‘It was strangely like war. They attacked the forest as if it were an enemy to be pushed back from the beachheads, driven into the hills, broken into patches, and wiped out. Many operators thought they were not only making lumber but liberating the land from the trees…’
Murray Morgan, The Last Wilderness
Trees are great. Imagine the design brief for a tree – create something that makes oxygen, absorbs carbon dioxide, fixes nitrogen, distils water, stores solar energy as fuel, makes complex sugars and food, creates micro climates, changes colours with the season and self replicates.
In Australia we like to chop them down and turn them into wood chips for export at a fraction of their true value. Recently the international price for native forest woodchips has collapsed as buyers of wood chips no longer want materials from native forests. Our forestry industries are rethinking their operations.
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.
We all know that we need timber products for our daily lives, but 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 100’s 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. It seems 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.