We investigate how demand for cheap paper is fuelling the destruction of Tasmania’s lush primary forests. For thousands of years, the primary forests of Tasmania remained untouched, providing a home for a number of endangered species. Then, in 1970, the paper industry moved in. Around 8 million cubic metres of wood are cut down in Tasmania each year, lining the coffers of the timber companies but emptying the forest of trees.
Ecologists have denounced this as a literal ‘chain saw massacre’, and have mounted a spirited resistance, hiding out in tree houses and blocking heavy machinery from entering the forests. They remain dedicated to their cause, even when faced with violence and abuse. But these environmentalists have moved way beyond these artisanal methods. They have also launched an international internet campaign against Gunns, the biggest player in the wood industry, urging investors not to fund the company’s new pulp mill project.
As both protestors and industrialists resort to more and more extreme methods, who will be the winners in this increasingly bitter battle?
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