The Hobart

Is Tourism Ready For More Forestry Wars?

by Dr. Olivia Hasler
Is Tourism Ready For More Forestry Wars?

Tasmanian forests are special. They’re home to centuries-old trees, including the tallest flowering trees on the planet, and support unique native species. Yet not everyone agrees on how these forests should be managed.

The Tasmanian “forest wars” were a period of conflicts between conservationists and loggers that may soon be reignited. With the current moratorium end date quickly approaching in April, the State Government will soon have to decide whether or not to open Tasmanian forests up for logging. The decision will require the support of both Houses of Parliament. While the Government previously stated logging wouldn’t be allowed in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area or the Three Capes Track, the majority (356,000 hectares) of the once protected forest has been marked as “Future Potential Production Forest” (FPPF). While the debate surrounding FPPF has mostly been reported as the usual Liberal vs Greens or Greenie vs Development issue, it’s the Tasmanian tourism sector that’s most threatened by logging plans. Tourism relies on an area’s natural assets, and the demand for quiet, safe, and natural spaces for recreation and ecotourism is steadily increasing.

Last year, over 1.3 million people – not including those that arrived via cruise ships – visited Tasmania. Tourism contributes approximately $3.2 billion or 10.3 percent to Tasmania’s Gross State Product and provides about 42,000 jobs in Tasmania; about 17.2 percent of Tasmanian employment. This is higher than the national average and the highest in Australia. Since the moratorium began, the tourism industry here has only increased and strengthened.

In contrast, the direct value of output by the Tasmanian forest industry at the point of sale of primary processed products was just $712 million in 2015-16. According to the Department of State Growth, this figure rises to about $1.2 billion when flow on effects generated in other industries as a result of spending by the forest industry are considered, but there were only 3,076 direct jobs (and 2,651 indirect jobs) in the forest industry in 2017-2018. The Tasmanian Government helped subsidise the industry, providing the Tasmanian Timber Promotion Board with funding of $1 million over four years from 2017-2018.

The moratorium brought a peaceful close to Tasmania’s painful forestry wars. If the Government votes to open up the forest for logging it will not only risk beginning a new era of protests, but it will be voting against tourism. Tasmanian tourism will suffer from the inevitable negative headlines that will arise from the logging of the protected forests.

As climate change disrupts predictable weather patterns and contributes to deadly bushfires, Tasmanian forests are a critical carbon sink. A single hectare can store up to 1,800 tonnes of carbon – as much as that generated by 10 million kilometres of driving by a small-sized car. The amount of carbon drawn down by Tasmania’s forests was substantial enough to offset Tasmania’s emissions, allowing Tasmania to be the first jurisdiction in Australia to achieve zero net emissions in 2016. The forests also help create the climate necessary to produce Tasmania’s world-class food, drinks, and hiking trails, contributing to the robust tourism sector of the island state.

According to Forestry Watch, an independent organisation of scientists and concerned citizens conducting surveys to measure conservation value of proposed logging coupes, five giant trees with diameters of over 5m are under threat of logging. Such trees have little economic value and are generally sold as pulp wood, but are immensely valuable to the ecosystem and for their high carbon storage potential.

It makes little sense to log Tasmanian forests. The trees are a critical asset as carbon stores, and necessary to keep the billion dollar tourism industry thriving. If properly managed, tourism can sustainably grow year after year. Forestry can’t. Once forests are released for logging and jobs are created to log them, the demand for more forest to be released will inevitably increase in order to maintain these newly created jobs. This is only the beginning. The Tasmanian Government has to decide between tourism or forestry; to keep the peace or to restart the forestry wars. ■

Dr. Olivia Hasler is a doctor of green criminology and freelance writer in Hobart.

