South Sister St. Marys, Tasmania

South Sister 'Tree Spiking'

letter to mercury editor

30 November, 2005

Dear Editor,

It is with absolute shock that I learned of supposed spiking of trees on South Sister by a group calling themselves 'Friends of the Forest.' The campaign lead by Save our Sisters has always been based on providing expert and scientific evidence rather than violent action which may result in harm to those who may work on this coupe. SOS certainly does not condone this violent act and we condemn whoever has made this threat as bringing our efforts into disrepute.

However there is at least one paradox in this affair. Despite SOS highlighting areas of subsidence to FT/FPA over Cardiff Mine (some of which are in the harvestable area), no guarantee has yet been made that these areas will be excluded from logging. Surely with the presence of heavy machinery in the vicinity, further subsidence is a strong possibility which may result in physical harm to contractors.

I find it rather astonishing when Kim Creak is quoted as saying 'It's extraordinary that people even think of doing this sort of extreme action.' (spiking trees). I think it rather exceptional that a 'thorough planning process' which FT and FPA experts consistently claim they have performed on Coupe NI 114A, would ignore an area of subsidence which is so obvious to those who may visit the Cardiff Mine area. Surely this could be considered as 'extreme action' and particularly negligent.

Mr Creak also said that 'Plans have been fully approved by the relevant authorities for this operation'. With areas of subsidence included in the section to be harvested, landslides not identified on the coupe (until SOS experts repeatedly drew attention to them) and at least 24 springs, creeks and wet areas not identified during the planning process, this would hardly constitute a thorough assessment. One has to ask whether those 'relevant authorities' approving such plans are sufficiently qualified and experienced to do so.

Forestry Tasmania, Forest Practices Authority and politicians (including Minister Green) continue to ignore advice from internationally reputed landslide experts that there remains a real risk of landslides if harvesting goes ahead on this coupe. One SOS expert recently stated that a report submitted by FT to RMPAT in late September 2005 '......contains information that is both false and misleading in the extreme'. We are waiting to hear whether this will be adequately addressed by an independent and suitably qualified and experienced person(s).

Whether the trees on South Sister have been spiked or not, the evidence remains - the risk of a landslide on this coupe following harvesting is a real possibility which should be sufficient reason not to log this coupe at all.

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