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Tasmania Will Remain Pristine

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By Jethro Wegener

The Tasmanian and Australian governments have abandoned their plans to allow logging in the UNESCO World Heritage listed Great Tasmanian Forest. Covering an area of over a million hectares, it is one of the last stretches of temperate rainforest in the world. Evidence found in limestone caves there suggests that humans have inhabited the area for more than 20,000 years. And obviously, commercial logging would have destroyed what is now one of the last remaining pieces of wilderness of its kind in the world.

Cool temperate rainforests like those found in Tasmania are very different from rainforests like the Amazon; for starters, there are no palms, root buttresses or abundance of climbing plants such as lianas, and the climate is a lot cooler so the forest floor is covered in a luxurious carpet of moss and lichen. The area is dominated by trees such as myrtle, leatherwood, and celery-top pine, as well as several ancient species of Australian flora. Many of these species had ancestors in Antarctica, Africa and South America back when these continents were joined together. In essence, the rainforest is a living botanical record dating back over 60 million years.

Not only is the flora unique, but so is much of the fauna, such as the Tasmanian Devil, which is the largest surviving carnivorous marsupial on the planet and found only in Tasmania. If logging had been allowed, these animals would have had their natural habitat decimated.

Beyond the huge environmental impact it has, the preservation of the site also bodes well for eco-tourism to the area. Since Tasmania is sparsely populated with only around 500,000 residents, it is possible to visit these forests and enjoy relative solitude. Visitors can go on a bushwalk to take in the unique scenery, camp overnight at one of the many campsites in the parks or experience white-water rafting at Franklin River, arguably one of the best sites for it in Australia. Mountain bikers will also find over 50km worth of track at various places around Hobart, including around Glenorchy MTB Park or along the North South Track.

The Great Tasmanian Forest encompasses several different national parks including Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park and the Cradle Mountain National Park. To get there you can fly to Hobart, the nearest city to the park, from Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane. Once there, you can take a coach or self-drive.

If you’re keen to visit Tasmania, check out our video:

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