Campaigns Are Helping To Save Tasmania's Forests

australia tasmania logging trees paper japan photo

(Photo by TTaylor)

Woodchip exports from Australia to Japan have fallen by 30 per cent in the past few years. The reason? The campaigns by environmentalists to convince Japanese paper companies to stop buying woodchips from Tasmania's old growth forests, according to Australian media reports. Rainforest Alliance has a small office in Tokyo (I have participate in one of their protests outside the Australian embassy in Japan). RAN also published detailed reports about the clearcutting (The logging industry said, "the report was full of inaccuracies, baseless claims and untruths and represented just another attack on Tasmania by radical conservationists").

David Lee from the Rainforest Action Network has lobbied paper companies in Japan to think about where Tasmanian woodchips are coming from.

DAVID LEE: I've never seen forests like this before as I saw in Tasmania. They were just the most magnificent forests ever, they looked like they were out of Lord of the Rings they … you know, as tall as redwoods and as large as the sequoias, and it just … it seems such a tragedy that you know, people would be cutting these down to make disposable products.

When Australia recently released an initial US$2 million in aid for Asia-Pacific nations to help protect forests and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, critics were quick to point out that Australian companies continue large scale industrial logging and clearing of their important ecosystems, with massive release of carbon and drying of water resources. In Tasmania, ancient forests are clearfelled to make disposable paper products, tropical rainforests are cleared for agriculture in Queensland, and logging of rare jarrah continues in the southwest's precious Gondwana forest remnants, according to Activists are also up in arms about Wielangta Forest - which is now about to be logged to make paper in Japan...

Written by Martin Frid at

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