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Forestry Tasmania – Large Tree

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Wednesday, 9 December 2020

Tags: Forests, Native Forest Logging

Ms O'CONNOR - This is a story Mr Whiteley would be quite interested in. Minister, are you aware of a record-breaking tree that has been found on PTPZ land at Maydena? It is a regnans and the widest tree ever measured in lutruwita/Tasmania, with a circumference of 21.7 metres and a 6.9 metre diameter. The giant tree is only 50 cm smaller in circumference than the widest tree in Australia, which is the red tingle tree in Western Australia. We have been out into logging operations follow-ups and have seen very large trees being logged. Is this tree safe? What is your Government's and STT's approach to giant trees generally? The scientists also found another nine giant trees during the survey. Four of these were within logging coupes and the other five within 20 metres of the coupe's boundaries.

Mr BARNETT - I will pass to the CEO in respect of the specifics you refer to. STT defines giant trees as all trees at least 85 metres in height or 280 cubic metres in volume. When giant trees occur in public production forest, STT proactively identifies and reserves them ensuring they are protected and not harvested.

Ms O'Connor - You need to get into the coupes more, minister.

Mr BARNETT - I am trying to answer the question. I will pass to the CEO to add to that.

Mr WHITELEY - I think, like you, we celebrate giant trees. We've worked with giant tree searchers for a number of years and we really value members of the public, including enthusiasts, in identifying these trees. We've had a giant trees policy and register for a number of years. To give credit where it is due there have been a number of passionate individuals who have discovered those trees. If any trees are discovered that meet those criteria we would wish to protect them. They are things we should celebrate.

Ms O'CONNOR - Do you think the criteria need revisiting given the scale of some of the trees that have been felled that may be just centimetres under the marker?

Mr WHITELEY - I will get Suzette to answer that. We're having a look at that and it's part of responding to some of the feedback through FSC, as you've noted before. We want to be adaptive in our management. That is the current standard. Some of these other trees that clearly have a range of values probably should be protected and we are looking at that. Maybe Suzette can add to some of the things we're doing towards that.

Ms WEEDING - As the minister and CEO outlined, we have our giant tree policy which has a fairly specific description of what a giant tree is. Additional to that we are looking at options for large tree retention. This is part of the trial process we are running through at the moment around looking at and identifying additional large trees in our harvest areas and looking at options for retaining those trees.

CHAIR - Thank you, everyone. The time for scrutiny of this GBE has finished.