Native forests for Bioenergy or Biodiversity

Dr Judith Ajani analyses the arguments of both sides of the forestry debate about whether native forests should be used for bioenergy or biodiversity.

Australia’s forestry industry and foresters argue that, from a climate change perspective, we should substitute fossil fuels and emission-intensive products with native forest wood, highlighting the fact that trees re-grow. Ecological and other scientists oppose this view, highlighting the carbon stocks in native forests and the potential for previously logged native forests to draw down substantial amounts of carbon if allowed to regenerate undisturbed by further logging. They also emphasise the biodiversity values of native forests.

This seminar brings both arguments face to face.

The historical context of both views and their core concepts will be made explicit. Then, through scenario analysis grounded in today’s Australian native forest industry reality, the climate change implications of the two opposing views will be quantified.

Dr Judith Ajani is an economist at the ANU Fenner School of Environment and Society and is the author of The Forest Wars (MUP 2007). She has nearly 30 years of forestry industry research and policy experience in both government and academia and maintains an active engagement in the native forest and plantation forestry public policy debates.

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