When you’re done raping the earth…

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Forest friendly
THE article by Tracee Hutchison “They don’t get it” (Opinion, 12/5) and subsequent letters by Don Stokes and Karina Kanepe (14/5) display a disturbing ignorance about forests, wood and climate change.

Deforestation in Indonesia is disastrous because it permanently removes forest cover. But this is vastly different from Australian (and Tasmanian) forestry practices under which harvested areas are regenerated with replacement trees. Where this is sustainable — the annually harvested wood volume equals the rate of growth over the whole forest — there should be no net loss of carbon.

Using wood is one of the most positive things we can do to combat climate change. It is natural and renewable whereas substitutes such as concrete involve large emissions of greenhouse gases in their manufacture.

Similarly, using firewood from a sustainable source is one of the most environmentally friendly forms of home heating if it reduces electricity use.
Mark Poynter, Victorian spokesman, the Institute of Foresters of Australia

If logging practices in Australia are so sustainable why is there a need to increase the area logged into water catchments where the amount of water in our reservoirs is greatly affected by logging?

I’m not sure how happy Tasmania will be to find that they’re not a part of Australia but maybe they’re used to it. As for Mark’s claim that ‘there should be no net loss of carbon’, does he realise that trees aren’t made of carbon? That the carbon is released when the wood is burned? Or maybe he’s talking about the amount of carbon dioxide in the environment process by the trees.

As for wood being ‘one of the most environmentally friendly forms of home heating’, is he insane? Slow combustion wood burners are incredibly polluting with the amount of smoke that is released. If all home heating was powered by wood burners, the skies would be permanently hazy and asthmatics and others with respiratory problems would be dropping all over the place.

This is a naive or deliberately deceptive missive from an industry that should face environmental realities and start to think about getting some new skills. And stop wasting everyone’s time by trying to convince us you’re all touchy-feelie warriors for the environment.

  • May 16, 2007