The Wilderness Society is no doubt celebrating the recent decision by Japanese paper mill Mitsubishi to only source woodchip from plantation forests. The end result, however, is likely to be fewer tall trees in Tasmania’s native forests.
The tall wet sclerophyll forests that make Tasmania so special are not able to regenerate without some form of severe disturbance and fire.
The annual three month window for burning has just ended in Tassie.
Where there is no logging and no wildfires, the mature eucalypt overstorey will stagnate and continue to decline, eventually to be replaced by (shorter) rainforest.
Clear felling to quote an old foresters, “bares the mineral soil to produce an adequate seedbed, and provides a brief respite for the new (Eucalyptus) forest to assert itself over its shrub competitors. The seed drop on the bared seedbed may be a serendipitous natural event, or else a man-made contrived additive. All our current “Old Growth Forests” were the result of major fire occurrences from lightning or indigenous firing.”
I was in Tassie in May.
And here are some pictures from that visit:
View image of stream in forest (about 50kb).
View image of swamp gum (about 50kbs).
View image of old tall Eucalyptus trees (about 130 kbs).
COMMENT from reader inserted at 3.20pm on 4th July:
Your “View image of old tall Eucalyptus trees” requires explanation:
1.The background slope (R.H.S.& centre)is an area of very old forest burnt, without doubt by wildfire maybe 50 years ago with regrowth(same species)to 50-60 metres & many dead remnant “stags” of the original dominant Euc. species still standing –most have fallen over. To the left is remnant old growth, damaged but only some killed. Regrowth here will be patchy.
2. The mid-slope almost certainly is regrowth(same Euc. species) to ca. 40 metres following logging & regeneration burning & aerial seeding (same species).Note very few stags, they have long since been converted to furniture & high quality papers etc.etc.
3. The foreground could be another species but has apparently not been logged or catastrophically burnt c.f.1&2.
View image of clear felled patch (about 130 kbs).
View closeup of recently burnt patch (about 50 kbs).