No Extension of World Heritage Area into Tall Tassie Forests: Peter Garrett

In a media release Environment Minister, Peter Garrett, yesterday welcomed the World Heritage Committee’s consideration at its meeting in Quebec, Canada, of an expert report on Australia’s management of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.

The report, prepared by an expert mission sent by the World Heritage Committee to Tasmania in March, was based on extensive consultation, field research and rigorous examination of many long standing issues.

“It is pleasing the experts concluded that the outstanding universal values of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area are being satisfactorily managed, as are potential threats from production forestry outside the World Heritage boundary”, Mr Garrett said.

The mission also found that the Regional Forest Agreement and Tasmania’s forest practices system provide an appropriate framework for managing conservation values outside of the World Heritage Area.

The World Heritage Committee suggested a number of additional measures to enhance protection of possible values outside the existing World Heritage Area. These include possible adjustment of the World Heritage Area to include 21 areas of national parks and state reserves that are already covered by the World Heritage management plan but currently outside the boundary, and enhancing resources and capacity for the conservation of archaeological and Aboriginal sites.

Mr Garrett noted that both the Australian and Tasmanian Governments have responsibilities in relation to the World Heritage Area and would cooperate in carefully considering the implications of the World Heritage Committee recommendations.

The Australian Government agreed in-principle with the recommendations to extend the 1.3 million hectare Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area to include the additional 21 formal reserves recommended by the expert mission.

Mr Garrett also noted that the expert mission found no extension of the World Heritage area into tall eucalypt forests was warranted as the World Heritage area already includes a good representation of tall eucalypts. This contrasted with the World Heritage Committee’s request to consider, at Australia’s discretion, a further extension of the World Heritage Area in these forests.

The Australian Government has no plans to extend the current boundary into production forests.

Mr Garrett said that the Australian Government agreed in principle with the recommendations of the five yearly review of the implementation of the Tasmanian Regional Forest Agreement and is working with the Tasmanian Government towards this implementation.

The Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area is one of 17 World Heritage properties in Australia. Inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1982, and extended in 1989, the Tasmanian Wilderness is one of the world’s largest World Heritage Areas and covers 20% of the entire Tasmanian landmass.

21 Responses to No Extension of World Heritage Area into Tall Tassie Forests: Peter Garrett

  1. gavin July 8, 2008 at 9:29 pm #

    It was worth looking into again

  2. cinders July 8, 2008 at 9:55 pm #

    With claims that the last of the old growth was about to be destroyed for the last decade from ENGOs, it was certainly worthwhile for the WHC Mission to discover the following facts:
    Mapping of Tasmania’s old growth forests was undertaken for the first time in 1996
    as part of the process for identifying all forest values leading to the RFA between the
    Australian and Tasmanian Governments. A total area of 1,246,000 hectares of old
    forest was identified on public and private land, representing around 16 per cent of
    Tasmania’s land area. As a result of the RFA and the Tasmanian Community Forest
    Agreement in 2005 (TCFA), almost one million of the 1.2 million hectares (or about
    80 per cent) of old growth forest areas are now protected in identified reserves.
    Approximately 406,000 hectares of RFA-defined old growth forest are located within
    the TWWHA – about one third of the property’s area.
    All types of old growth forest represented in the TWWHA are therefore reserved on a
    statewide basis at levels that exceed the internationally recognised ‘JANIS’ reserve
    criterion that at least 60 per cent of each old growth RFA Forest Vegetation
    Community be reserved. The Forest Vegetation Communities of the areas of old
    growth forest to the north and east of the property are all communities that are well
    represented in the property. Old growth forest values are largely protected through
    the existing reserve system and management practices under the Forest Practices
    The report confirms it is no longer a battle between woodchips or wilderness, as the high conservation forest has been well and truly ‘saved’. It is now an argument about forest of high political value!

  3. Timber Jack July 8, 2008 at 10:15 pm #

    Yes without doubt it is very pleasing to both the State and Federal Environment Ministers accepting the recommendations of the World Heritage Centre’s delegation report, as opposed to the normal bowing to anti forestry activists claims to lock up more forests.

    Have been lucky enough to have a read of the report and it is pretty clear why Minister Garrett wisely choose to accept its findings.

    Just a couple that I’m sure will please Gavin from page 5
    “The balance between forests assigned to reserves/conservation and for production was struck through the Regional Forest Agreement (RFA) process in 1997, supplemented through the 2005 Tasmanian Community Forest Agreement (TCFA).”

    And most important is “Recommendation 7:
    The area managed under the TWWHA management plan provides a good representation of well-managed tall Eucalyptus forest and there is similar forest outside the property which is also well-managed, but for both conservation and development objectives. The threats to these forests from production forestry activities are well managed and there no need for the boundary of the property to be changed to deal with such threats.

