Local Derwent Valley tourism operators Tassie Bound Adventure Tours were hit with another devastating blow earlier this month when they were advised Sustainable Timbers Tasmania were proposing to close the Styx Road, lock out tourism operators and block access to the World Heritage listed Valley of the Giants for cable logging. Fiona Weaver from Tassie […]
Local Derwent Valley tourism operators Tassie Bound Adventure Tours were hit with another devastating blow earlier this month when they were advised Sustainable Timbers Tasmania were proposing to close the Styx Road, lock out tourism operators and block access to the World Heritage listed Valley of the Giants for cable logging.
Fiona Weaver from Tassie Bound Adventure Tours advised: “On Saturday (1 August) my husband Liam and I were informed that Sustainable Timbers plans to close the Styx Road in mid-August to proceed with steep cable clear fell logging of ‘coupe TN034G’ which is located 4 kms down the Styx Road within a 10 km drive of Maydena.”
Tasmanian Times understands Parks and Wildlife Service advised tourists and tourism operators that Sustainable Timber Tasmania planned to close Styx road in mid-August for clear fell logging for weeks, if not months.
Two days later, 3 August 2020, Guy Barnett, Minister for Resources issued a media release saying that:
“STT does not harvest Giant Trees and has no immediate plans to harvest any coupe adjacent to the Styx Rd, or close the road.”
However, on viewing the STT online interactive map viewer it is clearly evident that TN034G is adjacent to the Styx Road.
Styx Road is the tourist road into the Valley of the Giants. A further 12km past this coupe are the tallest trees in the Southern Hemisphere and worldwide, topped only by California’s redwoods.
When Tasmanian Times asked STT to please explain the disparity between their own documentation and the words from the Minister who said “… has no immediate plans to harvest any coupe adjacent to the Styx Rd,” a spokesperson repeated exactly the same words in the media release and added:
“Immediate harvest referred to statements made by others that the Styx Road was to be closed in August.” (emphasis ours)
Just before arriving at TN034G, also bordering Styx Road, are other STT coupes that have been clear felled and burned in the past two years.
The coupe pictured above was previously named TN034A and is indicative of the fate now awaiting TN034G. These coupes will in time be regenerated into a native mono culture forest, never again destined to be ancient rain forest.
Forest Defenders from the Bob Brown Foundation once again brought attention to the Styx Valley earlier this month.
Along with volunteers from The Wilderness Society, The Tree Projects, Forest Watch and Extinction Rebellion they welcomed hundreds of visitors to TN034G over the past two weekends to better explain and enable members of the community to see for themselves up close this untouched 23.86 hectares of ancient rainforest.
In the STT ‘Three Year Wood Production Plan 2020/21 to 2022/23, published July 2020, it indicates this coupe will be clear felled using cable logging. The plan suggests the composition of the coupe is 3600 tonnes of pulp wood (wood chip), 1000 cubic metres of veneer and 1000 cubic metres of peeler logs. There is no mention of the estimated 25% of rain forest or of the specialty timbers myrtle and sassafras in this 23.86 hectare coupe.
Some 60% of residue will be left on the forest floor and will result in a regeneration burn.
In the publicly-available STT documentations there is no reference to the body of Eucalypt regnans trees that are over 500 years old such as the recently discovered 42m high Charon* and the giant tree ferns. Nor is their mention of the rich rainforest undergrowth which is home to some twenty-one species of native birds including the grey goshawk, masked owl, wedge-tailed eagle and a myriad of mammals including the pademelon, potoroo, eastern quoll, spotted-tail quoll, Tasmanian devil, echidna and the long-tailed mouse.
Premier Gutwein says ‘if’ harvesting (clear felling) were to take place in this area
In the media release from Premier Gutwein, 7 August, four days on from Barnett’s media release, he stated:
“If at some point in the future, harvesting were to take place in this area, STT advises they would work proactively with neighbouring land managers to provide alternative access for the Big Tree Reserve, and also to minimise any impact on local tourism operators.”
“My government recognises that both the tourism and forestry industries are crucial for our economy, for local communities and for our workers, and I am confident that both sectors can continue to successfully coexist.”
Following the Barnett and then Gutwein media releases, a Bob Brown Foundation spokesperson advised:
“A wave of public outrage has obviously caused a stay of execution. But that is all.”
“From the Premier’s letter logging is still Sustainable Timber Tasmania’s intention. The Forest Practices Plan for this coupe is finalised and ready to go. The blue tags and the 2020 plan show TN034G is definitely on the logging schedule for imminent flattening of native forests,” said BBF.
At the Styx open day Sunday 16 August, Bob Brown himself confirmed;
“So much for the tourism that the government says it supports; 35% of jobs in Tasmania are in tourism and hospitality, and point nine of 1% is in logging.”
“A lot of people think it’s the other way around,” said Brown.
This STT road pictured above was established in March 2020 into TN034G, a coupe that Barnett and Gutwein says will not imminently be logged. STT did not deny that the road – approximately 700m of well constructed and compacted quarry stone – cost around $500,000 to establish.
Also at the Styx open day 16 August was Charles Wooley who has been reporting on the Styx Valley for some twenty odd years. Wooley spoke to the 150 or more audience on the day and said;
“We need more people in on this. We should get 10,000 people together.
We did it during the Vietnam War. This is bigger than Vietnam.
This is the end of the world for us …” said Wooley.
*Charon, named by The Tree Projects, was only discovered in late 2019 by Jack O’Hare and Annie Ford.
It is significant because it is the first Giant Tree to be seen on the Styx Road and it is only 10m off the road. Charon -42.78706, 146.58119 42m high, 220 cubic meters, 5.3m diameter.
MEDIA RELEASES: Swift Parrot Public Authority Management Agreement.
TASMANIAN TIMES: Responses to STT Audit Report.
Source: Tasmanian Times https://tasmaniantimes.com/2020/08/death-knell-coupe-tn034g-in-the-styx-valley/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=death-knell-coupe-tn034g-in-the-styx-valley