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June 25, 2013

RELEASE/VICTORY! Ecological Internet Welcomes Full Protection for Tasmania, Australia’s World Heritage Old-Growth Forests

By Ecological Internet, http://www.ecoearth.info/ and http://forests.org/
Media Contact: Dr. Glen Barry, glenbarry@ecologicalinternet.org, +1 (608) 332-5650

By Earth's Newsdesk, a project of Ecological Internet (EI)
CONTACT: Dr. Glen Barry, glenbarry@ecologicalinternet.org

Clearcut industrial logging of Butlers Grove Tasmanian old-growth for Malaysian plywood

(Madison, Wisconsin) – Ecological Internet – a small forest and climate protection NGO with a global reach – is thrilled to have contributed to an additional 170,000 hectares (about 420,000 acres) of Tasmania, Australia, old-growth forests [search] being protected. Following decades of local protest, six years of blockades, tree sitting, and extensive international affinity campaigns spearhead by Ecological Internet and others, most of Tasmania’s remaining old-growth has been granted World Heritage area protection, which should exclude further logging. The Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage area has been extended to include the iconic Upper Florentine and areas within the Styx, Huon, Picton, and Counsel River Valleys.

Tasmania is home to the tallest hardwood forests on Earth, with eucalyptus trees reaching nearly 100 metres and living for over 400 years, existing within one of Earth's greatest tracts of large, connected, and ecologically intact temperate rainforest. Tasmania contains large tracts of natural old-growth forest, glacial landforms, alpine and sub-alpine environments, wild rivers, indigenous heritage sites, and critical endangered species habitat. There are many species that rely on old growth trees for their survival, including important habitat for rare and threatened species such as the endangered wedge-tailed eagle and the Tasmanian devil.

“It’s fantastic that after so many years of campaigning, conservationists around Tasmania, and indeed the world, can celebrate the protection of these magnificent wild forests that contain the tallest flowering plants on earth and an array of wonderful wildlife… We can all smile broadly knowing that at last Tasmania’s forests of outstanding universal value are now protected for all time,” states Green Leader Christine Milne after the announcement was made by the UNESCO's World Heritage Committee and the Australian government on Monday. Forest conservationists must remain vigilant, as some politicians continue to espouse logging in the World Heritage area, which would make a mockery of this important declaration.

Ecological Internet and predecessor Forests.org have been active in internationalizing Tasmanian forest protection for two decades, actively promoting local conservationist’s demands with affinity alerts, including successfully targeting for years Gunns to end its old-growth logging for pulp. Earlier this year Ecological Internet globally publicized findings [1] that, while the Australian government had made pledges to protect Tasmania's priceless temperate rainforests, industrial clearcut logging of old-growth continued in what was to be a World Heritage area.

Recently, several thousand forest activists associated with Ecological Internet from 110 countries sent some 129,795 protest emails demanding the Tasmania World Heritage area be extended and logging cease therein, demands which have been met in full.[2] Australia’s federal Environment Minister Tony Burke sent emails to all those who participated, stating, “They’re [Tasmania’s old-growth forests] protected forever now. Your work and advocacy has helped make this real,” publicly acknowledging our pressure as having contributed to the victory.

Our most recent of dozens of alerts over the past twenty two years supported conservationist Miranda Gibson, who, from atop the "Observer Tree" in the middle of this ancient forest, called for our help in protecting these globally significant forests.[3] For six years the Upper Florentine Valley had been defended by Tasmania’s longest running forest blockade. After the victory, Ms. Gibson noted, “Thousands of people across the globe have been part of this global movement to protect Tasmania’s ancient forests as World Heritage. Right around the world people today are celebrating the power of community action and what we have achieved for Tasmania’s forests.”

“My intuition is that global protest, spearheaded at a critical time by EI, played an unusually large role in ending Tasmania’s battle to protect the last large old-growth forests, as the hypocrisy of continuing to log forests marked for World Heritage status was too shameful to disregard,” says Dr. Glen Barry, Ecological Internet’s president. “When Australia gets things right, they do it in a big way, and this 170,000 hectare addition to the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage area is a tremendously important gift to the Earth. Now if Australia can get off of coal, and protect and restore other old-growth forests that continue to be cleared, they may have a chance at ecological sustainability.”

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[1] Status Report on Logging in World Heritage nominated forests by Still Wild Still Threatened and Huon Valley Environment Centre,

[2] Protest Tasmanian Old-Growth Logging in Proposed World Heritage Area

[3] The Observer Tree

** Please support Ecological Internet’s campaign to end industrial old-growth forest logging as a means to promote local advancement from standing forests, crucial to local and global ecological sustainability, with a donation at: http://forests.org/shared/donate