In an unexpected announcement the new head of the giant Tasmanian timber company Gunns Limited has broken ranks with Tasmania's forest industry and confirmed it will pull out of native forest logging altogether and develop plantation-based products. Further, Gunns revealed it would quit the Forest Industries Association of Tasmania, which is lobbying for a continuation of old-growth logging in the state.

This commitment, if fully implemented, is a huge victory for Tasmania environmental movements, such as the Wilderness Society who have been protesting against indiscriminate old-growth logging for years. Tasmania has the tallest flowering plants on Earth, with trees reaching over 90 meters, and contains Australia's greatest tracts of temperate rainforest which are also extraordinarily carbon rich.

This announcement was unexpected as Gunns Ltd and Tasmania's environment movement have been long-time foes, culminating in a bitter five-year lawsuit brought by the company against 20 conservationists, including Green Party leader Bob Brown, which Gunns lost in 2009.

Lorna Howarth is Development Director at Artists Project Earth,