Tasmania's Premier has declared the signing of a forestry peace deal a difficult day for the state.
Negotiators have confirmed they have struck a deal to end the state's forest wars protecting half a million hectares of forest from logging.
In return, the legislated quota of sawlogs will be cut to 137,000 cubic metres a year.
The Forest Industries Association of Tasmania's chief executive Terry Edwards says 395,000 hectares will be reserved immediately and the balance in March 2015.
Mr Edwards says it will be up to Parliament to determine whether the second tranche is reserved.
Timber Communities Australia (TCA) remains the only forest peace deal negotiator yet to sign up to an agreement and is indicating its signature could be some time off.
It has sent a letter to the Premier saying its membership will not vote on the issue until next month.
That has thrown into question whether legislation to implement the peace deal will be debated in Parliament today.
The Government has listed the legislation for debate but the Opposition's Peter Gutwein questioned the move.
"Doesn't this mean that the deal should not proceed? Or are you prepared to ride roughshod and progress ahead even without the agreement of this critical signatory to your disastrous deal?" He urged the TCA not to sign the deal.
"What this deal is going to lead to is a further exodus of people from this island," he said.
Premier Lara Giddings says it is significant but difficult day for the state.
Ms Giddings commended the negotiators for reaching agreement which has been more than two years in the making.
"It's a day that's obviously significant for many and I am concerned very much for our communities across the state, timber communities who've have relied on this industry for many, many years," she said.
She has urged the TCA to back the deal.
"I would say to those members of the TCA that this is a unique opportunity for them." The TCA's Jim Adams says his members need a chance to study it.
"Our understanding is that we can run our process alongside certain things that the Government may or may not decide to do through Cabinet and Parliament and our response can be fed into or added into that process as soon as it's available." The Federal Environment Minister, Tony Burke, says the deal has the makings of something extraordinary.
Mr Burke told the National Press Club that after being disappointed when it appeared that the talks had fallen apart some weeks ago, he now has new optimism.
"I think we have the makings of something quite extraordinary, we are heading towards something that is a unique win for jobs in Tasmania that has conservation benefits that many people who have not thought possible," he said.
Mr Burke hopes to meet signatories in Canberra next week.
Done deal Earlier today, Terry Edwards told ABC Local Radio it was the compromise offered by FIAT earlier this month which paved the way for the deal to be struck.
He said the TCA had indicated its support.
"The agreement document has been signed by all bar one of the participants in the negotiating process," he said.
"That other participant has a number of corporate governance issues that it needs to complete but it has advised the Government of its support for the agreement subject to those corporate governance issues being properly finalised." Mr Edwards said his group signed the deal because it was time for the war to end.
He called on groups like Markets for Change to back the deal and end forest protests.
While he is relieved the deal has been signed, he said there were negatives in it for industry.
Environment Tasmania's Phill Pullinger says it is an historic day and he has urged both sides of the debate to give peace a chance.
"It's certainly, from our point of view, not perfect.
We've had to make some big compromises along the way but certainly I believe that it's the best deal that we could get for nature conservation and we'll be throwing our weight behind it," he said.
"There will be a lot of critics across the spectrum; it is easy to be cynical or be negative given what we have experienced over the past 30 years as a community.
"What I'd say, and I will be saying it to critics in the conservation movement...is just imagine what our state can achieve if we can get a resolution and move on.
"What it can mean for Tasmania for our place in the world if some of those amazing forests of national and world heritage value can be protected...and what it can mean for timber workers if they can go to work without the anxiety and uncertainty that they have had for so long." 'Sham' Opponents of the peace process believe the agreement is a sham that offers no security to the forest industry.
Liberal Senator Richard Colbeck says a Federal Coalition government would tear up proposed reserves in the interests of the industry.
"They've basically been bullied into this, there's no question that that's the case," he said.
The Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association's Jan Davis says reduced sawmilling capacity will hurt private growers.
"This will probably be the death knell not only for us, but for other parts of the industry." Farmers believe they were unfairly excluded from the talks.
An anti-logging activist who has spent almost a year living in a tree in southern Tasmania is awaiting the details before she decides whether to come down.
Miranda Gibson, from Still Wild Still Threatened, has been in a tree-sit near Tyena since last December and has vowed to stay until high conservation forests are protected.
Ms Gibson says she is hoping to see the details of the deal soon.
"There's been so much uncertainty so far about what's going to happen with the forests so it was definitely a big announcement to hear that a deal has been struck," she said.
"Obviously we haven't seen a copy of the agreement and there's still a lot of uncertainty about what it's going to mean."