Unfortunately whenever I am doing a bit of exploring up in the high country I come across scenes like this all too often!
They remind me of old battle scenes similar to what would have been seen after the bloody battles on the Western Front during WW1 where whole towns were wiped off the map. These places where swathes of forest are literally obliterated are usually in areas where not too many tourists are found, out of sight,out of mind.
Ever since I was a boy growing up in Tasmania in the late ’60s I have seen this happening. I hated it then, I hate it now! It just seems so wasteful and pointless.
Tasmania is one of the most naturally beautiful places on earth and yet the government and some of the population seem fixated on trying to ruin that beauty, either by building Hydro-Electric dams to supply electricity for industry or clear-felling forests to sell overseas for woodchips! Even some of the old foresters and sawmillers are aghast at what is happening.
While this is a deplorable state of affairs, there are a lot of people in Tasmania that are employed directly or indirectly in forestry, many of them ar second ,third and even fourth generation forestry workers,millers etc. While it would be nice to stop logging immediately, throwing all these people out of work is not too intelligent either. Therein lies the dilemma. You can hardly say to a 45yo man who probably left school at 15 and has worked in the industry all his working life that he could re-train to do something in the tourism industry, the first sound you would hear is a chainsaw as he chases you out of his yard for being so bloody stupid!
Plantation timber will help take up the slack to some extent but they are rapidly taking over prime farming land as farmers sell their farms because their children don’t see much of a future in agriculture. Tasmania already has an exodus of young people heading to the mainland searching for better opportunities.
Unfortunately,it will take time to phase out the most destructive aspects of the forestry industry. In the meantime they will seeking to get the most out of it possible.Thankfully there are organisations keeping a close eye on them.
After reading Mark Stothard’s latest post from Tasmania, I thought I would post a couple of images showing the aftermath of logging operations in the Tasmanian forests.
Once again, not a pretty sight!
The Forestry Department do collect as much seed as possible from the fallen timber and reseed the area but it is never the same and in a lot of cases they put in fast growing hybrid plantation timber which is not far removed from a pine plantation. We all know what “deserts”they are!
The big problem is that in Tasmania, Forestry employs a lot of people directly and indirectly and is one of the major industries, so government understandably are not about to throw a lot of people out of work.
Thanks to the Greens keeping the spotlight well and truly on the devastation that happens in the forests hopefully we will see a day when this portion of the earth’s lungs are safe from the chainsaws and bulldozers.