ANOTHER 170,000 hectares of forest could be added to Tasmania's World Heritage Area without a lasting forest peace deal.
Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke signed the nomination yesterday that would protect parts of the Styx Valley and Upper Florentine, as well some areas bordering national parks.
If approved by an international committee in June, that would become the largest tract of Tasmanian land added to the World Heritage List in 20 years.
Environment groups, which had threatened to walk away from a peace deal reached with industry without the nomination, welcomed the news as did the Greens.
State Parliament, however, is still considering legislation that would underpin the deal and lead to the protection of another 381,000 hectares of state forest and almost $200 million.
Mr Burke insisted that his decision was about protecting jobs - and had only been made with the backing of industry.
``This is to grow jobs now, and protect iconic old growth forever,'' he said.
In order to get that support a series of concessions worth $18 million will be sped up for industry, which are outlined under the peace deal.
That forced Mr Burke to backflip on his vow not to unlock another dollar from the Commonwealth until state legislation passes.
The durability of the deal, however, remains uncertain at a state and federal level.
Premier Lara Giddings said her government reserved the right to withdraw support of the nomination should the Legislative Council choose to reject legislation that the House of Assembly has already passed.
``We'd strongly prefer that the (forests) legislation had passed before this World Heritage Area nomination had to be considered . . . (but) the nomination must be progressed right now, or the whole agreement could be at risk,'' Ms Giddings said.
Upon the state's request an area containing significant mineral deposits was left out of the nomination, which surprised environment signatories.
``I don't see a significant problem (with that), but we would like to see the detail,'' Wilderness Society spokesman Vica Bayley said.
Australia has never made a nomination and then withdrawn it, but the Coalition wants a decision delayed until after the September federal election.
Opposition forestry spokesman Senator Richard Colbeck said: ``Given the World Heritage Committee consideration of the submission will be so close to the federal election, I will be writing to them to request that consideration of this matter be held over for a further 12 months.''
Tasmanian Liberal leader Will Hodgman has repeatedly vowed to rip the peace deal up if he is elected.
Forest Industries Association of Tasmania chief executive Terry Edwards said it was possible the World Heritage nomination would go ahead without a lasting peace deal for industry, but no other forests would be protected either.
``To us it's about critical issues that are fundamentally important to industry now, as well as the (Tasmanian Forests) Agreement long term,'' Mr Edwards said.
Huon MLC Paul Harriss, who is chairing the Legislative Council inquiry, was unimpressed as talk of a deadline had served to ``demonise the committee for delaying'' the bill.
The committee will continue its hearings on Tuesday.