark L's Avatar
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    There was another story on this in the Sydney Morning Herald today. As yet it has not been posted to their w.w.w. so can;t provide a link.

    From the article,
    "Having had 150 hectares logged, it is one of the areas in the 74,000 hectares listed last year that should be excised from the World Heritage Area, according to Richard Colbeck, parliamentary secretary to the Agriculture Minister."

    Parliamentary secretary to the Agriculture Minister is commenting on this.

    Think you'll find the World Heritage Committee will basically say " go jump until to go back and do the research we previously asked you to do."
    When that happens, they'll ultimately say go jump anyway.

    And the last sentence from the article,
    "Environment Minister Greg Hunt said he would not be attending the meeting and has ruled out "horse trading" with members of the committee to achieve the wind-back.'

    So many people will spend so much time trying to ensure this won't happen. And it's almost wasted time because I suspect our governments argument was never going to convince the World Heritage Committee to change anything. They are fairly well versed in heritage issues.

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    Very curious! Why would our government say they are pushing for something that they know will not succeed? Unless it is designed as a distraction. Of course, it could be that the old saying is true, and that is - "Never ascribe to a conspiracy what can be more easily explained by stupidity". I guess we will learn which is true as events unfold.

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    There are always 2 sides to any story. I was involved in the timber industry for 17 years, my father, and his father was also in the industry.
    Back in my grandfathers day the use to hit a tree with the back of an axe. If it felt solid, they would cut it down. Trouble is with that method, they would pull out all the good trees, and leave the rubbish.

    Scientifically it was the wrong thing to do. The rubbish trees were rotting, which emits carbon into the atmosphere. The same as old growth forests do. Which in turn adds to the green house effect, and global warming.

    The government, green groups, and the timber industry need a happy medium. Not all have their own agenda.

    I'm all for preserving areas like above. They are beautiful and amazing to see. Trouble is the government and green groups want to lock them up so that no-one can see them. Yes for future generations. But pointless having them if future generations cannot see them. They also lock up thousand of hectares around them. Areas full of bracken and noxious weeds, which take over the forest areas killing all in sight. again coming back to rotting trees, green house gases and extremely high fire fuel loads. And like from Harrietville to Mt Hotham, fires get so hot from the fuel load, that the soil ends up sterile and nothing will grow.
    Last edited by geoffsta; 15-06-2014 at 4:58pm.
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    Member Nick Cliff's Avatar
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    Geoff I agree that there is a bit of a problem with the public perception sometimes that if its green its good with weed species and perhaps we should selectively clear and replant a mix of native species rather than have the whole forest senescent.The Tarkine concerns me with the giant crayfish habitat ,hopefully logic prevails ,regards Nick.

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    Geoff, you are right that there is always two sides, sometimes more, and often the best path involves intelligent discussion.
    I think your assumption that leaving the hollow trees was scientifically bad is probably wrong. By only taking the occasional solid tree, the ecology of the forest is preserved. It is a mistake to think of the forest as just being trees. It is an extremely complex ecosystem, including thousands of (probably millions) different fungi, plants and animals. The old style of logging used to leave this intact. Modern clear felling only considers the trees and deliberately destroys the ecosystem in order to get more trees as quickly as possible.
    While people need timber and jobs, there is a balance and we should not take it all. We do not understand how life fits together on this planet, but we do know that old growth forests are some of our most diverse ecologies. It is not merely for tourism that we try to preserve some of these forests. It may be that they are much more important than that. I have met old timber workers who greatly regret their part in the destruction of the last of the forests in a particular region.

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    Who let the rabble in? Lance B's Avatar
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    Shot number 2 is a realy beauty, Steve.

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    The old style of logging used to leave this intact
    Not necessarily so. many logs were dragged by horse or bullock, creating heavy erosion issues. They also didn't care what other trees were smashed in the falling of the good tree. Leaving again another high fuel load. Culminating in the 1965 bush fires that killed many Australians. Logging practices changed after that. The loggers were made to clean up after they left, to reduce the risk of bushfire. A couple of my uncles in the 70's who worked for the forestry while their farms were in drought were encouraged to throw lit matches out the window as they drove along the bush tracks. The idea of this was to reduce the fuel loads.

    The 70's and early 80's were almost bushfire free years, as apposed to the last 20 years were bushfires are becoming more deadly as years go by. I know I have been fighting them. They are becoming more intense and ferocious, because of the fuel loads.


    This is why I say we need government, green groups and timber industry companies to work together with one sound management plan. So that all the forests are managed in a way so that all generations, not just future ones get to benefit.

    Otherbad fires in Australia:
    1. Black Saturday (VIC), 7-8 Feb 2009
    2. Ash Wednesday (VIC, SA), 16-18 Feb 1983
    3. Black Friday (VIC), 13-20 Jan 1939
    4. Black Tuesday (TAS), 7 Feb. 1967
    5. Gippsland fires and Black Sunday (VIC), 1 February-10 March 1926
    Last edited by geoffsta; 15-06-2014 at 6:51pm.

