STATEMENTSThe Tasmanian Independent Science Council publishes statements on topical issues relating to the policy and science of Tasmania's environment.
26th February 2020
An open letter signed by Australian and international forestry and climate experts, published by the Australia Institute, has called for the immediate nationwide cessation of all native forest logging in response to the climate, fire, drought and biodiversity loss crises currently facing Australia.
The letter, signed by scientists from countries including Australia, USA, Canada, New Zealand and more, warn that native forest logging increases fire hazards and calls for the redeployment of forestry workers into fire services and national park management roles.
Signatories to the letter include Professor Tim Flannery from the University of Melbourne, Distinguished Professor James Kirkpatrick and Dr Jennifer Sanger from the University of Tasmania and the Tasmanian Independent Science Council, Mr Andrew Bluhm from the Oregon State University and Associate Professor Janette Bulkan from the University of British Columbia.
“In the current climate crisis, our trees are worth more standing,” said Dr Jennifer Sanger, researcher and forest ecologist at the University of Tasmania.
“This fire season has decimated a lot of forests and what is left must be prioritised for animal habitat and carbon stores. To cut down even more native forest does not make any sense.”
Leanne Minshull, Director of the Australia Institute Tasmania, says that continuing to log native forests in the wake of Australia's current bushfire crisis would be irresponsible.
“Native forest logging is heavily subsidised by the Australia taxpayer. Rather than spending public money to benefit private businesses and worsen fire conditions, we should be ceasing commercial native forest logging altogether and working towards fire mitigation,” Minshull says.
“Logging essentially turns forests into kindling and dries out the understorey, while Australian old-growth native forests, especially our wet eucalypt forests, burn less intensely and should be protected.
“The Government should recognise the importance of retaining Australia’s native forests in response to the bushfire crisis, and immediately cease all native forest logging throughout Australia.”
7 March 2022
Climate Tasmania and the Tasmanian Independent Science Council, as independent experts, are calling for changes to the State’s climate change legislation that will align with the best scientific evidence on the need for urgent reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and a proactive, feasible and just approach to adaptation and resilience measures.
The proposed Bill does not signal urgency, does not provide a proactive and fair framework to guarantee emissions reductions, does not provide a decarbonisation pathway, and does not provide state of the art adaptation and resilience measures. It also does not ensure sufficient accountability, transparency, and community engagement, nor set out how we can achieve collaborative change in our State.
We are calling both for amendments to the Bill and a commitment to increase funding on climate change starting this year and over the next 5 years.
16 May 2022
TISC urges the EPA to set more conservative limits on salmon production in Macquarie Harbour until and unless the issues raised in the letter have been addressed. This includes implementation of an improved monitoring design that is written into Environmental Licenses and funded by the industries in question. In particular, clarity is needed regarding potential impacts of low oxygen levels on the endangered Maugean skate, including their reproductive success. If existing activities cannot be shown to be harmless, they should be reduced in line with the precautionary principle.
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