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.

Rock Island Bend, Franklin River, Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. Photo: Grant Dixon

The Tasmanian National Parks Association offers an independent voice for Tasmania’s national parks and reserves, to ensure they are managed for the conservation of the values for which they were proclaimed.