Logging Industry desperate for a hand

Neville Smith Timber Industry or NSTI, is a name we should all take note of. It’s based in Heyfield, Central Gippsland and is painting itself as ‘forest friendly’.

NSTI are involved in:

  •     Ads depicting beautiful forests, furniture and musical instruments, implying native forests don’t suffer a broken twig in their making.
  •     Investment in Tasmania where they could soon be part of plans to burn forests for power, or/and export woodchipping.
  •     Sponsoring Environment Day Awards.
  •     Setting up stalls at sustainability fairs.

Asking green groups for a hand
And now they have been trying to woo soft-target environment groups in to their lair to sweet talk them into green certification of their wood. We are hoping none take the bait. Even just the mere fact that groups are talking about it gives huge opportunity for the industry to claim green groups are with them on their attempts to improve logging.

Phillip does a U Toyne
This latest plot has seen NSTI and the Timber Promotion Council employ Phillip Toyne, ex ACF head and now private environmental consultant to help them.

As we all know, sawn timber justifies the ‘need’ to woodchip the other 90% of our forests. Sawn timber can’t be separated from the woodchip industry. NSTI sells about 70,000 m3 of chips to Amcor (Paperlinx) at Maryvale each year. Thousands more cubic metres would go to this pulp and paper mill as ‘forest residue’ after logging.

Story of green certification
The National Forest Summit is a get-together of all forest campaign groups Australia wide. It has ensured all groups work on a unified front. After years of discussing the implications of certifying native forest logging, the Summit agreed that green certification of plantation wood is possible – but not native forests.

Tippy-toe logging just can’t be done on a scale that would be needed for commercial viability. Certifying one boutique miller would see an avalanche of similar claims without green backing (a-la EcoSelect).

It is extremely dangerous territory to enter and the only way that wood production can be commercially and environmentally sustainable, is to for people to grow their own.

Desperate for a Lifeline
As overseas timber purchasers are now starting to demand proof that trees are cut down responsibly, our industry has little hope of gaining secure long-term markets overseas. Even Australian buyers are starting to question where their wood comes from and most prefer pine. The native forest logging industry is sinking. What they desperately want is an environmental life line to keep them afloat. But even if one mill received the OK, the other mills would keep logging important areas as badly as ever.

We are hoping that there are no green groups naive or weak enough to be lured into the loggers’ lair. One Patrick Moore in the world is one too many.

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