Since colonisation, the island’s forests have been under all kinds of threats. Expanding settlements and urbanisation, Hydro electricity developments, mining, and native-forest logging all took with them forest ecosystems. 200 years later many of those threats remain.
Each year the state’s native forest logging industry is charged with making 137 000 cubic meters of native forest timber available to contractors for harvesting. This comes from the public forest estate which still contains old-growth forest and mature forest ecosystems which support critically important habitat for a number of threatened species. Every autumn, what remains of these cleared forests are set alight in large regeneration burns which release carbon and smoke pollution into the atmosphere.
In other areas the deforestation of forest on private lands continues to for agricultural expansion. This clearing of land is posing risks to threatened species like the Tasmanian Devil and King Island Scrubtit.
As climate change continues to worsen, the island’s forest ecosystems are under threat. We are already seeing challenges for alpine forest communities that have evolved for cooler climates and the risk of catastrophic bushfires increases every year. In the face of these challenges, we will need to work collaboratively to protect vulnerable ecosystems and Tasmania's unique assets, mitigate the effects of bushfire and be prepared with the best possible fire fighting equipment, and advocate for real change in forestry practices and climate change policy.