The Nippon owned pulp and paper plant at Maryvale, Australian Paper, recently announced (10th October) a new recycled paper plant to be built on their LaTrobe Valley site. However it’s been silent about getting out of native forests as a result. Production is expected to start in early 2014, so it won’t be in time save the Leadbeaters possum from VicForests’ determined onslaught.
Australia’s forest conflict gets easier to solve as every day passes. In reality, the conflict will solve itself if the government can just resist reviving the environmentally and economically inferior native forest part of Australia’s “forest” industry. The government must not open native forest wood to the energy market.
Until he returned recently to Australia, expatriate Jim Douglas had spent the last eight years as the World Bank's Forests Adviser in Washington. Writing a guest editorial in "Australian Forestry", he had this to say about Australia's forests:
Info gathered by Dr Judith Ajani from the ANU, via ABARE and BRS data.
This one simple graph tells the story; the orange line shows the declining level of sawn timber coming from native forests – down down down it goes. At the same time the export of native forests has skyrocketed – only dropping slightly due to the slump in the overseas market. This is for a number of reasons but when you look at the blue line – plantation grown eucalypt woodchip exports, it matches up and explains what’s happening. Plantation grown woodchips are preferred for their uniformity and whiteness.
How can an audit that has found environmental breaches on almost all the coupes checked possibly end up with a result of 93% compliance? The latest audit of logging in Victoria’s forests will leave many environmentalists convinced that these Audits are totally worthless exercises that have done nothing to protect biodiversity in our forests. One of the reasons for the audit result is that around half of the things checked by the auditors are checks to make sure paperwork has been filled in correctly.