OK folks, let"s get this show on the road with some irrefutable facts.

On 15/11/2001, Paul Lennon replied to my letter requesting information about timber logged on EPO74D, a coupe west of Geeveston.

He told me that the following was extracted by contractors:

Export pulpwood (tonnes)  = 28,755
Euc sawlog           =  3,755
Domestic pulpwood       =  827
Craftwood             =  423
Celery top pine sawlog   =  257
Blackwood sawlog       =    3
Burls               =    1

TOTAL               =34,094

The Forest Practices Plan for EPO74D (and my understanding that it is the practice to destroy FPPs once a coupe has been dealt with, only the first page of the FPP being kept as a record - so don’t expect to check on these figures) showed FT’s expected timber volumes to be as follows:

Pulpwood (tonnes)  = 43,100
Sawlog         =  9,380
Veneer         =  120

TOTAL           = 52,600

Clearly there is a discrepancy.

In a letter to me dated 24/12/2001, David Robson (Harvest Manager) writing for Raymond Gouck (Huon District Manager) said:

“For the coupe 74D, an ocular assessment has been completed and it has been determined that less than 5 tonnes per hectare is remaining of commercial wood.  It must be noted, however, that harvesting of the entire coupe has not been completed.  Another section is planned for harvesting in 2002.  It is during this operation that the small amount of timber that was located during the assessment will be recovered.”

From memory (and I don’t have time to dig out the letter from where ever it is as a result of moving house) David Robson’s “commercial wood” was timber for which there was already a sale, before logging.

The data above was used by Timber Workers For Forests Inc who surveyed this coupe in April 2002 and is taken from our report “Esperance 74D (EPO74D) Logging Coupe Inventory”.  You can read & download the full report as a pdf by going to the website, clicking on “Research” , then the heading relating to waste.

(I wonder how long it will take the industry apologists, yet again, to try to rubbish this report?)

We found that on average, there was 998 m3 of timber left on the part of the couple which had been logged. (p.7)

After the coupe was burned, with FT’s help we salvaged and milled about 50 tonnes of logs, mostly myrtle.  Some of the timber has been donated to schools for wood working classes and a small quantity has been sold to craft workers.  The balance is waiting for a suitable use to become apparent.

On the matter of economic loss, we wrote:

“Economic loss
The logging operation at EP074D represents the loss of significant economic opportunity to the State of Tasmania. The kind of logging operation at Esperance 074D wastes in the order of 998 tonnes of timber per hectare (equivalent to 100 tonnes per 1⁄4 acre block) which anywhere else in the world would be used, much of it value added. It is unfortunate under the current management regime that if there is no market for the timber at the time of harvesting the timber is burned, thereby destroying the potential for jobs, economic gain to the local community, and a future supply of quality timber. The trees felled and left in EP074D would have provided a constant resource flow into the future if managed under a selective harvesting regime.

A large proportion of the timber left behind in the coupe has commercial value as shown by the fact that a number of local people have found it worth their while to pay for a licence to salvage wood. Much of the best timber remaining lies beneath piles of wood in windrows which makes accessing it too difficult or time consuming to be worthwhile. It would have been much easier for salvage operators to access timber under a selective harvesting regime particularly as many of the snig tracks have now been ripped up making access to most areas of the coupe very difficult. While the public is still able, for a fee, to salvage timber in this coupe before it is burnt, the practice of piling the timber up after clear felling makes scavenging unlikely to result in maximum recovery, inefficient, time-consuming and discouraging, because large quantities of high quality timber are buried.

At a minimum, the estimated 97,800 tonnes of timber remaining in EP074D would have been worth $7/tonne in royalties to the State if market agreements for the timber had been in place at the time of harvesting and if the timber had been harvested with care. The potential economic shortfall from the logging operation at EP074D is an estimated $685,000
(minimum) in royalties to the State. If downstream processed in Tasmania the value of the wasted timber would be significantly higher. For example, timbers such as myrtle are worth in the order of $3,000/tonne, depending upon quality and depending upon use.

The timber in coupe EP074D should never have been felled without prior assessment of its maximum value and potential prior to harvesting and then should only have been harvested if there was a very good reason to do so.”

Now let’s see some additional reliable figures from others on FT’s “profitable & sustainable” practices.

If I may be allowed to express an opinion at this point: FT’s management team has been a commercial disgrace.

Out with the lot of them.