A further four people were arrested at a protest in the Wentworth Hills in Tasmania's Central Highlands on Monday, halting forestry activity at the site in a further escalation of protests against native forest harvesting.
It follows the arrest of two protesters at Artec's woodchip mill two weeks ago, three arrests in Wentworth Hills on February 1 and multiple arrests at protests in the Eastern Tiers late last year, including of Bob Brown himself.
The Bob Brown Foundation has been targeting Sustainable Timber Tasmania forestry operations in Wentworth Hills since late-January, including eight days of protests. Campaign organiser Erik Hayward said the native forests were more valuable if left alone.
"If left standing these forests will continue to provide essential habitat to sustain endangered species," he said. "Left standing the ancient eucalypts in the forests will continue capturing carbon in their soils hold intrinsic and priceless value as undisturbed and fascinating forests."
Resources Minister Guy Barnett said the protests were occurring on Permanent Timber Production Zone land, which was set aside for harvesting by both houses of parliament.
"We support the right to protest peacefully but dangerous actions are unacceptable and at a time when we desperately need to protect jobs and regional economies," he said. "This is a perfect example of why workplace protection laws are needed in Tasmania."
The BBF's attempt to have the Tasmanian Regional Forest Agreement ruled invalid failed in the Federal Court last month, but an appeal seems likely in the High Court.
An audit, released last year, found STT had "improperly harvested old growth" under Forest Stewardship Council rules, and had not been identifying old growth as having high conservation values.
STT chief executive officer Steve Whiteley said their focus was on doing a "selective log".
"In terms of old growth, a lot of it is around single specimens rather than old growth forest. We're looking to modify our processes to retain those trees in the landscape where we can do it safely," he said.
But Wilderness Society Tasmania campaign manager Tom Allen said plantation forest could fill demand for timber and woodchips.
"There is absolutely zero need or benefit in destroying Tassie's ancient and superlative high conservation value native forests that provide a direct and continuous link with the Gondwanan era," he said.