    No doubt this is why the greens spent last week trying to discredit the Missions report but then again perhaps it was more about their displeasure with the IUCN’s vice president of past 2 years, Senator Christine Milne not being able to bully the WHC into blindly accepting activist claims.

  4. Louis Hissink July 8, 2008 at 10:50 pm #

    So we are subservient to no world government but a loosely connected group of NGO’s ?

  5. Pete July 9, 2008 at 12:34 am #

    From what you say here, looks to me like just the justification that Garrett needs to debunk claims that Gunns threatens protected forests.

    Time for the green light for Gunns.


  6. gavin July 9, 2008 at 8:53 am #

    Cinders: “The report confirms it is no longer a battle between woodchips or wilderness, as the high conservation forest has been well and truly ‘saved’. It is now an argument about forest of high political value”

    The first bit requires more than a promise and the second bit depends on who needs a wooden platform. These reports don’t go hand in glove.

    G’day TJ As you know I have considerable confidence in the RFA process and expect even more mutual understanding of conservation values from all interest groups in commercial forest exploitation areas as time goes on.

    How about you guys explain to Lewis the values of mutually agreed standards and their development in the international sphere?

    A most important aspect IMO is the public confidence in any certification process that precedes wholesale export of forest products destined for an educated and presumably appreciative market. I see this as your primary job on the internet. Don’t rest on your laurels hey.

  7. Ivan (868 days & Counting) July 9, 2008 at 4:37 pm #

    “Time for the green light for Gunns.”

    Indeed – let’s get on with it. Since the ice caps are going to melt and the trees will all under water anyway, what difference does it make if they cut them down a few years early. Leaving them to drown would just be a unconscionable waste.

  8. cinders July 9, 2008 at 4:40 pm #

    Whilst Forestry received a green tick from the international mission, climate change did not.

    The investigation found that archaeological sites are undergoing coastal erosion at a rate that is expected to increase with increased water levels and heightened storm activity as an outcome of climate change.

    The NGOs, coordinated by the Wilderness Society, also secured the consultancy services of Dr. Peter Hitchcock who accompanied the mission in its field visits with the ENGOs and provided insights on possible climate change driven issues affecting vegetation over time.

    I wonder if this is the same Peter Hitchcock who delivered the minority report as part of the Helsham inquiry.

    However no concern was shown for burning fossil fuel when the ENGOs hired two helicopters to take the mission to show them forestry operations and road building activities in the tall eucalyptus rainforest ecosystem in these areas and to a protest site, where activists had perched themselves on tree-tops linked to a trigger mechanism spanning across the access road.

    Let alone the trip to Quebec Canada as the Wilderness Society sent three representatives to the meeting Executive Director Alec Marr, Consultant Peter Hitchcock and ex-Franklin River campaigner Lincoln Siliakus attended to the lobby the meeting.

  9. gavin July 9, 2008 at 5:31 pm #

    Cinders may find some answers here beyond the listing,

    BTW; E ovata is “swamp gum” in my book, “Forest Trees of Australia” and that’s the name my father used for a species that grows in frost hollows and otherwise swampy ground.

    These rather fragile eucalypt species tend to be forgotten in negotiations for access to “timber” strands and better lands.

  10. cinders July 9, 2008 at 7:16 pm #

    You seem to have been too long from Tasmania. The TWWHA covers the SW part of Tasmania a bit over 1/5th of the State. The Blak Gum- South Esk pine vegetation community you refer to is in the North East from Launceston to the East Coast through the Fingal Valley.
    Whilst it is one of these “communities” listed as endangered forestry is not a threatening process. It is impacted by grazing, fire, land clearing and weeds.
    You might be pleased to know that the recovery plan states:
    This plant community is reserved in the Douglas
    Apsley National Park and it is protected under
    local government management at Cataract
    Gorge. A stand on the Apsley River is owned by
    the Australian Bush Heritage Fund and is being
    managed for conservation of the stand.
    Stands of this community occur in State Forest in
    the Eastern Tiers Forest District managed by Forestry Tasmania. Some of the stands are included in formal and informal reserves. The others are protected under the Eastern Tiers Forest District Draft Forest Management Plan which requires shrubby E. ovata forest which exists out of formal and informal reserves to be protected from logging.
    These trees are clearly not forgotten.

  11. gavin July 9, 2008 at 8:18 pm #

    “You seem to have been too long from Tasmania”

    Sure Cinders but we can all keep a remote eye on this table

    What I thought in my last post was our resident detective could bark up a tree and see who drives these listings to places where they count.

    Where would Tassie plant communities be without say bush heritage?

