The Wielangta forest is in south-east Tasmania, Australia. It is notable for its role in a 2006 court case that called into question the effectiveness of Australia's cooperative Commonwealth-State forest management regime known as Regional Forest Agreements.
The Wielangta forest is part of remnant glacial refugia forest and contains blue gum eucalypt forest and pockets of cool temperate rainforest. The forest is a key habitat of rare and threatened species, including the Tasmanian wedge-tailed eagle, swift parrot, Wielangta stag beetle, spotted-tail quoll and eastern barred bandicoot. A rare orchid (Genoplesium nudum) has also been discovered in the forest. The forest forms part of the South-east Tasmania Important Bird Area, identified as such by BirdLife International because of its importance in the conservation of a range of woodland birds.
The forest is under the control of Forestry Tasmania, with logging being allowed. The logging of the forest has been contentious due to the impact on rare and threatened species. Environmentalists called for the Wielangta forest area to be incorporated into a broader reserve offering full protection to environmental and biodiversity values. Some parts of Wielangta were granted formal protection in the recent Supplementary Regional Forest Agreement.(Tasmania).
In 2006 Australian Greens Senator, Bob Brown, took the issue of Forestry Tasmania's failure to protect endangered species in Wielangta to the Federal Court. His case was initially successful, establishing that forestry activities were impacting on those species, but an appeal by Forestry Tasmania on the interpretation of a part of the agreement was successful. In February 2007, the Tasmanian State Government and the Australian Federal Government responded by changing the text of the State's Regional Forest Agreement and making further legal appeals pointless. The new clauses make it clear that the word 'protection' relates only to whether the two respective governments deem a species to be protected rather than the meaning of the word being based on actual evidence of such.
In June 2009 Brown received a bill from Forestry Tasmania for the costs of the case and of the appeals. After a public appeal for assistance he declared he would be able to make the payment by the deadline and not risk losing his seat in the Australian Senate.
- Philippa Duncan, 'Green joy at legal victory', Hobart Mercury, 20 December 2006.
- "IBA: South-east Tasmania". Birdata. Birds Australia. Retrieved 2011-10-13.
- Logging of contentious coupes in Wielangta in South East Tasmania begins, Media Release, The Wilderness Society, May 26, 2005
- http://www.themercury.com.au/article/2009/06/09/78191_todays-news.html Illawarra Mercury article: Bob Brown Senate Threat
- http://www.examiner.com.au/news/local/news/politics/i-took-advice-brown/1536354.aspx Examiner article: I took advice on court costs, says Bob Brown
- Forestry Tasmania's bill will be paid on time, says Brown
- Wielangta Forest Drive Forestry Tasmania
- Bob Brown vs Forestry Tasmania trial
- Federal court case #1: Brown v Forestry Tasmania – Federal Court of Australia judgment by Marshall J – 19 December 2006
- Full bench of Federal court – appeal (case #2): Forestry Tasmania v Brown (2007) FCAFC 186 – 30 November 2007