Letter to the Editor - June 17: Benefits of plantations

IT APPEARS that the real motive for holding the Bellingen 'Dance Party for Forest Protection' is to criticise the growing and harvesting of hardwood plantations.

Well how short-sighted and hypocritical is this, particularly when the eucalypt plantations in the Bellingen Shire are growing on previously cleared farming land.

The forest industry is a carbon positive industry. Everything that is made from timber acts as a carbon sink and there is enormous value in this. Timber is Australia's preferred building material - it is authentic, beautiful, and flexible and produces less carbon dioxide than any other alternative.

Using timber for construction is typically cheaper. Recent research undertaken by the Forests and Wood Products Association reveals that constructing a building in timber resulted in cost savings of 13.9% for a 2 storey aged care facility, 12.4% for a 7 storey office building, 9.4% for a single storey industrial shed, and 2.2% for an 8 storey apartment building.

The reality is that limiting native hardwood production makes no sense whatsoever as the science is repeatedly telling us that if you manage a forest you'll store more carbon than you will if you just leave it in an undisturbed state. There'll be less intense bushfires and water quality will be enhanced.

And the distasteful alternative to growing our own? Importing more timber such as merbau from overseas which is typically pillaged from Asian forests.

In this context it is worth while noting that North Coast forests are now managed in accordance with the world's highest environmental standards.

TREVOR SARGEANT,
North Coast Forests Taskforce Co-ordinator



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