Upper Florentine Valley
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Upper Florentine protest camp near Timbs Track.
|- elevation||450 m (1,476 ft)|
|Area||60 km2 (23 sq mi)|
The Upper Florentine Valley, in the south of Tasmania, Australia, is an area recognised for its landscape and old growth forests. It is situated along the Gordon River Road near Maydena in the southwest of the island, roughly three hours drive from Hobart and comprises around 60 square kilometres (23 sq mi) of temperate rainforest. The Upper Florentine forms part of the Florentine catchment upstream (south) from Churchill Creek and lies just outside the World Heritage Area. Geographically it is an area of generally low relief valleys and flats. The area is a known habitat for threatened species of flora and fauna, including sallow wattle, myrtle elbow orchid, grey goshawk, and spotted-tail quoll.
In 2009, the Upper Florentine received attention in the media for a series of arrests made by Tasmanian Police of protesters taking part in various pro-conservationist rallies.
The valley is managed by Forestry Tasmania on behalf of the Tasmanian Government and features intermittently in the ongoing political debate on deforestation and the logging of old-growth forests of Australia. While Forestry Tasmania asserts that only ten percent of the Upper Florentine catchment is available for sustainable timber production, environmental groups argue that protected areas consist of shrubs and trees that are of little use to the timber industry, whereas old growth and high conservation value forests have been specifically targeted for timber harvest.
Reaction to logging operations
Ongoing logging operations in this area of unique beauty and biodiversity have prompted pro-conservationist groups such as the Derwent Forest Alliance and The Wilderness Society (Australia) to set up a permanent blockade in the area known as Camp Florentine as early as 2006.
In 2011, community activism and environmental civil disobedience were continuing in the Upper Florentine with over 80 arrests being carried out in the area in 2010. Protesters commonly risk themselves by using a combination of blockading structures attached to tree sits to stand in the way of logging operations and prevent forest harvester equipment from moving into the valley. The conservationist camp is manned by environmental campaigners from Still Wild Still Threatened and concerned people from all walks of life.
- Environmental Tasmania http://www.et.org.au/system/files/userfiles/Upper%20Florentine%20Special%20Values%20Dec2006.pdf
- "More arrests in the Upper Florentine". ABC News. Australia. 11 May 2009.
- Upper Florentine Valley, Forestry Tasmania, 2009. http://www.forestrytas.com.au/topics/2009/01/upper-florentine-valley
- ABC Radio http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2007/s1894832.htm
- Friends of the Earth Australia http://www.foe.org.au/resources/chain-reaction/editions/105/tasmanias-old-growth-forests
- Still Wild Still Threatened http://www.stillwildstillthreatened.org/camp-florentine/about-camp
- YouTube - Triple J TV https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8SsQrXhNwdI