Greens Party Jeanette Fitzsimons decries rimu logging in Saltwater and Okarito rimu forests in South Westland, New Zealand. "Every ancient tree that falls from here on in is definitely a Labour / Alliance tree.", she says. Forest and Bird, and NFA (Native Forest Action) members to note. Threatened wildlife species in rimu forest would be endangered by felling of habitat trees.

Twisting the information - press release from the Greens.

    6 June 2000.

Press Release from Chris Perley, Forest Consultant

Twisting the information - press release from the Greens


This letter was sent to all MPs and all available news media.

Some may remember the release by Ian James that the sustainable management of Okarito and Saltwater forest involved the felling of - in tree terms - no more than 1,298 trees per year.

Below are Ian James 7 facts from his release of 3 May 2000

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Seven Facts about Sustainable Rimu Logging.

1. Okarito and Saltwater Forests are Reserves for sustainable management purposes gazetted in 1984.

2. Over 80% of Okarito and Saltwater Forests have been already logged either by helicopter or ground methods. They retain conservation value.

3. Native bird abundance has been recorded in an area of Okarito Forest since 1985. In the 18 months since the study area was subject to sustainable logging and predator control, counts of all native birds have increased by 20% over previously recorded years. Counts of korimako and tui have increased by 28%, toutouwai by 50% and kereru by 115% (based on a sample of over 2500 individual 5-minute counts).

4. There are approximately one million rimu trees in the two forests. No more than 1,298 are removed each year.

5. All trees removed are direction-felled to minimise damage and lifted from the forest by helicopter.

6. Rimu seedlings are planted where natural regeneration is wanting.

7. Sustainable management has been operational for seven years and independent audit reports are available on the Timberlands website.

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The release by the Greens below completely twists the truth and reinforces the idea that it is only humans who fell trees, and that any death of a tree represents an incremental death to a forest.

It is this sort of eco-illiterate myth that the Greens - who claim to understand the environment - seem more than willing to perpetuate.

I have worked in Saltwater Ecological Area, and I have personally witnessed a very large Rimu falling down one night close to our camp site. This is a natural ecological function.

I have worked up the Poulter river in Arthur's Pass National Park where a North West Storm in 1981 completely flattened over a thousand hectares of mountain beech. This is nature. You cannot tell the scars unless you know exactly where to look only 19 years later.

Why doesn't the Green Party go the whole hog and talk about the millions of indigenous trees that are dying each year in this country. It would make sensational reading.

Humans who fell trees within natural mortality limits within the same patterns of disturbance and using low impact methods can maintain a healthy forest.

Far more so than an underfunded Department of Conservation, who cannot afford the pest control measures undertaken by Timberlands.

The Greens, Forest & Bird, Native Forest Action and the Labour Party remain scared that the public may get to appreciate this, and continue to misrepresent the truth to that end.

At approximately one million rimu trees in Okarito and Saltwater forest and at a conservative estimate of an average life of 400 years, (assuming some sort of normality of age classes) every year would see nature itself fell 2, 500 trees in these forests each year.

These are the "ancient trees" to which the press release below refers.

If the sustainable management is felling from within mortality, Timberland's 1,300 trees felled each year are well within margins of error.

It is these sorts of half truths and outright misrepresentations that have dominated the news releases of preservationists and the Greens. They will brook no dissent, and listen to none other than the simplistic eco-illiterate views of forests and forest management.

They are quite willing to sacrifice sustainable communities for the urban votes such myths will attract. Science, philosophy and logic don't interest them - far less facts. Their claims of consensus politics ring as hollow as your average 200 year old beech tree.

From an environmental perspective they are a major disappointment.

Their methods suggest that Machiavelli has replaced Rachel Carson and Aldo Leopold as their inspirations, and in so doing they have actively worked against the interests of a sustainable future that accommodates humanity. But perhaps that is not their agenda.

Some truth please - or at the least a journalist who will expose this fraud that calls itself a representative of the environment.

Chris Perley

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Rimu Decision Means 3,500 More Trees Get Chopped
Tuesday, 6 June 2000, 3:05 pm
Press Release: Green Party
Rimu Decision Means Another 3,500 Trees Get The Chop

New figures released to the Greens by the Government predict that another 3,523 native trees will be logged by Timberlands after the Government's decision to continue logging until March 2002.

"These figures show that the logging is far from over," said Jeanette Fitzsimons, Green Party Co-Leader.

The new figures were given by the Minister responsible for Timberlands, Hon Pete Hodgson, in answer to written questions from Jeanette Fitzsimons. The figures predict that between the date of the Cabinet decision on 15 May this year and the logging termination date of 31 March 2002, a total of 2,908 rimu and 615 miro trees will be logged, made up of:

* 400 rimu trees from Orikaka Forest in the Buller Gorge;

* 1006 rimu and 312 miro trees from Saltwater Forest in Westland;

* 1502 rimu and 303 miro trees from North Okarito Forest, also in Westland.

The felled trees will yield a total of 16,736 cubic metres of rimu timber and 1,131 cubic metres of miro.

"Timberlands took 6,840 cubic metres of rimu - about 1200 trees - from the Orikaka Forest in just the first four months of this year.

The Labour / Alliance government have missed their chance to save this forest, considered nationally significant as a habitat for kaka and great spotted kiwi.

"Every ancient tree that falls from here on in is definitely a Labour / Alliance tree."

Ends

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Chris Perley
Chris Perley and Associates
PO Box 7116
Dunedin
NEW ZEALAND 9001

Ph: +64 3 453 4948
Fax: +64 3 453 4945
Mob: +64 25 880 977
E-mail: chris@perleyandassoc.co.nz
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"Think Like a Mountain"       --     Aldo Leopold