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Analysis and Comment (21)

The Ranger uranium mine, inside the World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory. The Ranger uranium mine, inside the World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory. AAP Image/Tara Ravens

Queensland lifts its uranium ban, but is the price worth the cost?

As of today, Queensland has lifted a 32-year ban on uranium mining. That decision was taken within months of the 2012 state election, despite Premier Campbell Newman’s pre-election promise not to restart…
Okavango, Botswana’s unique mid-desert wetlands. Okavango, Botswana’s unique mid-desert wetlands. Gernot Hensel/EPA

Botswana’s Okavango Delta: a unique desert that’s wet, and a worthy UNESCO addition

The list of the natural world’s most extraordinary places, UNESCO’s World Heritage List, gained its 1,000th entry this week with the addition of the Okavango Delta in northern Botswana. To be chosen for…
Parts of Tasmania’s World Heritage area will not be delisted – but the forests will still need management and protection. Parts of Tasmania’s World Heritage area will not be delisted – but the forests will still need management and protection. ngaur/Flickr

Tasmania’s forests to remain under World Heritage

The 74,000 hectares of Tasmania’s controversial World Heritage extension will not be delisted as requested by the Tasmanian and federal governments. At the meeting of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee…
Much of Tasmania’s World Heritage has been sculpted by ice. The extension to the area (currently under debate) adds to all these values. Much of Tasmania’s World Heritage has been sculpted by ice. The extension to the area (currently under debate) adds to all these values. Simon Lieschke/Flickr

Tasmania’s World Heritage debate needs to look beyond the trees

The debate around Tasmania’s controversial World Heritage extension, under review this week at international talks in Doha, has centred on forests. But the area includes far more than “just” trees — including…
About 5% of the Tasmanian Wilderness could delisted as a World Heritage area, if an Australian government request wins international approval. About 5% of the Tasmanian Wilderness could delisted as a World Heritage area, if an Australian government request wins international approval. Ta Ann Truths/Flickr

Australia sends mixed messages on iconic World Heritage areas

This week, experts will debate the future of two of Australia’s World Heritage areas, the Tasmanian Wilderness and the Great Barrier Reef, at a meeting in Doha, Qatar. The world will be watching, as it…
Clear-felling and burning is not the future for Tasmania’s forests, no matter what happens with a looming World Heritage wilderness decision. Clear-felling and burning is not the future for Tasmania’s forests, no matter what happens with a looming World Heritage wilderness decision. Ta Ann Truths/Flickr

Tasmanian forestry plans a revival beyond World Heritage

The Tasmanian forestry industry is already thinking beyond the federal and state governments' plans to abolish the Tasmanian Forestry Agreement, which include trying to remove 74,000 hectares of forest…
Bigger picture: the Great Barrier Reef seen from the Landsat satellite. Bigger picture: the Great Barrier Reef seen from the Landsat satellite. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/Wikimedia Commons

The battle over Abbot Point risks losing the Great Barrier Reef war

“Save the reef” has become a popular catch-cry among many environment groups, with Greenpeace’s Great Barrier Reef website shared more than 125,000 times on social media to date. It and many similar campaigns…
Already operating as a coal port, the disposal of dredge material from expanding Abbot Point is now the subject of a legal challenge. Already operating as a coal port, the disposal of dredge material from expanding Abbot Point is now the subject of a legal challenge. GBRMPA

Let’s dump Great Barrier Reef dredging myths: authority chief

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s recent decision to allow 3 million cubic metres of dredge material to be disposed of 25 kilometres off Abbot Point in north Queensland has attracted passionate…
Fragile beauty: the Great Barrier Reef. Fragile beauty: the Great Barrier Reef. Flickr/Paul D'Ambra - Australia

Australia courting danger with the Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority has announced it will allow the dumping of three million cubic metres of dredge spoil from the Abbot Point port redevelopment within the marine park’s boundaries…
The Styx forests: world heritage, or soon to be unprotected again? The Styx forests: world heritage, or soon to be unprotected again? Rob Blakers www.robblakers.com

