Where the Future of Timber Sits Today
If we are going to get a handle on climate change and possibly even reverse it, it is crucial that we start replacing every tree we chop down. While this is not possible when areas are cleared for building and residential purposes, it is possible when trees are cut to provide timber.
At Narangba Timbers, we take full advantage of Queensland’s numerous timber plantations that provide a clean, sustainable source for timber and are proud to use this quality building timber from sustainable, ethical suppliers. This also supports the market, ensuring that we keep timber available for future generations. For us, it’s not just about timber sales; it’s about making Brisbane and Australia better places to live.
Timber Reserves and State Forests
South-East Queensland Forest Agreement (SEQFA) guarantees a 25-year supply of timber to the timber industry by issuing 25-year sales permits. This has allowed timber companies to make significant investments and provide jobs in regional towns by providing a secure timber supply which helped boost industry confidence and it is estimated that by 2025, timber harvesting will have transitioned completely from native forests to private forests and plantations.
The State of Plantation Forestry in Australia
Right now, Australia has roughly 2,000,000 hectares of sustainable timber plantations. They account for about 80% of Australian timber for the timber products industry.
However, due to a host of factors, including the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) and climate change, many plantations aren’t able to turn a profit. Thousands of hectares of land formerly used for timber are being re-converted back into farmland.
Ultimately, we need more extensive forestry management where land is used as plantation timber. It is not financially feasible for most businesses to buy new land to turn into plantations because it takes from 10-25 years to see any profit on new plantation land. Due to this problem, many in the industry recommend maximising the land we already have.
And herein lies the best idea so far: since between 10-20% of existing farmland isn’t being utilised, farmers could begin using their unused parcels of land as timber plantations without affecting their crops or their output. If trees are planted correctly, they can actually enhance the production of crops and livestock.
Many different business models are being floated, such as timber companies partnering with farmers, using their land to grow timber and giving them a “cut” of the profits. This can not only help native softwoods, but a lot of native hardwood species and even some imported species can be experimented with.
The Australian Perspective to Sustainable Forestry Management
Since 2000 in Australia, we have used an ecosystem approach, which considers conservation to be a “matter of societal choice”. It advocates that all ecosystem managers consider the impact of their decisions, not only on their own ecosystem, but on others.
The approach also advocates a long-term approach and a balance between conservation and biological diversity. It also advocates involvement on all levels of society and science, while recognising that change is “inevitable.”
The Australian model is sustainable forestry management which is based on combining substantial yield with ecological sustainability. The principles of biodiversity, ecological productivity, socio-economic sustainability and ecosystem vitality and health are integrated into a precautionary approach to managing forests. When it’s all said and done, the Australian perspective can be boiled down to this description from studies in 1997 and 2001:
“The integration of commercial and non-commercial values of forests so that the welfare of society (both material and non-material) is improved, whilst ensuring that the values of forests, both as a resource for commercial use and for conservation are not lost or degraded for current and future generations.”
The Australian Government started on their current path in 1992, with the National Forest Policy Statement. The result was the formation of three goals for sustainable forestry management: maintaining the ecosystem’s “vitality,” sustaining the biodiversity of forests and “maintaining the net social benefit” over the long term of “forest uses within ecological constraints.”
This is accomplished by the Regional Forest Agreements that are currently in effect for eleven out of twelve commercial forests in Australia. The result has been our reserve system, which is seen as a paragon of responsible forestry by most environmental groups. It has helped maintain a level of access to forest resources that has helped Australia remain globally competitive in the timber industry while providing a sustainable lifestyle.
The Code of Practice for Native Forest Timber Production on State Lands 2007
Harvesting: an Overview
Harvesting timber in state native forestries is restricted to what is defined as “state forest area.” These areas are constantly maintained and monitored, resulting in new areas being approved after old areas are harvested. Harvesting is done by what is called a “selective process.”
Trees are selected and harvested in such a way that the forest will naturally regenerate itself. This is accomplished by only removing a part of the trees in any given area. This allows the trees to grow back naturally while protecting watercourses and habitat trees. The local species shed seeds, which land in spaces where trees have been harvested. Many species grow back with no assistance whatsoever.
Queensland has seven popular native commercial species: blackbutt, forest red gum, grey ironbark, narrow leaved red ironbark, gympie messmate, spotted gum and white cypress pine.
Harvesting is done according to the Queensland regulations and with the Australian Forestry Standard AS4708-2007. Protection is afforded for habitats, endangered species, soil properties, water quality, as well as ecological processes. In addition, indigenous interests and cultural values are protected, including traditional and cultural customs. Economic and social values including dust and noise nuisance are also taken into consideration.
At Narangba Timbers, we plan for the future with sustainable timber sourced from ethical sources. Renowned throughout the Brisbane area, we have some of the lowest prices in the business so give us a call today: (07) 3888 1293.