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Trees are the lungs of the Earth. They absorb carbon dioxide (the stuff that we are releasing faster than the planet can handle) during their lives and produce oxygen (the good stuff that we breathe). They provide habitat, food and shelter for millions of species. They also stop erosion and help control ground temperatures.

In Australia we like to chop them down and turn them into wood chips for export at a fraction of their true value. The international price for native forest wood chips has collapsed. Buyers of wood chips no longer want to use native forests. Our forestry industries are rethinking their operations.

We all know that we need timber products for our daily lives. We don’t need to destroy old-growth forests to do this. Plantation forests are the way to go. They take 20–30 years to grow but old growth forests take 100s of years to return to their former glory.

It’s more convenient and profitable to log an old-growth forest than to grow your own plantation. Does it seem odd that one small group should be allowed to profit from the destruction of our forests?

Timber is a renewable resource when responsibly managed and regulated, and these days there is more money to be made from planting trees than chopping them down.

What can you do?

* Plant trees! Help green your local neighbourhood by joining in with local tree planting days and programs.

* Fill up your garden (or balcony) with plants. Every plant you plant will absorb carbon dioxide.

* Look for paper products made from recycled paper and FSC forests. FSC forests are sustainably managed forests, while recycled paper means no trees were chopped down to make the paper.

* Use less! Use less by nominating to get your bills and bank statements online, and by reusing the paper you do have.