Tasmania – Forests Will be Saved

Over half of Tasmania is forest and a substantial part thereof is virgin, untouched forest. Until now, these valuable forests were gradually converted into Japanese newspapers but now things have changed. Environmental activists have persuaded Japanese and other buyers to insist on FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified wood, making timber originating from virgin forest virtually worthless. The logging industry has since admitted its defeat, switched to plantation timber and promised to leave virgin forests – after a contested transitional period – to nature and to the growing ecological tourism.

ON-green-policy! Tasmania’s jungle may be far away but this news is still relevant as it strengthens the worldwide trend towards certified FSC wood. It is noteworthy that activities of activists had such a major impact, but this is not to say that politicians should stay on the sideline. Both realms should work together towards the aim of completely switching to certified wood. The part of politicians is to be attentive about new societal and economic developments and provide appropriate regulations. In this case, they should favour the use of FSC wood, first by making it mandatory for public procurement and giving incentives for private customers to become more sustainable. Eventually though, politics will clearly need to ban non FSC-wood in order to complete the change. Such a measure would be easy to defend as FSC-wood is the only way to ensure that our wood and paper consumption does not ruin pristine forest for a modest price increase. From that perspective, Tasmania was only the first step of what should become a global development  kick started by activists and to be finalised by politicians. A small step towards the protection of our natural environment, one of many ahead.

Source: Economist

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