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Why are native forests so important?

Native forests are globally significant for the protection of humans and our planet's environment.

As well as being beautiful, forests are vital for the health of humans and of our planet. They provide food and shelter for a plethora of life on earth, from fungi and insects to birds and quolls. More than half the world's land-based plants and animals, and three-quarters of all birds, live in and around forests. Intact native forests influence rainfall patterns, water and soil quality and assist in flood prevention. Intact forests have been proven to reduce the severity of bushfire damage. An analysis of the fire footprint of the 2019-2020 Black Summer bushfires in Australia has found logging forests elevated the risk of high-severity fires.

The risks from deforestation are huge. Trees absorb and store carbon dioxide. If forests are cleared, or even disturbed, they release carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Forest loss contributes to around 10% of global warming. We cannot fight the climate crisis if we don’t stop logging forests. We need to protect native forests now more than ever.

There are lots of things we can do to protect the world’s forests. Choose recycled paper products and tree-free toilet paper. Your diet has the biggest impact on global forest protection. Think about going vegan, vegetarian or at least moderating the amount of meat you eat, perhaps considering it a weekend treat only. There are plenty of exciting meat free alternatives on offer these days. Avoid palm oil in the products you buy or choose sustainably sourced palm oil for the orangutangs in Indonesia.

You can also help by taking part in tree planting and forest restoration. Even better - get involved in non-violent direct action to help end native forest logging in your local area!

While Western Australia and Victoria have set a date to end native forest logging for good, Tasmania and Sus Timber Tas are doing what they do best - laggin behind the rest of Australia by about 30 years by deciding to increase our native forest logging at the expense of human and wildlife health. A wide range of endangered species are at risk because of the stupidity of the Tasmanian government and the forest industry. Species such as swift parrots, masked owls and wedge-tailed eagles to name a few, are directly threatened by native forest logging. These species are dependent on the branches and hollows of mature trees for nesting, yet Tasmania's forest industry continues to log native forest indiscriminately, reducing the habitat available every breeding season. Why isn't the forest industry being punished for such environmentally damaging behaviour?

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Cheryl Almond
Cheryl Almond

You are such a strong writer Colette, your words are so true and powerful. I'm trying to orchestrate an email to all those papers you've listed and my words seem trivial. XO Cheryl

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