Australia going backwards on World Heritage listed forests

The Abbott government wants iconic forests removed from the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, so they can be logged – a plan opposed by timber companies, their industry body, Tasmania’s Premier…
Beautiful one day … a quarry the next? Beautiful one day … a quarry the next? Underwater Earth / Catlin Seaview Survey - www.catlinseaviewsurvey.com

Great Barrier Reef decision is a U-turn to an inglorious past

Few of us remember that the declaration of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and its subsequent World Heritage status was born out a 12-year popular struggle to prevent the most wondrous coral reef in…
Opening Tasmania’s World Heritage forests to logging is unlawful and uneconomic. Opening Tasmania’s World Heritage forests to logging is unlawful and uneconomic. Rob Blakers www.robblakers.com

New danger for Australian World Heritage wilderness

Australia’s new government plans to axe not only the carbon price, but also iconic, World Heritage-listed, Tasmanian forests. Opening these forests for logging would break international law, and that would…
World Heritage won’t mean anything if nothing’s done about climate change. World Heritage won’t mean anything if nothing’s done about climate change. Flickr/350.org

A reprieve, but the Great Barrier Reef remains on death row

The Great Barrier Reef may have been spared the indignity of being listed as a World Heritage Area “in danger” this week, but the Reef’s woes are just beginning. There are 962 properties on the world heritage…
There are opportunities for compromise between development and conservation in Cape York, but they’re en route to being missed. There are opportunities for compromise between development and conservation in Cape York, but they’re en route to being missed. hindesite/Flickr

Cape York for World Heritage listing: is it ready?

World Heritage sites in Australia have often been born out of battles between conservationists and development-oriented state governments. Little regard has been paid to land owners: until now. February…
Road traffic is a threat to Tasmania’s few health devils - increased truck traffic in the Tarkine won’t help. Road traffic is a threat to Tasmania’s few health devils - increased truck traffic in the Tarkine won’t help. Rhys Allen

Tarkine mines could be last straw for Tasmanian devils

Just a week before Christmas, Environment Minister Tony Burke approved Shree Minerals’ mine near Temma in the Tarkine region of north-west Tasmania. Perhaps he hoped the announcement would get lost in…
Research is clear on the value of the Tarkine’s rainforest, but does it matter to human society? Research is clear on the value of the Tarkine’s rainforest, but does it matter to human society? Rob Blakers

Tarkine a question of values: mines versus ancient rainforest

In Australia, we ride on the open cut mine’s back. In the island state of Tasmania, there is a medium size-class open cut mine (928 hectares) with 210 hectares of settling ponds, from which iron nodules…
A bund wall surrounds the Fishermans Landing Wharf expansion in Gladstone. A bund wall surrounds the Fishermans Landing Wharf expansion in Gladstone. AAP/Dave Hunt

UNESCO throws down gauntlet on Great Barrier Reef ports

The sealing of a leak of dredge spoil (harbour-bottom scooped up and dumped in a landfill area) in a bund wall in Gladstone harbour was announced on 25th of June by the Gladstone Ports Corporation. Scientists…
The push for World Heritage has noble aims, but when an area is already so well protected, why re-open debate? The push for World Heritage has noble aims, but when an area is already so well protected, why re-open debate? AAP

An own goal in political ice hockey? World Heritage listing for Antarctica could reopen minerals debate

Long-time environmental campaigner Geoff Mosley and former leader of the Greens Bob Brown will host a forum in Hobart on 17 June to discuss their proposal to seek World Heritage listing for Antarctica…
Minister Tony Burke is slowing down coal development in Queensland, but there’s more to it than saving turtles. Minister Tony Burke is slowing down coal development in Queensland, but there’s more to it than saving turtles. Landfeldt/Flickr

Commonwealth and Queensland face off over coal and Great Barrier Reef

The halt in the Alpha Coal Project approval process shows the Commonwealth is taking very seriously UNESCO’s recent report threatening downgrading the status of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area…
Can a booming coal industry and a Heritage-Listed reef co-exist? Can a booming coal industry and a Heritage-Listed reef co-exist? AAP/Dave Hunt

The Great Barrier Reef at a crossroads

Last Friday the World Heritage Centre and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) released a report on the state of the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest World Heritage Property…

Research and News (1)