  12. Pandanus67 July 9, 2008 at 9:46 pm #


    E.ovata is Black Gum (southern Tas) or White gum in my book ” Forest trees of Australia, Boland et al, 1989. In Tas swamp gum is the common name of E.regnans, Mountain ash in Vic of course. Thank goodness that botanical names are consistant, geographically speaking of course.

    “Where would Tassie plant communities be without say bush heritage?” Doing fine I’d say given that world heritage listings, national park listings etc have occurred over the years without bush heritage and have achieved far more. That’s not to say that bush heritage is without merit, it just needs to be seen in perspective.

  13. gavin July 9, 2008 at 10:33 pm #

    Pandanus: You can’t teach us born n bred old devils 6th gen NWC. how to suck eggs.

    E regnans is Mountain Ash wherever it grows, E oblique is Stringybark, E viminalis is White Gum, E delegatensis is Gum-topped Stringy and the lot went as Tas Oak in the timber packs for mainlanders who never seemed to notice the difference.

    Hall, Johnston & Chippendale (1st ed.1957) were closer to the action than Boland et al,
    Besides; what did southerners ever know about good wood? Everything they had went into newspaper.

  14. Woody July 10, 2008 at 1:01 am #

    Why in the world would anyone invite the power mongers at the U.N. to claim some control over a piece of your country? What are they going to do for you that you can’t do yourself and do better without interference?

    From the UNESCO World Heritage site: “What makes the concept of World Heritage exceptional is its universal application. World Heritage sites belong to all the peoples of the world, irrespective of the territory on which they are located.”

    Bull. Only if you let them.

    I have to laugh that Independence Hall and the Statue of Liberty are on their list, as though the U.N. cared about freedoms and self-determination. Kick the bums out.

  15. Woody July 10, 2008 at 1:21 am #

    With friends like these….

    “Climate change poses a direct threat to the World Heritage-listed eucalypt forests of the Blue Mountains and urgent steps must be taken to protect it, a petition to the World Heritage Committee states.

    “The petition calls for the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area to be listed as ‘in danger’ and for urgent action to reduce Australia’s greenhouse emissions. It is signed by the Climate Action Network Australia, Greenpeace, the NSW Nature Conservation Council and Friends of the Earth.

    “The petition calls for Australia to introduce a price on carbon emissions, commit to reducing its greenhouse emissions by at least 30 per cent by 2020 and increase its renewable energy target from 2 per cent to 25 per cent by 2020.”

  16. Timber Jack July 10, 2008 at 8:47 pm #


    There is a answer and the good old UN provides
    it. The follow quote should provide comfort for the concerned.

    United Nations 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report.

    “In the long term, a sustainable forest management strategy aimed at maintaining or increasing forest carbon stocks, while producing an annual sustained yield of timber, fibre or energy from the forest, will generate the largest sustained mitigation benefit[1].” [1] Chapter 9 page 543

  17. Schiller Thurkettle July 14, 2008 at 5:48 am #

    I’m not sure whether it is good to congratulate Australia or not.

    The claim that the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area has been “satisfactorily managed” establishes that it’s *not* wilderness. It has been managed–by humans–and “satisfactorily” is a human evaluation.

    But, what the heck. Take some human-managed real estate and call it “wilderness”, that’s fine. My local golf course would probably fall into the definition somewhere. For instance, if the golf course encountered “threats from production forestry”, they would conclusively be dealt with.

    Dispensing with the question, “is a managed wilderness a wilderness?”, there’s another question. Why bother?

    Well, it turns out, if you get your managed wilderness certified, then the United Nations has jurisdiction to declare it to be “endangered”!

    The “List of World Heritage in Danger” can be found at and endangered Heritage sites are subject to the UNESCO World Heritage Convention

    So, basically, you’ve got wilderness, by whatever definition, and you’ve turned over its jurisdiction to a corrupt world body.

    Giving away parts of your country to international green tyrants does *not* improve on the essentials of wilderness.

    Sorry, folks, you’re selling your inheritance for a mess of pottage.

  18. Schiller Thurkettle July 14, 2008 at 7:52 am #


    The Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area has been blessed by an international body that wants to increase nuclear arms in Iran,
    and loves Mugabe,
    and swaps food for oil for explosives.
    Must feel good to have a forest in such benevolent hands.

    Maybe you could do a forest-for-CO2-for-coal-for-national-security-for-national-self-determination swap.

    Not in this century.

  19. gavin July 14, 2008 at 8:32 am #

    Schiller makes more noise than a chainsaw

  20. Schiller Thurkettle July 14, 2008 at 8:36 am #


    I can tell already that you care about your country. Your compatriots have determined that the United Nations should reign the parts some love the best. You’re a mite!


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