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Erik is a public policy professional and owner of the online training course in democracy and civic action: www.3ptraining.com.au The Blog …explores ways to create a sustainable and just community. Explores how that community can be best protected at all levels including social policy/economics/ military. The Book Erik’s autobiography is a humorous read about serious things. It concerns living in the bush, wilderness, home education, spirituality, and activism. Finding Home is available from Amazon, Barnes&Noble and all good e-book sellers.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Forest Peace Deal - Back to the Future Since 1989

For those with long memories, the last time industry and conservationists sat around a table and ‘talked turkey’ was in 1989 at the ‘Salamanca Talks’. They failed, in part because conservationists would not accept or legitimise the ‘clearfell and burn’ method of forestry. Both sides were overconfident. Conservationists were on a roll and imagined that they could still get Fed intervention for large scale protection of wild places. For their part the industry figured they could keep gaming the system at State level. A quarter of a century of conflict later and no one is confident. The conservationists have endured a quarter century of clearfelling in HCV forest. As predicted 20 years ago the industry is now on its knees. Without FSC certification they have limited options. One of these is to burn HCV (high conservation value) forests for electricity. See here: http://findinghomebookspace.blogspot.com.au/2013/01/burning-forests-for-electricity.html

The biggest and perhaps most dangerous compromise the ENGOs have made is to do what they didn’t do in 1989 – legitimise ‘clearfell and burn’ forestry. Their willingness to do so now is perhaps the most significant shift in the history of this conflict.

If contemporary forest practices are OK then rationally there is no reason why they shouldn’t be applied to HCV forest. This is what foresters have been arguing forever. On that topic see my post here: http://findinghomebookspace.blogspot.com.au/2013/04/why-foresters-are-from-mars-and-forest.html

If ENGOs accept these practices as sustainable then it will be very difficult to argue against future roll-back of reserves. Essentially ENGOs have said ‘we will legitimise what you do as long as you give us the bits we want’. This is a pragmatic approach but it may open a Pandora’s box. No wonder the green movement is split.

As a participant and observer of this conflict for the last 30 years I can say that this was a compromise forged on realism. For that reason it is likely to work. Let’s hope the political dinosaurs and naysayers of this world will end up on the wrong side of history.

Tag line: Tasmania Forest Peace Agreement, High Conservation Value Forests, forest stuardship certification, forest practices code, sustainable forestry, world heritage area, TWS, FIAT.

1 comment:

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