Show us the maps

AS police descended on a protestors camp in the Florentine forest deep in the Derwent Valley this morning, a more local group of activitists was raising questions about the often-stated protection of 90 per cent of the Upper Florentine. Long-term Derwent Valley resident Bron Smith released correspondence which calls into question the method used for determining the protected areas.

“We are disgusted and angered that Forestry Tasmania right now, with the help of the Tasmanian Police, is logging the heart out of the Upper Florentine, whilst the Tasmanian community still has not been shown the promised 90% of this magnificent forest that apparently will be saved,” Ms Smith said.

“Forestry Tasmania stated on 13th of January 2009 that ‘90% of the Upper Florentine catchment is not available for forest harvesting,’ and since then state and federal politicians has been repeating this figure as a fact,” Ms Smith said.

“We have tried for months to obtain proof of this figure of 90%, and finally in March received a letter from Forest Minister David Llewellyn admitting that ‘there is no map available which shows the precise boundaries that comprise the 90% that they [Forestry Tasmania] estimate will never be harvested,’ and that ‘actual location and extent cannot be mapped until more detailed pre-harvest planning has been completed’.”

“How can Forestry Tasmania claim on the one hand that 90% of the Upper Florentine is unavailable for logging, while the Forest Minister on the other hand admits that it’s only an estimate and they don’t actually even know the location or the extent until they do more planning? The claim of 90% is utterly arbitrary. This claim cannot be substantiated. There is no proof to this claim, but this hasn’t stopped both our state and federal government from asserting it as a fact.”

“We have had enough – we demand that logging stops immediately and that the Government shows us this supposed 90% of the Upper Florentine that is not available for logging. We have written to all Members of Parliament with suggestions of how the Upper Derwent can benefit in the long term by keeping these unique forests intact, including many ideas involving tourism potential.”

“These forests belong to the Tasmanian people, and Forestry Tasmania and our politicians should give us precise details of plans for its use, rather than hide behind spin,” Bron Smith said.

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