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Residents pressure Forestry Tas through FSC

Forestry Tasmania is under pressure not to clearfell a 60-year-old regrowth coupe in the state’s north-west. Source: ABC Rural

The campaign by Lapoinya residents is poorly timed for the state-owned company, which is trying to secure environmental certification from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

The community will lobby the FSC but Forestry Tasmania said risks to threatened species are being addressed.

Lapoinya resident, Anne Duncan said for decades locals have used the 60-hectare forestry coupe as a recreation area.

“If you’re having a bad day, you just come down here for a walk and it’s just beautiful yeah, it’s good stress relief,” she said.

Craig Butt from Forestry Tasmania said the area is scheduled for logging next year.

“The intent is to clearfell harvest that coupe,” he said. “The trees in the coupe are predominantly eucalyptus obliqua, there are other minor species in the coupe as well.”

Adjacent landowners want the plan shelved for a year while they research the environmental impacts.

Barbara Hoyt from the Lapoinya Action Group, said an area over the hill from the coupe has recently been clearfelled.

Locals have collected video footage of threatened fauna including healthy Tasmanian devils and spotted-tail quolls.

Mr Butt said reserves can be left to protect animals and plants, including the endangered Brooker’s gum.

“If there were a wedge-tailed eagle nest right in the middle of the coupe then, you know, the timing and that all changes or we can’t do it,” he said.

Locals, like Stewart Hoyt, are not convinced by assurances that the coupe would be profitable for taxpayers.

“The amount of money that you get for the trees does not cover your costs of making your roads or paying your forestry workers,” he said.

Residents plan to lobby the Forest Stewardship Council, which is deciding if the state-owned company should receive the highest level of environmental certification.

Mr Butt said Forestry Tasmania is confident its social, economic and environmental assessments stack up.