Tasmanias forests – Still Wild Still Threatened, by tree activist Miranda Gibson

28/09/2012

in International Campaigns

Miranda Gibson is currently well into her ninth month living on a platform 60m up in a beautiful, old growth eucalyptus tree, within the heart of  one of Tasmania’s ancient forests. She is fully equipped to reach out electronically to the World to spread her message about the destruction of this place, a place of World heritage value, of value to you and me, even if we are over on the other side of the planet. Miranda has vowed to remain in the Observer Tree until these irreplaceable forests are given the protection they vitally need. Let’s help get Miranda home and spread the word about The Observer Tree!

Miranda Gibson, www.stillwildstillthreatened.org

Nine months ago I climbed 60 meters to the top of an old growth tree in the middle of Tasmania’s ancient forest. I vowed to remain on the tree-top perch until the forest was protected. I haven’t set me foot on the ground since.

As I write this, I look out across the upper canopy of  world heritage value forests, surrounded by snow-capped mountains, and listen to the sound of birds calling across the valley. The forest around me is constant reminder of why I am here. Despite the fact that in August last year this area was promised a conservation agreement by the Australian and Tasmanian governments, logging machinery moved in on December 12th and started destruction. The logging ceased once my tree-sit brought international attention to their actions. However, the threat remains. They could return any day now.
 

 

Miranda, photo credit: Dan Haley

And so I keep my tree-top vigil, day and night, month after month. And every day that I am up here is a reminder to the world that Tasmania’s globally significant forests are still under threat. Armed with solar power and computer I have skyped my way around the world – talking to people at conferences, festivals, schools and community forums. I also update a regular blog about tree-top life and the forests at www.observertree.org

It has been an absolutely inspiring action, because it has taught me, among many things, that there is a whole world of people out there who want to see our precious forests protected for the future. And with the help of people around the world, we are making a real difference for the forest here. One easy yet significant way in which people can help is by taking part in the cyber action. It only takes a few minutes, sending a message from you to the corporate customers of Ta Ann. This is the Malaysian logging company who are one of the key driver behind the destruction of Tasmania’s high conservation value forests. Yet, despite their role in the destructing they are in fact selling their product as environmentally friendly!

The truth about Ta Ann is spreading around the world. And back home in Tasmania the impact is being felt. The more pressure on them in the global market place, the closer we come to gaining real and lasting protection for the forests.

Every day I watch this forest, changing over the seasons, and I am reminded of why we must continue to campaign against Ta Ann’s forest destruction. Because all around me this forest is teeming with life, in an ancient ecosystem that, once lost, is irreplaceable. This forest has in fact been recommended by the World Heritage Committee to be included in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. But the government failed to act on the recommendation.

The government have even failed to act on the advice of the independent team of expert scientists which they endorsed to verified the area. The scientists found this forest to be of world heritage value. 572,000 hectares of threatened forest as found to contain significant world heritage and national heritage value. A key finding was the importance of these forests for the survival of endangered species. Tasmania’s most iconic wildlife species, the Tasmanian Devil, is one of those at risk if logging continues. The species is listed in both state and federal legislation as endangered, due to it’s rapidly declining population.

A Tasmanian Devil!

Below me, on the forest floor, Tasmanian devils live in this forest. Through remote-sensor cameras conservationists have monitored their populations here. Two days before logging began footage was taken of a mother devil carrying food to it’s young. If I had not climbed the tree…. and logging had continued here….. who knows what would have become of those young devils. Wildlife experts have raised concerns in relation to the fatalities that may be occurring during logging operations. Young devils are at risk of becoming trapped and dying in their dens. And the destruciton of den sites is significant for this species, who use the same maternal dens from generation to generation. In great relief we watched the footage taken in February, showing healthy juvenile devil fresh out of the den. The forest and the animals that call it home had been spared. For now.

Fern Gully

Many of the old trees around me have grey and rotting branches, full of hollows that are ideal habitat for a range of species. It takes around a hundred years for these trees to develop such hollows. Therefore, when these areas are felled and converted into managed regrowth forests that are logged on 80 year rotations, this critical habitat is absent, having a detrimental impact on wildlife. I have watched a majestic white goshawk, an endangered species in Tasmania, in the top of the tree that is my closest neighbour, and I wonder where it will live if logging is allowed to proceed in this forest.

Miranda, photo credit: Matthew Newton

It is these amazing and unique species that inspire me to continue my action. And although there have been challenges along the way, the experience has been an incredible journey too. I have learnt so much from watching the forest around me. And one of the most important things I have learnt is how much we can make a difference in the world. I hope that my action has inspired people around the world to take action too… it doesn’t have to be climbing 60 meters to the tree tops- there are a million ways to take a stand for what you believe in, to make the world a better place.

I am 100 percent committed to staying in this tree for as long as it takes to see this unique and precious forest protected. For the sake of the forest and the wildlife here, I hope that someday soon I will be able to set my feet back on the ground below, in an area safely preserved for future generations.

 

 
Tasmania’s forests still falling: watch the brand new film and take action!

 

CLICK HERE TO TAKE ACTION!

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