Logging began last week in ancient Gondwanan forests outside the small town of Derby, which in recent years has become an iconic destination for mountain bike riders from around the world.
The logging isn’t just in the general vicinity of the Blue Derby network of bike trails that surround the town; it’s happening right next to them. The first coupes being logged sit adjacent to the world-famous Krushka’s trail – the logging occurring an average distance of just 70m from bike riders.
What makes this situation even crazier is the fact that the logging is being conducted by Sustainable Timber Tasmania, owned by the same state government that is heavily promoting Derby to the world as a tourist destination.
“Logging the native forests that hold our most successful tourism brand is not only damaging the Blue Derby brand, more importantly it is logging our carbon rich forest and logging our last stands of biodiverse tall wet forests,” said Louise Morris of local forest advocate group, Blue Derby Wild. “All because there is an annual native forest logging quota set by the government that Sustainable Timbers have to meet, despite the market not wanting to buy into forest products with no social, economic or ecological license.”
The logging began last week despite Blue Derby Wild lodging a petition with 32,000 signatures to Premier Peter Gutwein, and publishing an open letter from over 200 businesses – including Patagonia – calling on the logging plans to be scrapped.
“This comes after years of community and business advocacy to protect the forests around Derby from logging for their carbon values, biodiversity and as the backdrop for the best nature-based mountain bike destination in Tasmania,” said Louise Morris.
The logging adjacent to the Krushka’s trail has brought into sharp focus the changing Tasmanian economy, with tourism booming and the state’s traditional timber industry in decline, requiring millions in public subsidies every year to continue.
‘It’s absolutely insane that the Government would log ancient Gondwana forests right next to one of our state’s biggest tourist drawcards,” said Dr Jennifer Sanger, co-founder of The Tree Projects. “Tasmania is promoted as a clean, green wild experience and logging is directly at odds with this. Visitors want to experience our forests, not logging coupes.”
‘It’s absolutely insane that the Government would log ancient Gondwana forests right next to one of our state’s biggest tourist drawcards.”
“Blue Derby generates $30 million dollars a year for the local economy,” offers Jennifer Sanger, “meanwhile Sustainable Timber Tasmania loses a similar amount each year. It’s a no-brainer about which industry the government should be backing. These forests have a lot more value standing. They are important Gondwanan refugia which provide habitat for threatened species. These forests also store a significant amount of carbon and protecting our forests is a very simple way we can address climate change.”
Blue Derby Wild last week issued a legal notice of injunction for the immediate cessation of logging in the Krushka’s forest.
You can get involved with Blue Derby Wild’s fight to save the forests of Tasmania’s northeast here.