Tasmania from spaceOne of the largest islands in the world, the Australian state of Tasmania lies 150 miles across the straits from Melbourne and is surrounded by the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Perhaps best known as the birthplace of actor Errol Flynn and Nobel Prize winner Elizabeth Blackburn, Tasmania is also home to many unique, diverse and irreplaceable species of plants and animals.

The island state differs greatly from mainland Australia – it’s a far cry from the suntans, bikinis and “put another shrimp on the Barbie” stereotype. Indeed, Tassie topography is similar to the majestic New Zealand we’ve come to know from The Lord of the Rings.

Comparative Perspective:  Shaped roughly like the State of Ohio, Tasmania’s land mass is about half the size of the Buckeye State and its population of 507,000 — only 4% of Ohio’s 11.5 million — equates to 25% of the Cincinnati Metro population. Tassie population density is only 6% of Ohio’s with fewer than 20 people per square mile, and with most of the inhabitants living in or near the capitol city of Hobart, there are thousands of square miles totally devoid of people.

Tasmania is volcanic in origin with dolerite (magma) infusing granite, limestone and quartzite during the Jurassic period. The combination of these different rock types offers incredible scenery, much of it distinct from any other region of the world. Tasmanian elevations range from sea level to 5,295 feet — the highland plateaus and soaring mile-high mountains offer some of the most beautiful wilderness in the world.

King_River_credit Phil Whitehouse, London More trees than people.
As witnessed in The Hunter, logging companies and environmental groups have a history of conflict regarding Tasmania’s old-growth forests. Tasmania is home to the tallest hardwood forests on Earth, with trees reaching over 300 feet and living over 400 years.

It is also home to Australia’s greatest tracts of temperate rainforest. These forests are among the most carbon-dense in world, with tremendous environmental and ecological importance. About 40% of Tasmania is held in the form of parks and reserves, but logging frequently occurs on public lands.

Ninety percent of the timber removed from Tasmania’s public forests is turned into woodchips for paper production, which quickly returns the carbon to the atmosphere, increasing global warming. An ugly byproduct of this process is the burning of timber harvest remains in the clearfelling areas – ignited by napalm drops from helicopters – devastating thousands of acres of natural habitat and watersheds via as many as 400 burnings each year. 




Tasmanian citizens protest logging and pulp operations




Visit these links to learn more about Tasmania and its environmental concerns:

Tasmania’s Irreplaceable Forests   

Wikipedia facts and figures.

Map showing the Central Plateau where The Hunter was filmed.

Pulp Friction the controversy and impact of one Tasmanian pulp mill project.

Pulp mill gets green light from the government


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