Tasmanian timber company Gunns Limited announced that it will no longer engage in native forest logging. Instead, the company, which is the world's largest woodchip exporter, will turn to plantation-based products. Gunns Limited has been under protest for years now, losing legal battles against environmental activists and facing demands from Japanese customers for more sustainable products.
Mr. L'Estrange, the new chief executive of Gunns, said "the vast support of the Australian population is with the environmental non-government organisations. Native forest is not part of our future. - He continued - we see that the conflict largely has to end. Our employees and the communities we operate in have been collateral damage to this process."
The anti-logging group Chip Busters says environmental activists will now shift their focus to other operations, starting with South East Fibre Exports at Eden. The group's spokesman, Noel Plumb, says local MPs should assist the transition to plantations. "It's critical that our local MPs step up here, and demand a share of the $20m currently available for industry restructuring - he said - Native forest logging and woodchipping is not sustainable".
There are rumors saying that Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (APRIL) would like to take over Guns's plantations, which has been valued at close to $1 billion. But also Asia Pulp & Paper (APP), Nine Dragons, Hunan and Chenming Paper Tiger are interested.