North East Forests
The forests of north east Tasmania include carbon-rich tall wet eucalypt forests, pure rainforest and lowland dry forests. Interspersed within these forests are heathlands, alpine meadows and moraine vegetation.. It is a complex landscape that supports rich and diverse plant and animal communities. There are species here which are found only in the north east of Tasmania, including the Simpson’s stage beetle, north east forest snail and genetically distinct rainforest and eucalypt species that evolved from the glacial refugia of the Blue Tier.
These forests are worth more standing as carbon stores, watersheds, biodiversity arks, tourist draw-cards and places we can all go to enjoy ourselves and reconnect with nature.
Forests are the earth's carbon banks. Massive trees such as Eucalyptus regnan are standing carbon stores, constantly drawing down carbon from the atmosphere. When ancient, large trees die and fall, that carbon is returned to the soil as humus and nutrients. Bioturbation from native digging animals increases soil carbon and a forest's carbon storing capacity.
An analysis in Tasmania revealed that wet eucalyptus regnan forests can store up to 1,200 tonnes of carbon per hectare but the same forest ecosystem logged on an 80 year rotation contains an average of 400 tonnes of carbon per hectare10 – a fact the logging industry and its political allies try to conceal. For example, Tasmania Liberal MP Felix Ellis claimed in June 2022 that “old-growth forests are actually net carbon emitters” and “the best carbon sequestration comes from a young growing forest”. The RMIT ABC Fact Check labelled Ellis’s claims as “incorrect”.
Protecting and restoring native forests is critical for sequestering and storing carbon and reducing our emissions.
The eastern slope of the Blue Tier is the cradle of the forests of northern Tasmania. It's where Gondwana forests retreated during the last ice age, finding refuge from the ice sheets and repopulating the landscape as the glaciers retreated.
This glacial refugia history has resulted in tree species such as myrtle beech (nothofagus cunninghammii), Eucalyptus regnan and Eucalyptus viminalis trees of north east Tasmania being genetically distinct from those in the west of Tasmania and Australia.
The mountain bike trails of the Blue Derby, Blue Tier and St Helens region are a global drawcard for their natural beauty, settings and exceptional riding experience. Largely situated in State forest areas that are subject to ongoing threats by logging, with some already having been subject to logging impacts in the Blue Derby network.
The Gondwana forests are so-named because the fossil records show that when Gondwana existed 65 million years ago, it contained rainforests similar to those living today.
The ancient forests of Tasmania are remnants of an ancient past when such rainforest covered Australia after it separated from the supercontinent. These forests are vestiges of an even more ancient era that links Tasmania to countries such as New Zealand, and South America where Gondwanic remnant forests continue to survive.
In a deal made between the timber industry, unions and select Environmental Non Government Organisations (ENGO) in 2012, approximately 350,000ha of forest were temporarily protected.
As of April 2020, these forests will again be available for logging. This includes the Blue Tier Gondwanic glacial refugia forests and the native forests around the Blue Derby and St Helens MTB network.
We need your help to protect these forests permanently.
The native forests around the iconic Blue Derby and St Helens MTB trail networks are predominantly classified as State Forests. Forests the Government Business Enterprise, Sustainable Timbers Tasmania overseas for logging.
Unfortunately, when the mountain bike trails were being planned and designed, there was no change made to the land tenure to protect these forests. Failing to ensure the forested valleys and ridges the trails wind through would be protected from logging.
These forests are worth more standing as tourism destinations, carbon banks, watersheds and biodiversity arks.
See maps here show the threatened forests and MTB trails that are part of making north east Tasmania one of the best MTB tourism draw cards in the world.
Australia’s native forests are in imminent danger of being logged and burnt en masse to generate electricity. Far from being a “clean” and “renewable” source of energy as its proponents claim, forest-based bioenergy in fact:
-Emits more carbon dioxide than burning coal.
-Reduces the capacity of our forests to sequester, store and safely keep carbon out of the atmosphere for hundreds of years.
-Destroys habitat for already endangered plants and animals
-Puts our forests and communities at greater risk of bushfires.
The federal government must exclude native forest bioenergy as a renewable energy source under the Renewable Energy Act, and energy retailers must rule out sourcing energy that has been generated from the burning of native forests.