Sustainable Timber Tasmania will not bring forward the logging of coupes in the North-East to compensate for a Federal Court undertaking, but fears remain they have accelerated a three-year production plan.
STT entered into the undertaking voluntarily after the Bob Brown Foundation submitted an injunction application which would have prevented logging in 19 coupes in the state's south.
The Bob Brown Foundation is testing the legality of forestry operations in Tasmania under federal laws. The challenge centres around protections for endangered species.
In other news:
The undertaking entered into by STT will see no forestry activity take place in the 19 southern coupes which shelter Swift Parrots.
A STT spokesperson said the company would not be increasing logging activity in the North-East as a result of the undertaking.
But Blue Derby Wild, an organisation working to protect native forests in the North-East, still holds concerns that logging coupes which were not scheduled for logging until 2021/2022 are being logged this year.
In related news:
Coordinator Louise Morris said they have notice increased logging activity in the area since the end of the Tasmanian Forestry Agreement in April.
"Since the roll over of those forests that were once called future potential production from April 20, we have seen an exponential increase in the rate of logging of native forests," she said.
"That extends from the Derby area in that mountain bike Blue Tier catchment, Weldborough, the Blue Tier and all the way down to the forests of St Helens."
Ms Morris and her group have been performing citizen science surveys in the area as part of a campaign to have it listed as a national park.
She said they have seen coupes which weren't scheduled to be logged this year being moved into immediate production.
"A prime example of that is a forest we have been focusing our citizen science surveys on which is in the Mutual Valley," Ms Morris said.
"That [coupe] was supposed to not be started until late next year. It got brought on very suddenly about two months ago ... this coupe got done incredibly quickly.
"There was just gates erected over a weekend, which stopped a lot of our survey work, and this has been repeated on the North slopes of the Blue Tier."
Sustainable Timber Tasmania did not explicitly respond to a question about whether they had begun logging coupes ahead of schedule, but pointed to its three year plan.
Primary Industries Minister Guy Barnett said wherever STT logging occurred it was done so sustainably.
However, an audit of the company against Forest Stewardship guidelines earlier this year found major shortcomings. It found the company had ignore the advice of swift parrot experts, harvested too close to swift parrot nesting sites, and improperly harvested old growth forests under Forest Stewardship guidelines, among other things.
The audit did also note that STT staff had a responsible ethos of management and stewardship of things found on the land.
In a statement at the time of the audit's release, STT said they were committed to not harvesting production forests where swift parrots were free from the threat of sugar gliders and stated that the swift parrot agreement - PAMA - responded to the audit report.
What do you think? Send us a letter to the editor: