Bushfire Response: International Experts Open Letter Call for Native Logging Ban

An open letter signed by Australian and international forestry and climate experts, published by the Australia Institute today, has called for the immediate nationwide cessation of all native forest logging in response to the climate, fire, drought and biodiversity loss crises currently facing Australia.

The letter, signed by scientists from countries including Australia, USA, Canada, New Zealand and more, warn that native forest logging increases fire hazards and calls for the redeployment of forestry workers into fire services and national park management roles.

Signatories to the letter include Professor Tim Flannery from the University of Melbourne, Distinguished Professor James Kirkpatrick and Dr Jennifer Sanger from the University of Tasmania, Mr Andrew Bluhm from the Oregon State University and Associate Professor Janette Bulkan from the University of British Columbia.

“In the current climate crisis, our trees are worth more standing,” says Dr Jennifer Sanger, researcher and forest ecologist at the University of Tasmania.

“This fire season has decimated a lot of forests and what is left must be prioritised for animal habitat and carbon stores. To cut down even more native forest does not make any sense.”

Leanne Minshull, Director of The Australia Institute Tasmania, says that continuing to log native forests in the wake of Australia’s current bushfire crisis would be irresponsible.

“Native forest logging is heavily subsidised by the Australia taxpayer. Rather than spending public money to benefit private businesses and worsen fire conditions, we should be ceasing commercial native forest logging altogether and working towards fire mitigation,” Minshull says.

“Logging essentially turns forests into kindling and dries out the understorey, while Australian old-growth native forests, especially our wet eucalypt forests, burn less intensely and should be protected.

“The Government should recognise the importance of retaining Australia’s native forests in response to the bushfire crisis, and immediately cease all native forest logging throughout Australia.”

The open letter signed by Australian and international scientists can be read in full here. Supplementary briefing note can be downloaded here.

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