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Axford View Post
    ......

    Does anyone know why our Federal Government is pushing for this?


    ......
    In about 10 -20 years time there will be an inquiry by the opposing party which will be in government, and it will be revealed that some big wig forestry type was greasing the palms of a few (current)pollies, who would have subsequently been made directors or chairmen or advisors to the forestry based company.
    Last edited by arthurking83; 15-06-2014 at 9:40pm.
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    Quote Originally Posted by geoffsta View Post
    Not necessarily so. many logs were dragged by horse or bullock, creating heavy erosion issues. They also didn't care what other trees were smashed in the falling of the good tree. Leaving again another high fuel load. Culminating in the 1965 bush fires that killed many Australians. Logging practices changed after that. The loggers were made to clean up after they left, to reduce the risk of bushfire. A couple of my uncles in the 70's who worked for the forestry while their farms were in drought were encouraged to throw lit matches out the window as they drove along the bush tracks. The idea of this was to reduce the fuel loads.

    The 70's and early 80's were almost bushfire free years, as apposed to the last 20 years were bushfires are becoming more deadly as years go by. I know I have been fighting them. They are becoming more intense and ferocious, because of the fuel loads.


    This is why I say we need government, green groups and timber industry companies to work together with one sound management plan. So that all the forests are managed in a way so that all generations, not just future ones get to benefit.

    Otherbad fires in Australia:
    1. Black Saturday (VIC), 7-8 Feb 2009
    2. Ash Wednesday (VIC, SA), 16-18 Feb 1983
    3. Black Friday (VIC), 13-20 Jan 1939
    4. Black Tuesday (TAS), 7 Feb. 1967
    5. Gippsland fires and Black Sunday (VIC), 1 February-10 March 1926
    I guess I was meaning really old style logging, but you make a good point that some of the old style practices were anything but sound. I think we have all seen pictures from the distant past where forestry utterly devastated the land. Unfortunately, we also see pictures from today where forestry utterly devastates the land. Old growth forests or ones that only had selective logging done many years ago and have essentially recovered, do need to be retained. We have very little left.
    Of course bush fires do need to be managed to the best of our ability, but to cut down old growth forests to lessen the danger seems to be cutting off your nose to spite your face. Particularly when those forests are rain forests and are not bush fire prone. Also climate and climate change are likely to be involved in some of the worst recent fires, eg Black Saturday. Of course, we have to live with our climate, so we do need to prepare for it and fuel reduction burns make sense in managed eucalypt forests. Where I live the only eucalypts have been planted by people and in some cases they have to be removed due to the danger of fire that they bring with them. This can be contentious at times as the eucalypts provide koala food and koalas are seen as a conservation issue, even though they are not native to rainforest areas like here.
    We need a balanced approach that takes into account all of the factors and comes up with a workable solution. Of course climate is a major factor in all of this, but that is getting off topic and it is getting lots of discussion elsewhere.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by arthurking83 View Post
    In about 10 -20 years time there will be an inquiry by the opposing party which will be in government, and it will be revealed that some big wig forestry type was greasing the palms of a few (current)pollies, who would have subsequently been made directors or chairmen or advisors to the forestry based company.
    It would be good if we could stop the corruption now!

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    It seems that the Florentine Forest is safe for now as the Federal Governments request of the UN to role back the World Heritage area was rejected. It was claimed that the forest had been logged before and it was therefore
    "degraded" and not worth keeping. If we logged all of these "degraded" forests, we'd have have very few national parks or World Heritage areas left.

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    Ausphotography irregular Mark L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Axford View Post
    Very curious! Why would our government say they are pushing for something that they know will not succeed?
    There was an election in Tasmania about the time of the submission. And of cause anything the previous government did ..........

    "It clearly was a humiliation for Australia, and so it should have been, because it would have been a shocking precedent if governments can just fiddle with the boundaries of their world heritage areas, destroy outstanding universal values, just for cheap politics,'' Senator Milne told ABC TV.

    Quote from ..... Abbott government bid to de-list Tasmanian heritage forest dismissed

    Even if the removal of some of the area had some validity (?), it was never going to happen, wasted peoples time and doesn't make us look good in some places on the world stage (which we don't need to care about).

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    The issue is not related to any actual facts, but simply politics. Abbott gave a speech in support of the Forest Industry in Tasmania in which he claimed the majority was degraded. The ABC did a fact check (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-2...ck-out/5345072) which indicated that data which is available indicated 85% was pristine timber.
    As the old saying goes, "don't let the facts get in the way of a good story", especially if you are a politician (of any type).
    However, the cynics may wonder if it was simply a strategy to re-direct away from the degradation of the Barrier Reef and the dredging in Gladstone. Hmmm....

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