The Socialist Unity Network

WWF Threatens Australian Old-Growth Forests, Inc.

WWF Australia has released a policy document advocating the logging of
vast areas of old-growth forest in Tasmania, Australia.  The document,
entitled "A Blueprint for the Forest Industry and Vegetation Management in
Tasmania", has rightly outraged local conservation organizations working
for the past 25 years to stop logging in Tasmania's old-growth forests. 

A broad global consensus has emerged within the grassroots forest
conservation community that industrial logging of old-growth, and other
endangered forests, is no longer acceptable. 

As Dr. Glen Barry of explains, "ancient forests are required
to maintain local as well as global ecological sustainability.  Industrial
development of Tasmanian and other endangered forests irrevocably
diminishes them, whether management is certified or not.  To protect the
Earth and all her life, the world's remaining old-growth must be protected
from commercial scale development."

WWF's support for industrial logging against the wishes of heavily
invested local conservationists is the most recent instance of large
environmental organizations obstructing grassroots efforts to end
industrial logging of ancient old-growth and other endangered forests.
All too frequently corporate environmental organizations benefit
financially from their endorsement of ancient forest logging as being
supposedly environmentally friendly.
The Australia Institute recently reported that WWF Australia has received
vast sums of money from the Australian Federal Government ($13.5 million
between 1999 and 2003).  It has also supported the majority of the Federal
Government's environment policies - including commercial logging of
Tasmania's ancient forests - while its name and statements have been used
by the Government to promote its environmental credentials. 

If adopted by Australia's government, WWF's proposals would undermine the
twenty five years' campaign to protect Tasmania's old growth forests and
biodiversity; continue undesirable and unpopular practices such as
clearfelling of native forests; destroy wilderness areas of World Heritage
value in western Tasmania; and exacerbate current divisions in Tasmania
regarding the future of forests, the development of forest-consuming
industrial complexes, and the proposed expansion of plantations.

Twenty-five years of grassroots campaigning have won great victories in
the campaign to save what remains of Australia's precious old-growth
forests.  Public opinion is behind the movement and political parties are
on the verge of making the leap to true conservation policies - based upon
strict protection and an end to old-growth logging - for Tasmania’s
precious ancient forests. 

WWF's recently published 'blueprint' threatens to stall this progress. supports Tasmanian conservation organizations in their demand
that WWF remove the document from circulation and the debate, or else
withdraw from the Tasmanian forest campaign altogether. 

As Dr. Barry concludes, "greenwashing of old-growth forest destruction by
corporate environmental apologists will not stand.  The mega-environmental
conglomerates will heed this message of lose their members."

A copy of WWF Australia's report is available on their website at

A copy of the Australia Insitute’s report is available at: (see 'What's New')

A copy of Tasmanian NGO's letter to WWF can be found at:


August 2004


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