Forestry Tasmania’s FSC application hits obstacles

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Forest Management audit report, produced by auditing company SCS Global Services, was released by Forestry Tasmania on 1 March 2016. The state government responded by acknowledging that 90% of the auditor’s forest management standards were met, missing the point that there were 12 major non-conformities and just one prevents certification being granted.

TCT have received advice that it will take up to 12 months for FT to adapt its management practices to respond to the non-conformities. FT has not communicated with us about how they will address the audit report and whether they will consult us or other Environmental Non-Governmental Organisations. The auditors gave advice in their report that stakeholder consultation should be considered in responding to non-conformities.

The process for FT to respond to the FSC auditors report is not at all clear and we are seeking clarification from FSC Australia and FT.

If FT responds properly to the audit report, it will reduce, by an unknown amount, the area of forest available for production and therefore affect FT’s capacity to maintain wood supply to industry. Will the state government be able to stomach a change to legislation that reduces these legislated wood volumes?

The non-conformities relate to many of the concerns raised by the TCT, Bob Brown Foundation and Markets for Change in our collective submission and presentation to the auditing company SCS Global Services. Most relate to threatened species and old-growth forest protection.

-          FT’s pre-harvest surveys for threatened fauna are not adequate and must be improved.

-          FT’s current method for assessing landscape-level impacts of forestry operations, the landscape context planning system, is not adequate and FT must modify of replace its current approach.

-          FT does not have a systematic method, at the coupe level, for identifying nesting habitat for swift parrot and masked owls and must develop one. 

-          Conservation zones and other protection measures employed for maximising protection of threatened species and their habitats, particularly swift parrot, are inadequate and must be improved.

-          FT must reduce the rate at and extent to which it is harvesting old-growth and mature forest.

-          FT must modify and enhance coupe-level environmental planning, assessment and monitoring procedures so that threatened species (particularly wide-ranging landscape species) and other high conservation values are consistently identified and appropriately protected.

-          Field workers appropriately trained in the procedures should be employed to identify and protect sites of special significance to Indigenous peoples.