Image for This arrogant, selfish game of Russian Roulette. Mole Creek landslip.

Implicit in the devaluing of forest that is not rainforest is the notion of a clear correlation between time since major regenerative disturbance and conservation value.

But why does the presence of eucalypts make a forest so much less worthy of preservation?

The ecological passage to rainforest is a continuum. This forest would have been something between 300 and 400 years old before it was logged, based on tree size and floristic composition.

Surely 3 or 4 centuries of accumulating biomass, species and structural diversity, wildlife habitat etc have a value far greater than scorched soil or the juvenile thickets of coloniser species that now occupy the site. Which is why the elimination of such forest through clearfall logging and fires that are more intense than virtually any wildfire is a ransacking of natural heritage.

The conversion of wet forests with dominant rainforest trees within virtually all areas available for logging is a statement that we of this generation will use what has taken centuries to create, and what cannot be again created for centuries into the future, for ourselves, now! This period of a few decades takes and to large degree wastes the bounty of 800 years.

Kevin, (#47) states that this forest, and those like it, can be logged indefinitely on commercial cycles of between say, 30 and 90 years, and that the rainforest component will return at some time in the future if this regime is discontinued.

Seed sources for rainforest establishment are extinguished when interlocking coupes are logged and burnt so as to expose mineral soil, when no proximate or appropriately located living rainforest seed trees remain, as is the case at Tombstone Creek. Further, it is simply not credible that an extremely pyrogenic crop of eucalypts and wattles will be spared the passage of wildfire over the millenia, not centuries, that are required for incremental rainforest establishment to occur.

We may not have “...permanently excluded any possibility of that kind of forest growing in that area again,” but we are playing an arrogant, selfish game of ecological Russian Roulette.

This comment first published as comment HERE: South Esk headwaters clearfalls: The devastating consequences

Watch on YouTube: ANU, Judith Ajani: Australia’s forestry crisis, How it happened and what to do ... HERE

And,

• Kim Booth MP
Greens Forests spokesperson
Tuesday, 11 January 2011

The Tasmanian Greens today reiterated their call for the Federal and Tasmanian Governments to ensure that there is proper governance and monitoring of buy-out payments being made to Tasmanian forest contractors, following reports from contractors themselves that there has been a lack of probity in the process so far.

Greens Forests spokesperson Kim Booth MP said his office has been contacted by a large number of contractors who are unhappy with the way allocations have been made, and with the identification of some, but not other, contractors as deserving of assistance.

Mr Booth also noted that he called on the Federal and Tasmanian Governments last year to ensure that there is proper governance and monitoring of these payments, and he now expects any probity issues to be dealt with promptly.

“There were serious probity issues with the allocation of funds under the Tasmanian Community Forest Agreement in 2005-06, and now it appears that there have again been issues with the allocation of funds under the current forest contractors assistance package,” said Mr Booth.

“My office has been contacted by a large number of forest contractors who are very unhappy with the way some contractors have been selected for buy-outs while others have been excluded or ignored.”

“The Greens are calling on the Federal and Tasmanian Governments to reveal how they have selected contractors for buy-out assistance, whether those contractors actually held current contracts to work in Tasmanian forests, what governance and monitoring has been put in place, and whether or not there has been any political or other interference in this process,” said Mr Booth. 

• Download: “FOREST CONTRACTOR BUY-OUTS UNDER A CLOUD: Greens Call for a Probity Audit and the Release of Final Assessment Criteria,” Tasmanian Greens Media Release, Kim Booth MP, 21 December 2010:
Dec21_Forest_Contractor_Buy-Out_under_a_Cloud_ATTACH_K_Booth_MP.pdf

Richard Colbeck:
SENATOR THE HON RICHARD COLBECK
Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Fisheries & Forestry
Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Innovation, Industry & Science
M E D I A R E L E A S E
12 January 2011
Forest contractors…what do the Greens really want?

•    First, the Greens say forest contractors should be given assistance to exit industry.

•    Then they say they exit funding should be withheld and even taken away.

Tasmanians can be forgiven for being confused when it comes to what the Greens and their politicians want with regard to forest contractors in the State.

Coalition Forestry Spokesperson Senator Richard Colbeck said the Greens Member for Bass Kim Booth has for some time appeared to be calling for assistance for struggling contractors.

“At the same time, the Greens’ National Leader Senator Bob Brown and his deputy Senator Christine Milne have been publicly criticising public funds going to contractors.

“Now, Mr Booth wants Federal Government exit assistance offers to forest contractors suspended with the threat of these funds potentially being withdrawn.

“This action endorsed by Mr Booth could only create more angst among forest contractors, their families and employees who have already waited too long for assistance.

“Mr Booth and his Greens colleagues would be better off demanding the industry restructure be properly funded by the Federal Government rather than demanding actions that will only create more misery.

“This action by the Greens further demonstrates their forked tongue messages which ultimately serve to damage Tasmania’s forestry industry and its thousands of workers.”

First published: 2011-01-11 04:44 AM