World Rainforest Movement

Australia: Certified monoculture tree plantations challenged for aerial spraying and loss of biodiversity

Currently the main plantation companies operating in Australia certified by FSC are: Albany Plantation Forest Company Pty Ltd (23,509 ha), Timbercorp Forestry Pty Ltd. (97,000 ha), Integrated Tree Cropping Limited (166,536 ha), Hancock Victorian Plantations Pty. Limited (246,117 ha).

Among the main impacts concerning certification of the newly planted blue gum (Eucalyptus globulus) plantations in Australia is aerial spraying regimes of pesticides on tree plantations and subsequent pollution of drinking water. The problems related to aerial spraying of Hancock plantations in water catchments that provide thousands of Victorians with drinking water can be tracked at http://www.forest-network.org/Docs/amis_fsc_05-04.htm

Brenda Rosser, from the Tasmanian Clean Water Network, gave notice of the health impacts of uncontrolled use of pesticides in Tasmania: a surge in cancer and neurological cases, increase in the incident rate for non-Hodgkins lymphoma, prostrate cancer, thyroid cancer, and all cancers combined, as well as the highest percentage of people suffering diabetes in Australia, and higher rates of coronary heart disease, obesity, hypertension and high blood cholesterol than other Australian States (see WRM Bulletin Nº 97). Brenda Rosser’s conclusion about the FSC Review is that “If FSC continues to keep ‘sustainability’ as a loose and woolly objective then FSC will become (and I think it may be already) nothing more than a corporate means to enhance the image of the ‘forest’ industry.”

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