Scott Gentle, Victorian state manager, Timber Communities Australia
The Weekly Times, 13 June 2007.
On World Environment Day I decided to take a trip to see how the carbon extraction facility up the road was going. Upon arrival I was greeted by one of the carbon utilisation experts, who guided me around the plant and showed me how they produced carbon storage units. Where was I? No, not at some high-technology factory, but a timber harvesting operation in the state forest.
The carbon utilisation expert was a timber harvesting contractor and the carbon storage unit a log. People need to realise that while planting trees is part of the solution in slowing climate change, by using wood and paper products from forest operations that are sustainably managed they are doing even more for the environment.
This means cutting down trees. Once they are cut down, the carbon within them is stored in the wood, whether it be turned into paper or timber. This is where Australia’s forests are at the top of the ladder, because they are managed with strict regulations to ensure that they are replanted with trees for future harvests. These trees are harvested at 60 to 100 years old, al an age before the tree starts to decline and release carbon.
If they are left there forever, they will eventually release the carbon they have stored. On top of this we have a growing plantation base that will absorb and store even more carbon.
I am not attacking alternative attempts to raise awareness of the matter of climate change, but want people to realise that forestry, when practised as it is in Victoria, is a benefit to the environment and not a threat as some would have you believe.