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A fully formed 11km 2-lane road has already been bulldozed through from the top end of Judds Creek Road in Judbury north-westwards to join with the Plenty Road. Called the Judds Link Road, this will be used for the transport of logs. In itself this has led to the logging of 25Ha of native forest. 5km of additional logging tracks are to be constructed into the coupes from the Judds Link Road and will utilise sections of the White Timber & Stony Point Trails.

The 3-year plan also includes the option to link into old logging tracks that join Jeffreys Track (a popular 4WD heritage track that links Crabtree and Lachlan and passes through Wellington Park). This track has conveniently just been upgraded (May 2010) by a consortium of organisations including Forestry Tasmania and Norske Skog and was project-managed by the Wellington Park Management Trust. While it is not expected that logs will be taken out via this route, it would certainly facilitate the movement of machinery and workers.

The coupes in this area are earmarked for clearfelling rather than selective logging. This means that every piece of timber that can be salvaged will be removed. Following this, intense burning will take place apparently to mimic wildfires that might be expected every 200 years. Forestry Tasmania follow the policy of replacing native forest with mixed planting and the coupes will be re-seeded or left to regenerate ‘naturally'. No herbicides or poison baits will be used. There is no legal requirement (or intention on Forestry Tasmania's part) to leave a buffer zone between logging operations and either Wellington Park or private property. They will merely endeavour to ensure trees do not fall across boundaries. Narrow buffer zones are left either side of major creeks.

No local residents were notified of this imminent logging threat. Negotiations were undertaken with Judds Creek Road residents in 2008 and despite continual lobbying by some residents, Forestry Tasmania has not altered their plans. A draft ‘Notice of Intent to Conduct Logging Practices' has been seen and obliges Forestry Tasmania only to notify residents within 100m of the logging operation (eg road construction/ logging). FT is obliged to go "public" with its 3-year plan each June. However this does not mean that planning for individual coupes and roads has to be complete nor even that the Plan is more than provisional. Also, there is a narrow definition of ‘public' which seems to include just Councils, a few other statutory bodies & certain established resident groups.

The 3-year plan and coupe divisions are developed using basic survey data from aerial surveys or maps. Each coupe or road has a Forest Practices Plan (FPP) developed for it, closer to the time when the operation is to begin. The FPP should contain the results of detailed ground surveys which consider the presence of endangered species, steepness of the site, whether or not the operation will take place within a water catchment, cultural values and also visibility (Forestry Tasmania would prefer its clearfelling operations not to be visible from major highways or tourism routes - for obvious reasons).

These FPPs are available from Forestry Tasmania at $20 each. The Forest Practices Authority, which oversees Forestry operations in Tasmania, has an FPP map on its website at http://www.fpa.tas.gov.au but this is greatly out of date. As soon as a draft FPP is issued, it can be changed or updated by Forestry Tasmania, and residents or other interested parties need not be notified. Once a certified FPP has been issued, it cannot be legally challenged. An FPP can be certified by the same planning officer that developed it. The FPA will only be involved if the draft FPP is referred to them by the Forestry Tasmania planning officer, or other interested party(ies).


Last Updated ( Aug 19, 2010 at 04:33 PM )