Image for Pulp mill NO – modern forestry policy YES!

Battle weary as we are – we are here! – And we continue to fight this monstrous pulp mill.

We have heard enough good reasons for our strong stand against this gigantic chemical factory. And we are filled to the brim with negativity.

Time therefore to scan the horizon for some encouragement! And here it is. It’s about modern forestry policy and management. Bear with me!

Ladies and gentlemen,

• It is not normal in responsible societies that old growth forests get flattened and much of what has been cut gets burnt with the help of napalm.

• It is not normal in responsible societies that vast tracts of land – often fertile land – get planted up with water hungry monoculture trees that are heavily dependent on fertilizer and chemicals to kill everything that moves. And after all this has happened the harvest cannot even be used for sawn timber.

• It is not normal in responsible societies that democratically elected governments pass legislation, which removes basic human rights of its constituents.

• It is not normal in responsible societies that governments blindly subsidise private enterprise without a sound business plan.

What then IS normal in responsible societies in regard to their forestry policy and forest management? And what IS normal in responsible societies in regard to a significant segment of their economy and social wellbeing?

• Responsible societies regard their forests as a treasured public asset, not as an opportunity to loot.

• In responsible societies all forests, publicly or privately owned, are managed according to strict national laws and fine tuned management guidelines.

• In responsible societies these forestry guidelines mean a ban on clear-felling, they mean mandatory biodiversity in all working forests, they mean no use of chemicals – just to name the main points.

• In responsible societies single tree harvesting, facilitated by a network of carefully designed forest roads and following wise silvicultural techniques is mandatory.

• In responsible societies all forests are accessible to the public, but not with motor vehicles.

• The forest law of responsible societies essentially identifies three equally weighted aims that forests must fulfil. They are:

1) wood harvest

2) erosion control, water catchment protection

3) public recreation

All three goals are of equal importance.

With such a legal framework in place a large assortment of forest and timber industries can then be forever busy fabricating the whole array of wood based products that we enjoy so much. Local jobs galore, highly skilled workforces, a proud, supportive population.

Wood has been a constant and global companion in all human civilisations and this should stay that way. Wood is the best building material for a large segment of constructions. Wood is still the most beautiful material for furniture and many other objects of our daily use. Wood is chemically neutral, insulating, naturally breathing – and – wood does indeed keep on re-growing in well managed forests.

Isn’t this uplifting stuff?

So, all we have to do is develop the will to give ourselves the forest management framework of a responsible society. A modern forestry policy. A policy that has been proven to work well in many countries and is rapidly becoming mainstream around the world.

For that to happen some large mental blocks have to be moved out of the way.

• To the Greens and environmental non-government organizations I say: it is not the quantity of old growth forests worthy of protection, that matters. It is the quality. And more importantly it is the management methods that are employed in the much larger areas of production forests that will make the big difference about how we feel in our land, how much work and what quality of work we create around the state. Fully protecting enough truly wild and intact biospheres is very important. But in the big picture, managing all production forests along “close to nature” guidelines is even more important.

• To the legislators I say: Shake yourselves free of your entanglement with industry lobbies and create a forestry policy that responds to multiple bottom lines with a strong determination to build a truly sustainable forest and timber industry in perpetuity.

• To the Industry I say: let go of the outdated mining approach to a living resource. Educate yourselves and develop exciting new uses for quality wood. It’s being done around the world as we speak. Develop technologies that deliver modern building systems and go for biodiversity in all you do in the forest. In Tasmania this now includes a serious re-arrangement and re-naturalisation of tree monocultures. Solutions outside the square will have to be found there.

• To the financial institutions I say: Follow your own ethical guidelines and interpret them progressively. Look forward to new opportunities instead of cunningly darting from loophole to loophole.

So now I ask: Does Gunns’ pulp mill and plantation regime fall into the category of modern forestry management described above? – No way!

So, to Gunns we say:

• Wrong way, go back!

• No pulp mill!

• No plantation isle!

• Resurrect as champions for a modern timber industry instead!

To the Government we say:

• Prepare an entirely new multiple bottom line forestry policy!

And in general we say:

• Initiate a Royal Commission into the pulp mill fiasco!

• When do we want all this?

• The answer is – Now!

Peter Brenner is former Head of Information of the Swiss “Timber Information Council” (LIGNUM).

Written in support of the Batman Reserve anti pulp mill rally on Sunday 19 March.

First published: Pulp mill NO – modern forestry policy YES!

• Advocate: Gunns mill ablaze
19 Mar, 2011 07:30 PM
The Gunns timber mill in Smithton has been the scene of a major fire this evening.

The fire was reported at 5 pm this evening and took seven fire crews two hours to bring under control.

The cause and amount of damage to the mill is unknown at this stage.

The mill, which employs 90 people, is one of the main employers in Circular Head.

It exports its product both domestically and internationally.

It’s another blow for a timber industry which has already been hard hit in recent times.

The Advocate will update this story tomorrow and have full coverage in Monday’s edition. If you have images of the blaze you can send them in to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Advocate story HERE