Posts Tagged ‘stihl chainsawing old-growth’

The Stihl Saw Nutter of Tasmanian Forests

Friday, October 21st, 2011
Stihl Concrete Saw


Stihl Saw Nutter – contracted with Forestry Tasmania, October 2008
(Click photo above to play video in YouTube, turn up your PC volume)

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Stihl President – Fred Whyte
(Billings Gazette)

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In September 2010, Fred J. Whyte, president of STIHL Inc., was elected chairman of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) during the association’s 58th annual meeting in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho.
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“I am honored to again represent STIHL and the outdoor power equipment industry as chairman of the OPEI board,” said Whyte.
“In this next year, we hope to accomplish a lot, especially in the realm of educating the public on the safe and efficient use of outdoor power equipment. We are seeing gains in the market, which should be welcome news to all OPEI members. Let’s hope we return to our market prosperity with new sustainable programs and products that will lead us into the next generation.”

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[Source: Stihl USA, ^http://www.stihlusa.com/pressrelease/september10_FJWOPEI_corporate.aspx]

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Two years prior (2006) …’Defending Tasmania’s ancient forest’

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[Source: Tasmanian Times, 20061106, ^http://tasmaniantimes.com/index.php?/article/defending-tasmanias-ancient-forest/ ]
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‘This week has marked a new chapter in the defence of Tasmania’s ancient forests with 17 arrests in the Weld Valley, Southern Tasmania.The arrests occured whilst community members were trying to prevent an access road that will allow the chainsaws into majestic ancient forests.The Weld Valley has now become one of the largest resistance campaigns for Tasmania’s forests in the last decade. Community outrage at this senseless devastation is challenging the Tasmanian and Australian governments to give these wilderness forests the protection they deserve.

For more than a year, forest defenders built and lived in a beautiful conservation haven that worked to hold the chainsaws and bulldozers at bay. Camp Weld, had a full size replica Pirate ship (the Weld Ark), a bush cabin and the entire infrastructure needed to provide shelter and support to friends of the forest. The camp had a village style atmosphere and was open to all comers who wanted to help the forests in their plight. Camp Weld members faced not only the hostility of the weather, the driving rain, winter dark and snow but also the very real hostility and threats from logging industry supporters.
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‘Through the year, Camp Weld faced gun shots, car burnings and physical threats from loggers coming directly into camp.’

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All this was greeted with the strength and commitment of non-violent action and this peaceful response is a testament to the bravery and beauty of the people who lived there.
 
On Wed 15th November 2006, more than 60 Police raided the camp with one immediate arrest and a lone tree-sitter escaping to her lofty perch.Everyone else was ordered to leave or face arrest under a new media and public exclusion zone placed around a 10 kilometre radius of this state owned forest. For the next 6 days a set of rolling actions began and continue, flowing from the anger at the loss of such a direct action icon and the coming loss of these wondrous forests. People climbed tree-sits, stood in front of machines and some forest defenders locked theselves on to machinery. These actions occurred day after day as the arrest tally climbed to the present 17.
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For 5 days, the lone tree sitter ‘Pixie’ sat in her high platform watching the events unfold..

Two other forest defenders spent nights in jail as Police used legal tactics to try and prevent the arrestees from returning to the forests. The Tasmanian government has funded this operation to secure access for Gunns Ltd, providing large numbers of police, security, a 24 hour mobile operations base and satellite communications equipment, all to ensure that the bulldozers get into the forest. Yet despite these obstacles people continue to challenge the destruction in a peaceful and defiant manner.

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Classic non-violent style

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On two separate occasions, a community walk in was staged to defy the archaic exclusion zone created on public land. The first walk in had 40 people, the second over 100. These were great days for the forests as smiling people walked past security and police, in classic non-violent style. The strength in numbers meant that the police were unable to implement the exclusion zone procedures, which involves individually approaching each person in the zone. The veil over this hideous environmental crime had been lifted.This type of protest has occurred because of the continued failure of the Regional Forest Agreement (RFA) and the subsequent Community Forest Agreement, which were set up under the pretence to solve the forest debate in Tasmania. In fact, things in the forest have gotten worse, roads continue to be cut into high conservation value forests and logging is planned for many high conservation value forests and wilderness areas across the state. A downturn in the woodchip market has not deterred the world largest hardwood woodchipper, Gunns Ltd from continuing their devastation of the island’s wildlife and trees. Their aggressive response to criticism is to sue conservationists and environmental groups with a blanket multi-million dollar civil case.This almost billion dollar company and its $65million man, John Gay, have a strangle hold on the states politicians and its old growth forests.

The Weld Valley is a shining example of places ignored by the chainsaw mandate of the RFA; it is an ancient forested valley of towering trees, moss filled rainforest gullies, snow-capped mountains, wide plains, crystal clear streams and wild Weld river. The original Tasmanians wandered this valley some 20,000 years ago evidence of their lives still remain in the national park protected ‘Bone Cave’ in the upper Weld. The potential for more sites or caves remains unexplored in much of the logging slated lower Weld Valley. While some 80% is protected in the South West World Heritage Area, the remaining forests suffer a very different fate to those separated by the imaginary protection line.

These remaining forests of the lower Weld Valley have been recognized by local and international environmental groups, the United Nations and even Tasmania’s Parks and Wildlife as having equal conservation status to the rest of the valley. Viewed as a single wilderness area, the Weld Valley is a unique landform which has a rare combination of outstanding biological, geological and cultural features naturally linked by continuous forest to the World Heritage Area.
Direct action has always been an area of last resort for conservationist. Brave and often reluctant heroes staff this front line with sometimes little more than their own bodies. Placing lives on hold and committing all for the forests. Basing actions on non-violent principles, that has served people and social movements like Gandhi, the Suffragettes, the Civil Rights struggle and our own Franklin River campaign. As long as companies like Gunns Ltd are allowed, by governments, to ignore community concern and run rampant through our ancient forests with chainsaws and bulldozers then there will always be people willing to stand in their defence.’
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[Adam Burling is a founding member of the Huon Valley Environment Centre, a part time advisor to Senator Bob Brown and a Gunns 20 defendant.]

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