We have made it clear numerous times in the past that we are ethical timber suppliers who provide the Brisbane area with timber from sustainable sources. We proudly strive for no carbon footprint, also known as being “carbon neutral.” But what does “carbon neutral” mean and why is the carbon footprint so important?
Climate change is caused by greenhouse gases being released into the environment. Greenhouse gases contain carbon. Consequently, the most reliable way to measure the impact of an organism or a process on the environment is to measure the amount of carbon that organism or process releases into the environment.
When trees “breathe,” they store carbon as timber and release oxygen into the environment. In the forest, left on their own, trees spend their entire lives storing carbon and releasing oxygen. This is why timber is so great for the environment. It turns carbon that could be destructive into material that can build homes, boats, furniture, fencing, decking and flooring.
When timber is responsibly harvested, each tree is cut down after it reaches maturity and is replaced with a new tree that stores carbon faster than the old tree has. This is the practice that is done on timber plantations that are compliant with contemporary timber harvesting standards.
However, all timber isn’t grown on timber plantations. Some are grown in native Australian forests.
Beginning in 1999, a series of ten 20-year Regional Forest Agreements were made between state and national governments. These agreements were meant to balance environmental, social and economic demands on forests and the communities that are affected by them.
The agreements covered responsible forest management, making sure that trees are harvested and replanted as they would be on a plantation. The access would provide more reliable sources for Australian timber to the timber industry. They were also designed to protect native species through limited use of land and responsible forestry. As timber suppliers, this was something we would have supported.
Sadly, the agreements have proven for the most part to be something that was great in theory but didn’t really work the way they were supposed to. But the strongest case for not renewing the three agreements in NSW when they expire in 2019 and 2020 was recently revealed in a report from The Australian Institute: over the last seven years, NSW has lost $79 million on the logging of native forests.
Why the Economics are Off
Not only are the forests losing NSW more than $11.2 million per year, they could actually be making NSW $40 million per year if they were left alone and they could benefit from the Federal Government’s Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF).
The report was jointly commissioned by the National Parks Association of NSW and the Nature Conservation Council. The two organisations are asking NSW to end the financially untenable forestry agreements and transition to sustainable, responsible harvesting of timber on plantations. The NSW government has spent $136 million over the last ten years on native forest logging.
Demand for native forest pulpwood, which is the major native forest product, is down, while plantations are providing more competition. One of the biggest users of native forest timber, the Eden woodchip mill, was recently sold. The new owners intend to transition their sourcing from native forests to plantation timber in the medium term to the long term.
Why Ethical Timber Suppliers are Against Renewing the Agreements
The agreements sounded great when they were created. However, they have fallen far short of their intent. Trees haven’t been replanted as efficiently as they are in plantations. Even though the land being logged represents a small percentage of our native forest land, a number of native species, both plant and animal, are now endangered because of the loss of canopy in many areas.
Basically, the agreements have failed in every facet: economic benefits, responsible forest management and protection of native species. We have made our reputation over three generations as ethical timber suppliers. We are committed to providing ethically sourced, sustainable timber to the Brisbane area.
It’s time for all Australian timber to be logged on sustainable plantations. To learn more or to talk to our world class customer service personnel, call Narangba Timbers today: (07) 3888 1293.