Love this

Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Close
Escape To The Country
Pet the animals, walk in the wilderness, pick your own berries and enjoy colonial accommodation... Farmstays and day tours are popping up across the state, providing a fun weekend away for visitors and Hobartians keen to get their gumboots dirty. Here are four farms to visit this Spring.
Exploring The World’s Widest Canyon – Capertee Valley
The Blue Mountains and surrounding areas suffered greatly during recent bushfires but slowly the National Parks in New South Wales are reopening, with some ready to welcome visitors back.
Talk Sexy To Me …
If I asked you to think of a food item that makes you sexy, healthy, attractive, youthful and energetic I can almost guarantee that you didn’t think of gelatin.
Madame Saisons: Corona Cuisine – Surviving Lockdown
The vacant stare in front of the open fridge or cupboard has afflicted us all on occasion. No matter how much food we have in store, there seems like nothing to eat. When you’re hungry and lacking cooking inspo, the ‘hangries’ can easily take hold.
Hannah Moloney
Meet the Tasmanian designing a better life for us all. Hannah Moloney of Good Life Permaculture is a leading landscape designer and educator in South Hobart (you may have noticed her bright pink and green house up on the hill). She’s spent 15 years designing and managing projects around urban agriculture, small-scale farming and community development. She believes in ‘radical hope’ and facing the climate crisis in a proactive and positive way.
Australia’s Online Beauty Queen – Kate Morris
Kate Morris had an idea to sell cosmetics online at a time when it wasn’t done. She borrowed $12,000 from her boyfriend’s parents and set up an online store, Adore Beauty in the garage. Twenty years later, the business is thriving, enjoying annual revenue around $100m. Kate recently sold a chunk of the business to private equity investors, Quadrant.
What’s With The Weather?
Even though Tasmania is known for its mild summers, it doesn’t take much to get sunburnt. Tasmania experiences extreme ultraviolet (UV) levels, but contrary to popular belief this isn’t due to the hole in the ozone layer, which is actually south of the continent.While higher UV levels often occur at the same time as higher temperatures, the two are not linked. Instead, UV levels are determined by the angle of the sun in the sky: the higher the sun, the higher the UV. In December and January, the position of the sun over Tasmania gives the state a UV index of 11 or more on most days, which is classified as “extreme” on the UV index. Tasmania’s lack of humidity and generally clear skies contribute to the stinging feeling of the sun. UV can reflect off buildings and water, making it possible to get a higher dose of UV from these reflected rays, even in the shade.
Transport Trackers – Your New Timewaster
It was almost 2am and US singer Halsey had just finished her set and was being whisked off stage at Falls Festival and into her waiting Tesla.
Cascades Female Factory Reopens
On a site where only the outside walls remain, how do you help visitors contextualise what happened inside those walls? At the Cascades Female Factory site in South Hobart, actor Karissa Lane, together with director Craig Lane-Irons and writer Finegan Kruckemeyer have created The Proud & The Punished, a 45-minute monologue to share the horrifying, heart-warming and sad stories of the women and babies, who went through the site from 1828 until 1856. At any given time there were between 700 and 1200 prisoners.
Day Of Impact 1967
Devastating bushfires on mainland Australia strikes vivid memories to those of us who lived through the 1967 bushfires in Southern Tasmania when 62 lives and 1293 homes were lost.
Magazine
AboutContributeAdvertiseNewsletter Sign UpContact
April 2021

Stay up to date with everything happening at the Hobart Magazine.

Thank you to Luke Brokensha for mobilising his friends and local residents recently to host two rubbish clean ups along the Hobart Rivulet after heavy rains.
The warm weather returns...hello summer.
Need a laugh? Check out @theinspiredunemployed feed on Instagram.
Moto Vecchia Cafe in Bellerive and Czegs Cafe in Richmond have joined the Clarence City Council dementia program, creating dementia-friendly spaces for all patrons.
It’s hard to believe it’s not standard practice to have a working phone in every aged care room - shared phones make private conversations impossible and increase the risk of spreading COVID-19.
Tacks on the tracks. Mountain bikers beware of tacks being left on certain tracks on the mountain.
Just when you think your cousins are alright. NZ Opposition Leader Judith Collins took aim at Tassie during her recent (unsuccessful) campaign, calling us Australia’s “poor cousin.” She also seems worried about us nabbing tech businesses, “It’s a lovely part of the world but do you necessarily want to go there with your high- tech business? Possibly not,” she said. We beg to differ!