BIG tracts of Tasmanian native forest now have legal protection from logging in the tortuous process aimed at ending the state's generation-long forests dispute.
Federal and state governments yesterday said the conservation agreement, covering about 428,000 hectares of public forests was a landmark step towards final settlement.
Green groups strongly criticised the deal, which still leaves about 2000 hectares of forests, hotly disputed for their high conservation values, open to chainsaws in coming weeks.
The agreement follows more than 18 months of talks between green and industry groups, which gained traction after the collapse of native timber markets. It comes with the two governments under pressure to honour a protection promise made months ago.
Under the conservation agreement, the state agency Forestry Tasmania is restrained from logging swaths of disputed public forest, while the final deal is settled. It allows deeper ...