Vital Tasmanian Forests added to World Heritage

Miranda Gibson in ObserverTree
Miranda Gibson
Tree-sitting for 457 days in defence of Tasmanian ancient forests

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The World Heritage Committee meeting in Phnom Penh today has just approved a 170,000 hectare extension of Tasmania’s world heritage wilderness, taking in the wild eucalypt forests fringing its eastern boundary.

The 21 nation committee accepted the nomination without dissent, despite a recommendation from an advisory body to refer the case back to Australia for more work on the extension’s cultural values.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature had been making repeated recommendations in support of protecting these forests.

Committee members Germany, Malaysia, India, Serbia, Albania and Estonia all spoke in strong support of the extension.

Old growth native forests in the Upper Florentine, the Styx, Huon, Picton and Counsel River Valley have been afforded the highest level of environmental protection, World Heritage Listing!

The decision today by the World Heritage Committee to approve the extension to the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area is testament to the power of the community, after decades of action to defend these forests.

The Observer Tree and the forest surrounding it as well as the site of Camp Florentine blockade are now World Heritage listed.

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Miranda's Observer Tree 20111212
Miranda Gibson
Holds the world record for Tree Sit activism in her personal defence of  Tasmanian ancient forests

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Miranda Gibson  (Still Wild Still Threatened):

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<< “On December 14th 2011 I climbed to the top of a tree in a threatened forest and said I would stay until the forest was protected. That forest is now World Heritage. It is thanks to the support from people right around the world that the forest is still standing and is now protected.

For 14 months I watched over the forest every day with the hope that we, as a community, could defend those trees for future generations. Today, for that forest, we have achieved that” said Ms Gibson.

View of Tyenna forests from tree sit_photo by Miranda Gibson

 

Today I think of the wedge tailed eagle that I watched fly above my tree, whose habitat was once under threat and is now protected and of the Tasmanian devils who lived in the forest 60 meters below my platform who can now raise their young in peace.”

Today we celebrate the protection of some of Tasmania’s most significant forests including the Tyenna, Weld and Upper Florentine. For six years the Upper Florentine Valley has been defended by Tasmania’s longest running forest blockade. This forest is still standing because the community took action and halted logging to protect the values of this ecosystem, that are now officially World Heritage. This Sunday the community will return to site of Camp Florentine to celebrate our success in ensuring these forests will be standing for future generations.”

“Thousands of people across the globe have been part of this global movement to protect Tasmania’s ancient forests as World Heritage. Right around the world people today are celebrating the power of community action and what we have achieved for Tasmania’s forests.”  >>

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Still Wild Still ThreatenedActively defending Tasmania’s ancient forests since before 2009

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Australia’s Environment Minister Tony Burke:

“If you look at the Styx in particular, there are trees that are the length of a football field going straight up. This decision today means those extraordinary giants of the forest are added to the World Heritage list.   For the first time the listing happened through negotiations with the forestry industry and conservation movement, rather than by politicians drawing arbitrary boundaries.  That provides a path forward for Tasmania different to the conflict model that those opposite are completely wedded to.”

Tony Burke's Forest Legacy

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Jenny Webber (Huon Valley Environment Centre, Tasmania):

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“After eleven years of campaigning for the globally significant forests of the Weld, Middle Huon and wild forests in the Esperance and Far South (in Tasmania) we have achieved an awesome milestone here…

Today, thousands of hectares of contiguous tall eucalyptus wild forests, endangered species habitat, wild rivers and ancient karst systems have finally had their globally significant values recognised.  This is the first time Huon Valley Environment Centre has witnessed the protection of forests.”

We have walked thousands of people through these forests, stood on the front-line to defend them as they have been wantonly destroyed with large scale logging and burning. At last, some of these forests have been saved, and we thank the artists, activists and community members who have participated in our campaign all this time. 

This is truly the people’s achievement. For decades people have struggled to protect these particular forests and finally we can say, despite shortsighted and wasteful governments, inept land resource management and failed efforts to undermine and marginalise conservationists, we did it!”

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Women achieving magnificentlyCampaigners for Tasmania
Miranda Gibson, Jenny Weber and Jasmine Wills
(and many dedicated people behind the scenes)

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Wedge-tailed Eagle Tasmania
The special spirit of Tasmania, its people, its island

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Further Reading:

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[1]   The Observer Tree

^http://observertree.org/

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[2]   Still Wild  Still Threatened

^http://stillwildstillthreatened.org/

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[3]  Huon Valley Environment Center

^http://www.huon.org/

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Bushfire ends Miranda Gibson’s record 457 day tree protest near Hobart

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Miranda Gibson
Anti-treelogging activist, Miranda Gibson in the Styx Valley
Picture: Miranda Gibson

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A deliberately lit bushfire by loggers has ensured an activist’s record tree-sitting protest has gone up in smoke.

The fire in the Styx Valley, about 100km north-west of Hobart, has ended Miranda Gibson’s epic tree sit-in, which lasted 457 days.

The 31-year-old has been living at the top of a 60 metre eucalypt tree since December 2011 in a bid to stop logging in high conservation value forests. She has been urging the federal government to seek world heritage listing for the Styx Valley, the Florentine and Weld forests.

When she got down, she said that her campaign will continue – for the short term at least – on the ground.

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Miranda Gibson

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Miranda Gibson has spent a year up a tree.

“I’ll be assessing the situation as it goes in terms of the fire risk and in terms of the campaign and what I can effectively achieve on the ground or in the tree,” she told AAP.

“As time goes on I’ll be able to make a decision about how I approach that.”

An emotional Ms Gibson abseiled to the ground to be embraced by former Greens leader Bob Brown.

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Miranda Gibson

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Miranda Gibson had vowed to stay up the tree until the Tasmanian forest is protected from logging.

“Congratulations,” he said. “You’re our hero of the forests.”

Since taking up residence on a platform suspended at the top of a 400-year-old eucalyptus tree, she has blogged about the experience, on Observer Tree.

Ms Gibson’s  campaign has attracted worldwide attention, with the former teacher appearing on news shows around the world.

She’s also used satellite technology to speak at a number of environmental conferences and acted as a spokeswoman for the Still Wild Still Threatened conservation group.

Ms Gibson broke the record for the longest Australian tree-sit last July, topping the 208 days Manfred Stephens spent atop a tree near Cairns in 1995.

Isolation and solitude were the biggest challenges she faced in living in a tree, as well as coping with Tasmania’s harsh winter weather.

One of the hardest things was the uncertainty about how long she would be in the tree.

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[Source:  ‘Bushfire ends Miranda Gibson’s record 457 day tree protest near Hobart’, 20130307, by journalist Hannah Martin, The Mercury (Hobart)/AAP,  ^http://www.news.com.au/national-news/bushfire-ends-miranda-gibsons-record-457-day-tree-top-protest-near-hobart/story-fncynjr2-1226592464722]

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One Response to “Vital Tasmanian Forests added to World Heritage”

  1. Richard Browne says:

    Fantastic news for beautiful Tasmania..Well done to you Miranda also..You really are an angel..

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