The Tasmanian Greens have again got it wrong, calling for the locking up of native forest that is sustainably managed for multiple benefits, in an article published today in the Hobart Mercury ‘Forestry decline helps Tasmania maintain carbon neutral record’.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) Ross Hampton has responded to the Greens’ claim, saying, “Tasmania should be rightly lauded for its emissions reduction credentials but not for the reasons that the Tasmanian Greens leader, Ms Cassy O’Connor, has detailed.”

“The reality is our renewable forest industries can significantly contribute to climate change mitigation as acknowledged in the 4th assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which stated:”

“A sustainable forest management strategy aimed at maintaining or increasing forest carbon stocks, while producing an annual sustained yield of timber, fibre or energy from the forest, will generate the largest sustained mitigation benefit.”

“The modest amount of native timber harvesting in Tasmania – about 4 trees out of every 10,000 – is entirely compatible with sound, sustainable, environmental management. Under Tasmanian law every small area which will be harvested is carefully surveyed for native species and protections put in place before operations. After timber harvesting is completed, each area is regenerated, and the growing forest continues to store carbon and very quickly becomes suitable habitat again.”

“Sustainably managed forests are a win-win for Tasmania and Australia, as they provide multiple benefits, including stored carbon, economic activity, and regional jobs. They store carbon both in the growing trees and over the long life of the renewable wood and paper products. Also, relative to alternative building materials used in new home builds and other construction, wood products have very low embodied energy, with very low fossil fuel energy inputs used in their production.”

“Calls for locking-up native forest that is sustainably managed for multiple benefits is ill-informed and has not considered all the ramifications. It doesn’t make sense in terms of long-term emissions reduction of mitigating the fire risk and closing down regional jobs. It doesn’t make sense when it comes to protecting biodiversity or environmentally as all it would mean is Tasmanian’s would have to import all appearance grade hardwood,” Mr Hampton concluded.

Ross Hampton is CEO of AFPA and Vice-Chair of the UN FAO Advisory Committee on Sustainable Forest-Based Industries