Decision : CONF 201 VI.20
Tasmanian Wilderness (Australia)
The Bureau recalled that this mixed site was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1982 and that the Bureau at its eighteenth session in July 1994, discussed reports received on logging operations in areas adjacent to the World Heritage area. IUCN gave an update on the situation and recalled two concerns which were raised: that there is forested land outside the site which may have World Heritage values, and furthermore that adverse impact on the existing World Heritage site could result from logging and reading activities adjacent to the site. IUCN noted that both the 1990 and 1994 General Assemblies of IUCN had urgedAustralia to evaluate the World Heritage values of these areas and that recent concerns about the impacts of forestry operations had been expressed by the Australian and New Zealand Committees for IUCN and the Wilderness Society (Tasmania).
The Director-General of IUCN wrote to the Australian Government in March 1995 seeking advice on this issue. A detailed reply was received from Senator Faulkner, Australian Minister for the Environment, dated 28 June 1995, stating the commitment of the Australian and Tasmanian Governments to protecting World Heritage values and to undertake a comprehensive assessment of Tasmanian forests.
The Bureau noted concerns which have been expressed about logging and reading activities in forest areas which may impinge on World Heritage values in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage area, and resolved to thank the State Party for the encouraging response of the Australian Minister for the Environment. In particular the Bureau noted: (1) the commitment of both the Australian and Tasmanian Governments to negotiate a Regional Forest Agreement which would involve a comprehensive assessment of a wide range of values, including World Heritage values, for forested areas in Tasmania; (2) that, in the meantime, the two governments have agreed to avoid activities that may significantly affect those areas of the old-growth forest or wilderness that are likely to have high conservation value; (3) that pending completion of a Regional Forest Assessment, the two governments have agreed to jointly undertake an assessment of those forest areas where commercial logging will be deferred, to allow among other things, an assessment of World Heritage values. The Bureau asked to be kept informed of developments which should maintain the integrity of the existing site and may lead to the identification by the State Party of further World Heritage values, including possible additions to the boundaries of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage site.
ICOMOS stressed that as this was a mixed site all additional information concerning this site should be referred to ICOMOS as well as to IUCN.