Protect Ancient Tasmanian Rainforests

Dr. Bob Brown and Jenny Weber, of the Bob Brown Foundation, in the Tarkine, Tasmania.

 Earlier this week, Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman’s government announced logging plans for almost 800,000 acres of the tallest hardwood forests remaining on Earth.

Each year, Tasmania’s government, acting as stewards for crown land, loses millions of dollars by subsidizing logging. Last year, they lost $67 million subsidizing the destruction of nature.

Those glorious ancient rainforests are invaluable living carbon dioxide warehouses. For every metric ton of ancient wood, the trees removed 1.5 metric tons of heat-trapping carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. They simultaneously released one metric ton of oxygen.

Instead of logging these ancient rainforests, which will contribute to the ever-rising, man-made pool of climate-altering greenhouse gases, why not rent Tasmania’s ancient forests as offset to California and the Netherlands, and promote job-creating tourism, a multi-billion dollar burgeoning industry?

Logging the tallest southern hemisphere rainforests will demolish magnificent masterpieces of nature, including the endangered Swift Parrot, the Tasmanian Devil and Tasmania’s Wedge-Tailed Eagle.

The argument that logging creates more jobs for corporations like Ta Ann and community stability is flawed. Once the ancient rainforests are logged, mills close, leaving nature desecrated, millions of animals homeless and communities impoverished. British Columbia, and its dwindling forestry sector, is a case in point.

What Premier Will Hodgman fails to understand is that, after decades of forestry conflicts and an intergovernmental agreement in 2011 to protect them, Tasmanians love their ancient rainforests.

When you love something, you protect it.

Tens of thousands of people will mobilize and peacefully protest logging these exquisite biological treasure troves. These ancient rainforests regulate the climate, the water cycle, life-sustaining oxygen and provide crucial habitat for the critters.

Help protect these majestic forests by supporting the Bob Brown Foundation.

Earth Doctor Reese Halter’s upcoming book is “Save Nature Now.”