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Are We Clearing Too Many Trees in QLD?

We have made it clear to all who want to listen that we pride ourselves on being ethical timber suppliers. We love timber, we love Brisbane and we want our neighbours to be able to enjoy the benefits of timber as a building material for generations to come. That’s why we go out of our way to only use timber that has been ethically sourced. We want to help prevent climate change and preserve our native forest lands.

That is why we are particularly disturbed by a recent study. According to the Statewide Land Cover and Tree Study (SLATS), roughly 296,000 hectares of trees were cleared in QLD during 2014-15. While this was only a slight rise from 2013-14, it was nearly double the level recorded in 2011-12.

According to Deputy Premier Jackie Trad, this amount of tree-clearing is too high. She described it as both “shocking” and “unsustainable.” During 2014-15, 108,000 of the hectares were lost in Great Barrier Reef catchment areas, a number she found to be “alarming.” This represented a little over a third of the total loss of trees.

Deb Frecklington, the Opposition Leader, said land cleared for fodder should not be included in the number and indirectly accused Labor of “fudging the numbers.” The previous government is partially responsible, relaxing vegetation management laws to allow farmers to clear as much land as they want for “high value agricultural projects.” In addition, it is difficult to prove that any farmer clearing trees did it illegally due to the current wording of laws.

All politics aside, we don’t think clearing that many trees is sustainable. The political volleyball makes it difficult to differentiate between environmental sustainability and allowing farmers to manage their land as they see fit.

The Queensland Conservation Council is calling for legislative action to reduce the rate of tree loss. According to Dr Tim Seelig, incoming head of the Conservation Council, tree clearing is having a “devastating effect” on our native species of wildlife. He also sees clearing as a ‘“threat to the Great Barrier Reef.”

Dr Seelig also cites risks of more erosion and drought and the inevitable negative effect on climate change. When trees are cleared in a way that isn’t environmentally responsible, it increases the carbon footprint and destroys a source of carbon storage.

How big is this effect? Dr Seelig says last year’s clearing of trees was responsible for 35 million tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere.

What it Means to Us and to You

We became timber suppliers because we love timber. We know it stores carbon and helps slow global warming. We also know that timber buildings are naturally insulated and preserve energy. When your heater or air conditioner isn’t on as much, you are not putting as much carbon back into the environment. We have helped numerous Australian homeowners become much more energy efficient, saving them money while helping the environment.

Trees, Oxygen, Carbon and You: Responsible Forestry 101

We believe the current tree-clearing numbers are not sustainable and we want to see the numbers lowered. We have always done our part to help the environment by only buying timber from sources that are environmentally responsible.

When a tree is responsibly harvested, it is harvested at maturity and another tree is planted in its place. Trees breathe our air, store the carbon to make timber out of and release the oxygen back into the environment. They are a perfect symbiotic being for us because we use the oxygen and exhale the carbon back into the environment.

When timber is harvested responsibly, it leaves more oxygen for us and stores carbon, keeping it from affecting global warming. Everybody wins. The environment wins, the trees win and we win. But when we start indiscriminately clearing trees without replacing them, it can eventually lead to catastrophic consequences.

Most Ethical Timber Suppliers in Queensland

From our end, all we can do is what we have been doing: advocate responsible harvesting of timber and only carry timber that has been harvested from sustainable sources.

If you would like to learn more or you have any questions about timber, call Narangba Timbers today on 1300 477 024.