Special Timbers Management Plan Update #2



Over at the Tasmanian Department of State Growth website they now have some information about special timbers.

Yet another Special Timbers Management Plan is being prepared.

The Management Plan is required to be in place by October 2017, with the draft Plan available for public comment in early 2017.

So get those pens warmed up. You only have 18 months to wait before you are permitted to have your say!!

Current work to inform the development of the Management Plan includes:

  • A resource assessment of the special timber resource available in existing production forest managed by Forestry Tasmania;
  • Market demand research is being undertaken to better understand demand for special timbers;
  • celery-top pine harvesting trial as part of investigations into alternative harvesting techniques;

It’s an incredibly myopic view of special timbers:

  • No mention is made of the fact that blackwood is by far the dominant special timber, accounting for over 90% of volume harvested each year.
  • No mention is made of the commercial potential of private grown Tasmanian blackwood.
  • No mention is made of the fact that blackwood sawlog supply and Tasmania’s iconic blackwood industry is now in jeopardy due to decades of overcutting and mismanagement by Forestry Tasmania and successive State governments.
  • No mention is made of the current and recent markets for special timbers including price and demand history. For example a summary and review of The Island Specialty Timbers public tender results for the past 5 years would make for very interesting reading. See my annual reviews of IST blackwood tender results as an example:


  • No mention is made about possible sales, costs, prices and marketing arrangements;
  • No mention is made of the continuing fiasco of Tasmania’s most valuable timbers being a taxpayer-funded community service.
  • No mention is made of how the ongoing harvesting of special timbers from public forest will be funded, or how much it is likely to cost. One suspects that (as in the past) financial and commercial matters will not be discussed in this forthcoming management plan.
  • There’s no mention of the new Hydrowood project that is going to be supplying the market with significant volumes of salvaged special timbers over the next 5-10 years.


  • Unfortunately there is also absolutely no information about the proposal to log the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, and the recent visit to Tasmania by delegates from UNESCO. This issue of international importance is completely ignored! I guess the Tasmanian Government does not want the UNESCO delegates to be fully informed, let alone anyone else who has concerns about World Heritage management.
  • They can’t even provide a Table of Contents, an indication of the scope of the management plan.

Would I be correct in guessing that State government special timbers policy is all about politics and supporting a handful of woodworking mates?

There is nothing here about commercial opportunity or industry development.

There is absolutely nothing here for existing and prospective commercial blackwood growers.

Once again its totally pathetic!


When will Tasmania get a fully commercial and profitable forest industry?

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