The Federal and Tasmanian Governments have announced the formation of the new  Independent Expert Group. The group will be responsible for verifying conservation values of native forests nominated under the Tasmanian Forests Intergovernmental Agreement and their compatibility with sustainable wood supply requirements for industry.


Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke said the appointment of members to the six-member group to be led by Professor Jonathon West was an important step in delivering on the historic Intergovernmental Agreement.


"The appointment of these experts is a key requirement of the Tasmanian Forests Intergovernmental Agreement and will progress our joint objectives of environmental protection and support for a strong and viable forest industry in Tasmania," Mr Burke said.


"The members of the Verification Group have been appointed for their independence and their extensive expertise in forestry, forest ecology, conservation reserves, forest modelling and geology."


The members of the Independent Verification Group are:

  • Professor Jonathan Wes- Chair
  • Dr Robert (Bob) Smith
  • Dr Michael Lockwood
  • Professor Brendan Mackey
  • Professor Mark Burgman
  • Professor Ross Large 


In accordance with another requirement of the Intergovernmental Agreement, two independent forestry schedulers have also been appointed to assess harvesting operations within the 430,000 hectare interim reserve area, with the intention of rescheduling work outside the area to the maximum extent that is practical.