Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Calls for immediate moratorium on old growth logging

ABC News Online, Posted Tue Aug 5, 2008 2:00pm AEST


The Wilderness Society has called for an immediate end to old-growth logging after a new report identified forests that can absorb three times more carbon than international studies had previously suggested.

Scientists from the Australian National University examined 240 sites of intact natural forests in south-east Australia and found they can store up to 640 tonnes per hectare.

The largest stocks were in the central highlands of Tasmania and Victoria.

Virginia Young from the Wilderness Society says the research findings should prompt governments to protect native forests.

"If you were being sensible you would put an immediate moratorium on all old-growth logging all around the country because it's clear the carbon stocks are so much higher than anyone has previously analysed before," she said.

"The last thing you would do would be to log old-growth forests in Tasmania or Victoria."

Ms Young believes it is unfair Australia's forestry industry is not being placed under the same scrutiny as high polluting industries.

"We seem rather unfair to other sectors who are you know having a close scrutiny of emissions profiles from you know the energy sector and coal and transport and we really should be doing the same for all sectors."

But Michael Wood from Forestry Tasmania says it is ridiculous to think of the industry as a high energy emitting sector of the economy.

"If you look at the Green Paper in Appendix D it lists 115 sectors of the Australian economy and there is only one of those sectors that is carbon positive and that is the forestry and logging sector," he said.

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