In September 2023, UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee made a decision of immense significance for the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (the TWWHA). The Committee adopted a retrospective ‘Statement of Outstanding Universal Value’ for the Tasmanian Wilderness, successfully concluding a process many years in the making.
The Statement is a major breakthrough for the TWWHA for the following reasons:
- It enshrines the importance of wilderness to the area’s Outstanding Universal Value;
- It recognises the importance of the 40,000-year occupation of the landscape by the Tasmanian Aboriginal people, and contains rich descriptions of their practices, rock art and other heritage;
- It recognises the property’s wide range of landforms and ecosystems, including its ‘palaeoendemics’ (such as Huon and King Billy pine), coastal features, moorlands, caves, mountains, lakes and marine life.