The world heritage listing of over 200,000 hectares of Tasmania’s old-growth forest gives hope that a three-decade battle between environmentalists, lawmakers, and loggers is finally finished. But did you know how Miranda Gibson was involved in saving these trees?
Miranda Gibson protected the surrounding forest by living on a small platform 60 meters above the ground in a 400-year-old Eucalyptus tree. After 449 days, she was forced to escape due to a bushfire, but the Wilderness World Heritage Area in Tasmania was formally expanded by 170,000 hectares a few months later.
The Decision of the World Heritage Centre
The Upper Florentine and the Styx, Huon, Picton, and Counsel River Valleys now have old-growth forest areas added to the heritage list.
After adopting a proposal by the Australian government, the World Historical Committee has expanded the heritage designated border of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Territory by more than 170,000 hectares, giving the area the world’s highest level of environmental protection.
According to Environment Minister Tony Burke, logging will continue in the forest in less problematic regions. (Source: The Guardian)
The Campaign for Expanded Environmental Protection
The government’s submission to the World Heritage Committee resulted from the collaboration between members of the forestry sector and environmentalists, including Miranda Gibson. She famously spent about 457 days in an old-growth forest tree campaign for expanded environmental protection.
It’s good to know I don’t have to go back to the tree unless I want to visit. The hardest part of living in the tree was not knowing how long I would be up there or if the loggers would come and log around me. It was also very isolating.Miranda Gibson
Gibson began living at the top of the 60-meter eucalyptus tree in December 2011 and was forced to leave due to bushfires in March 2013. The projected expanded sites for world heritage listing had received temporary protection.
She decided to campaign from the ground until the committee handed down its official decision. For years, environmentalists have fought to protect more old-growth forests in Tasmania. At the same time, the forestry sector claimed that logging of some portions was necessary for jobs in the state. (Source: The Guardian)
The Results of Miranda Gibson’s Hard Work
The result of decades of people standing up for the forest is finally here. It is a testament to the strength of the community that has been able to achieve this. If it were not for individuals standing up over the past few decades, there would be many parts of the forest that would already be gone.
The Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area is home to numerous tall eucalyptus trees, vast forests, glacial landforms, and alpine and sub-alpine environments. The Styx-Tyenna area has the highest concentration of tall eucalypt forests in the world.
The were several rare and threatened species such as the endangered wedge-tailed eagle and the Tasmanian Devil use the area as a home.
(Source: The Guardian)