Logging Native Forests: the Controversy Continues

We consider ourselves to be among the most ethical timber suppliers in Brisbane. One of the biggest ethical issues in our industry is the sourcing of timber. At Narangba Timbers, we only use ethically sourced timber.

Timber Suppliers Against Unethical Logging of Native Forests

We believe in protecting our forests, our environment and our planet. The best way for us to help in all three is to use timber that has been grown on plantations or have been responsibly harvested in public forests. However, “responsibly” seems to be subjective and the standards seem to be going down.

Recently, more than 30 environmental groups got together and signed a statement that is in favour of letting agreements to log Australian forests run out. This would make it illegal to log Australian forests.

Regional Forestry Agreements

Between 1997 and 2001, ten regional forestry agreements (RFA’s) were signed. These were agreements between state and federal governments. They designated many native forests as exempt from the usual procedure for logging.

Usually, if a company wants to log in any native forest, they are required to go through the Federal Government under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act. Under the RFA’s, logging companies could log certain areas and not have to go through the government first.

When the RFA’s were originally created, they were part of an agenda to help encourage conservation and the sustainable management of our forests. They were seen as providing “certainty for forest-based industries, forest-dependent communities and conservation.”

However, in a recent 50-page report, the NSW National Parks Association has determined that the actual outcome has been the complete failure of literally all of their stated intentions.

The Actual Outcomes of RFA’s

One of the biggest outcomes has been an increase in threatened species. In addition, as opposed to being a boon to state or community economies, RFA’s have cost states a lot of money. Even though loggers are supposedly replanting trees, the end result of RFA’s has had a negative effect on the environment.

According to the report, the RFA’s didn’t take climate change into consideration because it wasn’t as bad in the 90’s. Since logging of forests can result in a net increase in greenhouse gas emissions, they are contributing to climate change.

Why Environmental Groups are Taking Action

Currently, the Government policy is to renew RFA’s as they expire. According to the report, renewing the RFA’s is “irrational” on “environmental, economic and social grounds.”

The environmental groups sent their report to Greg Hunt, the Environment Minister; Mark Butler, Environment spokesperson for Labor; and Janet Rice, Environment Spokesperson for the Greens. In their statement, they demand that loggers be subject to the same governmental oversight as other industries.

As of this writing, Labor hasn’t made a statement and the Liberal Party is in favour of renewing the RFA’s. The Greens are in staunch opposition to renewals.

What it Means to You

At Narangba Timbers, we are outspoken in our support of ethical and responsible forestry. As the numbers currently stand, 85% of Australian timber comes from plantations. When trees are harvested on plantations, they are replanted in a way that replaces all of the trees cut. Also, trees that are harvested are at an age where they aren’t storing as much carbon. They are replaced by new trees that store much more carbon.

But why is this important? The measure of negative impact on global warming is measured in the emission of carbon, which is the prime indicator of the amount of greenhouse gases being released into the environment. This measurement is called the carbon footprint.

Most processes emit carbon into the environment. When we breathe, we absorb oxygen and emit CO2. Trees do the opposite. When they “breathe,” they turn carbon into timber cells and “exhale” the oxygen back into our environment. Not only are they the opposite of humans on the breathing cycle, they have a negative carbon footprint.

The bottom line: it is much better for us and for the environment when timber is harvested from plantations. That is why we agree with the environmental groups: we don’t want the RFA’s renewed. We want loggers to go through the government just like everyone else who wants to use our native forest lands. We want to make sure they practise responsible and ethical forestry.

Call the Ethical Timber Suppliers in Brisbane

To learn more or to talk to the best customer service in the industry, call Narangba Timbers today: (07) 3888 1293.

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Posted in Jack's Blog, Timber Suppliers Brisbane