Protecting the Tarkine
In some of the recent blogs I have talked about places in the United States, protected and not, that have been, are being, and will be destroyed. Usually, it is for oil, but there are many reasons big companies are destroying beautiful natural places for profit. One of the biggest ongoing battles between environmentalists and money-blinded companies that is not in the US is in takayna or the Tarkine in Tasmania, Australia. The Tarkine is one of Australia’s most important Aboriginal regions and contains a diverse array of landscapes from giant forests to huge sand-dunes, sweeping beaches, rugged mountains, and pristine river systems. This untouched wilderness is home to the largest cool temperate rainforest in the country and a beautiful coastline. The 100-700 million-year-old forest and the nearby coastline are also home to 60 rare, threatened, and endangered species including the Giant Freshwater Lobster, which is the world’s largest freshwater crustacean, the Tasmanian Wedge-Tailed Eagle, which is Australia’s largest Eagle, and the famous Tasmanian Devil. The logging and mining industries are destroying this natural wonder as we speak.
This region is so important to the ecosystem of the island of Tasmania because it is so old. There is so much life there that all of the areas around it prosper as well. The forests also suck massive amounts of CO2 out of the atmosphere every year. Sadly, big mining and timber companies only see the potential for profit, not the natural wonder. Patches of this forest are being gated off so the public cannot see what is happening. Then they are cutting down patches of trees and ruining the area’s systems of life. They are taking the wood from these trees and chipping it to a pulp to make things like cardboard and toilet paper. When chipped, these trees are not different than any other tree, even though they are so important when they are alive. Despite the timber industry’s claims, this practice is not sustainable. When the trees are cut down, the local habitats go off-kilter and most of the animals die. There are other forests in Tasmania that would allow sustainable practices, but the timber industry is dead set on the Tarkine because the trees are older, so they are bigger. Lots of wood in each tree and lots of trees in the Tarkine lead to the dollar signs in the corporation’s eyes.
The mining industry also has a hold on the Tarkine. They are destroying sections of the forest and using open cut mining practices, one of the worst mining methods. Open-cut mining changes the soil and bedrock, which ultimately contributes to changes in surface hydrology and groundwater levels. It destroys the area mined as well as the area around the pit they dig. This forest must be protected, as it is one of the world’s oldest forests. Please, tell your friends about this issue, sign petitions, do more research, and stay up to date about this issue.
Aerial photo of logging in the Tarkine
Photo credit: Patagonia
Map of the Tarkine
Photo Credit: ABC