LARGE tracts of Tasmanian native forest have secured legal protection from logging in the tortuous process aimed at ending the state's forests dispute.
Federal and state governments said yesterday the conservation agreement, for 428,000 hectares of public forests, was a landmark on the way to final settlement.
Green groups strongly criticised the deal, which leaves about 2000 hectares of forests, still hotly disputed for their high conservation values, open to chainsaws in coming weeks.
The agreement follows more than 18 months of talks between green and industry groups, which gained traction after the collapse of native timber markets.
It comes with the governments under pressure to honour a protection promise of months ago.
Under the conservation agreement, the state agency Forestry Tasmania is restrained from logging swaths of disputed public forest while the deal is settled.
It allows deeper consideration of the ...