Australia's plan to log "one of the last expanses of temperate rainforest in the world" has fizzled to the acclaim of conservationists the world over. Two years after requesting that logging be allowed in parts of the Tasmanian Wilderness to boost the local economy, the country received a recommendation from UN cultural agency UNESCO on Saturday. The agency says it "does not consider a World Heritage property recognized for its outstanding cultural and natural values the place to experiment with commercial logging" and the area—which covers 1 million hectares, or about 20% of Tasmania, per the BBC and Reuters—"should be off-limits to commercial logging in its entirety."
UNESCO also calls for a "master plan" for tourism activities, noting Australia's hopes of allowing cruise ships, planes, and helicopters to land on the island "created room for interpretation and even suspicions," per the Guardian. "The decision of the United Nations to prohibit limited special species harvesting in the Tasmanian Wilderness world heritage area is very disappointing," says the Tasmanian minister for forestry. "However, it would be grossly irresponsible for any government to defy such a ruling, and we will abide by it." The BBC reports the World Heritage site is home to extinct and threatened animals, ancient trees, and "some of the tallest flowering plants in the world." (Read more Australia stories.)