Tasmania’s decades-old forest wars could be over after the forestry industry and environmentalists signed a statement of principles.

The deal marks a commitment to ending logging in high conservation forests, but the moratorium cannot be implemented until it has the support of both the state and federal governments.

Tasmania premier David Bartlett described the deal as the first step towards healing old wounds and securing the future for the timber industry but he said the “real work is yet to be done”.

Federal environment minister Tony Burke said it was the first time that environmental groups had acknowledged the importance of downstream processing in Australia.