Into the Woods

Into the Woods

Anna Krien, Black Inc.

The battle for Tasmania’s forests is a war of attrition. Both sides have dug in and the fighting is characterised by bitterness and violence.

Anna Krien spends time interviewing all the key actors in the dispute: greenies and ferals, the Greens, the average Tasmanian, loggers, and Forestry Tasmania (the government body that administratesTasmania’s forests).

She failed to secure an audience with Gunns, the largest logging company on the island, which hasn’t just secured a monopoly over the forests of our southernmost state but also appear to have a secure grip on the workings of the Tasmanian government.

While her sympathies clearly lie with the greenies, some of Krien’s most moving passages describe the more personal battles faced by those whose profession is “logger”.

Many loggers discuss learning their trade from their fathers and grandfathers who taught them that if they take care of the forest, they will have a trade for life. The current word we would use is sustainable.

The appetite of the modern logging outfit is anything but. Whole communities of loggers have been put out of work by logging machines, undercutting prices, cutting corners and clear felling.

The result is a tangled snarl of inherited loyalties, the struggle to put food on the table, the devastation of clear felling, the drive for super profits and love for a misty little island at the bottom of the world.

It’s also a struggle that all Australians should know about. It’s not just Tasmanian forest they’re fighting over; it’s Australian forest and this book shines a light on the power and nuance of that battle.

Amy Goodhew

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