Half of East Gippsland’s sawlogs chipped – CSIRO report

The industry that gave us the National Park Logs Swindle now brings us the Residual Logs Rip-off.

Over the past few years, the CSIRO has been checking low grade logs delivered to East Gippsland mills – so called ‘residual logs’ that nearly all end up as piles of woodchips.

The industry is always whingeing about forests being ‘locked up’, but now we have clear evidence of a massive waste of good timber by their own grading methods. Current log grading procedures make it very easy for high quality logs to be downgraded and chipped.

For years it has been common knowledge that the industry has been sending truck loads of sawlogs to chip mills but figures on the extent of this rip-off have been impossible to obtain.

Thanks to a report published in the latest issue of the Australian Journal of Forestry, we now know that about 15% of the ‘residual’ logs sent off to the chipper were actually found to be D grade or better sawlogs, and chipped.

Last year, they logged a staggering 380,000 m3 of residual wood – up 50% from last year. If the CSIRO data is correct, that translates into nearly 60,000 m3 of potential sawn timber sent off to the chipper! To get an idea of how much is being lost, in 2003/04, East Gippsland produced just over 114,000 m3 of logs graded for sawn timber use.

Dean

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