10 April, 2009

Plantantion sector place for jobs

Bruce McGregor, Brunswick
The Age (letter), April 10, 2009

IN JUSTIFYING the proposal to log native forests to save the forestry industry (The Age, 9/4), Philip Dalidakis continues to promote discredited myths.

For years the Victorian Association of Forest Industries has been in denial about the softwood plantation industry and the decline in real value of commodity woodchips of about 2 per cent a year.

Further, they claim they focus on native forest sawlog production for high-value timber products but these are only a tiny fraction of total timber harvested from softwood and hardwood plantations combined with native forest harvesting.

The real opportunity for employment is in the plantation sector, a sector undermined constantly by policies that price native forests so low to try to compete in the commodity export woodchip market.

The real value in native forests is in the water yield, which is reduced for decades following native forest clear-felling. Low water yields severely affect water supplies and Victoria's rivers.

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