Australia's Styx Valley protesters stop woodchip export to Japan

Press release - 15 February, 2004
Greenpeace today stopped the export of woodchips from Tasmania's ancient forests to Japanese companies Oji Paper, Nippon Paper and Mitsubishi Paper Mills with a protest action at Triabunna port, in the island of Tasmania, Australia.

Greenpeace activists temporarily halt the loading of woodchips at Triabunna Port, Tasmania. The action escalates the environment group's campaign to stop the destruction of Tasmania's old growth forests and the export of ancient forest woodchips to Japanese Paper companies Mitsubishi Paper Mills, Nippon Paper and Oji Paperat

A team of seven activists of Greenpeace environmentalists stepped up their campaign to protect the ancient forests of Tasmania's Styx Valley by climbing onto the port's loading gantry, preventing woodchips from being loaded. They hung banners saying "Stop global forest destruction" and "Protect Tasmania's ancient forests", in English and Japanese.

"We're here to stop the ongoing destruction of Tasmania's ancient forest by Gunns Ltd (1). For the time being we've halted export of woodchips from Tasmania's ancient forests to Japan," said Rebecca Hubbard of Greenpeace Australia. "The ongoing destruction of Tasmania's ancient forests shows why governments meeting at the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (2) in Malaysia this week must implement a global network of protected areas, and ensure that the earth's biodiversity is protected for future generations."

Japanese activist Sakyo Noda has been living in the world's highest tree-sit, the Global Rescue Station, since November 12 2003, and has witnessed first hand the destructive clearfelling methods used in the Styx.

"We are sending a strong message to the Japanese paper companies that the Tasmanian people's wishes for protection of their ancient forests are being ignored by the government," said Mr Noda. "Oji Paper, Nippon Paper and Mitsubishi Paper Mills can help to protect these magnificent forests by sourcing woodchips from FSC certified forests or sustainably-managed plantations instead of ancient forest," he said.

Tasmania exports more woodchips from native forests than all other Australian states combined. Less than 20 percent of Tasmania's original extent of untouched giant /Eucalyptus regnans/ trees remain, with half under threat from logging.

Greenpeace is highlighting the plight of the world's last remaining ancient forests and the depletion of the oceans in the during to the Summit for life on earth-the UN meeting of the Convention for Biological Diversity -being held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Greenpeace is urging governments to protect life in all its diversity, indigenous people's rights and cultural variety by providing money for protection of life on land and sea. World governments must also ban large-scale industrial activity in all sensitive areas and establish a network of land and marine protected areas with effective law enforcement and management.

Notes: 1 Gunns Ltd is a Tasmanian woodchip company, and is the biggest and one of the most destructive hard-woodchip company in the world. Gunns exports over five million green tonnes of native-forest woodchips each year, mostly to Japan. Gunns is both logging and buying timber from ancient forests in Tasmania, and continues to do so despite the persistent opposition of Australia's environmental groups and 70% of the Tasmanian people. Gunns has refused all calls from civil society in Australia to stop sourcing timber from ancient forests. 2 The United Nations' Convention on Biological Diversity 7th Conference Of Parties (COP7), held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, from 9-20 February 2004.