Monthly Archives: March 2016

Taylor Guitars 2016 Spring Limited models


As a new addition to the 300-series Tasmanian blackwood/mahogany models, Taylor Guitars have added a limited release 8 string baritone model.

Read my review of the 300-series here:

This is Tasmanian farm-grown blackwood timber supplied by Tasmanian Tonewoods:

The future of Tasmanian special species timbers is here!

“..we will take wood….”


It didn’t take long.

No sooner had UNESCO ruled out logging the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area than the Tasmanian Government and sectors of the special timbers industry are already setting themselves up for yet another conflict with consumers, the environment movement and the Tasmanian community.

Tasmanian forest policy especially around so called special timbers just keeps going from the sublime to the ridiculous in a never ending spiral of senseless politics, waste, conflict and stupidity.

We are all being played for fools.

Here’s the press release from the Resources Minister Peter Gutwein (above):

Much of the information in the press release is old news as shown on the Department of State Growth website:

But the rhetoric in the press conference is clearly hostile and inflammatory. With a State election campaign coming up in 2017 forestry is yet again going to be one of the key election issues.

“…I’m not going to point the finger at anyone, but they know who they are…”

“..we will take wood…”

This is now very personal and vindictive, and above all else political.

It’s not about business.

It’s not about profitable tree growing.

It’s about taking wood [a public resource] and giving it to the “deserving” regardless of the cost or consequences.

When will Tasmania get a fully commercial profitable forest industry?

What can I do?

What can Tasmanian farmers do in the face of such relentless reckless commercial-opportunity and market-destroying stupidity?

Tasmania abandons World Heritage Area logging plans on UNESCO advice



It’s time to break out the champagne!!

In a rare show of forest-policy commonsense the Tasmanian Government has apparently accepted the umpire’s decision and abandoned plans to log special timbers (including Tasmanian blackwood) in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA).

News reports just in say the UNESCO recommendations will be accepted but that the Government was still committed to supporting the [special timbers] industry.

Here’s the Tasmanian Governments announcement on the UNESCO Report:

Here’s the single recommendation in the UNESCO report regarding logging the TWWHA and some worthwhile comments from the UNESCO Mission:

Recommendation 2

The State Party should confirm an unambiguous commitment that the property is off-limits to commercial logging in its entirety, and fully reflect this commitment in the Management Plan for the whole of the property.


The mission would like to put on record that it considers the interests of the special species timber sector per se fully legitimate and by no means excessive. Despite the regrettable lack of conclusive data, the mission finds it difficult to imagine that resource security could not be achieved in the vast forest estate available for logging outside of the TWWHA. While a mixed World Heritage property, recognized for globally significant cultural and natural heritage, is not the place to experiment in the view of the mission, there is every reason to further discuss and test sustainable forest management elsewhere in Tasmania in less polarized fashion. The political support to the special species timber industry should be channelled to areas available to commercial logging outside of the TWWHA, while fully considering that there are areas outside of the TWWHA, which are likewise of the highest conservation value, including in the Tarkine area. New approaches to manage the desired species can draw on longstanding research conducted in Tasmania and a growing body of knowledge about the ecology of the species (UNESCO, p. 13).


The concept of “outside the TWWHA” should include commercial private growers.

Here is the link to the UNESCO report:

To see my many blogs on this issue go here:

So now the State Government is faced with developing a Special Timbers Management Plan with next-to-no public special timbers resource.

What will be the next political play?

Tasmanian blackwood has been and will continue to be the backbone of the special timbers industry, and the only Tasmanian special timber species with the potential for a profitable commercial future on private land.

Will the Tasmanian Government and Parliament now look to a different future for the special timbers industry or will politics continue to reign supreme in Tasmanian forest policy?

Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association (TFGA)


The TFGA is the only peak farming lobby group in Australia that includes forestry in its list of major primary industries.

Curiously even Agforce Qld, which a few years ago helped fund a joint program with Timber Qld called AgForests Qld to promote better use/management of Qld private native forests, does not recognise/represent the forest industry.

Not even the National Farmers Federation considers forestry an important primary industry relevant or important to the rural community!

It real is extraordinary!

As a forester that says a great deal about the myopic views of the forest industry and the farming lobby.

An enormous ideological abyss still exists between the forest industry and agriculture.

Up until 10 years ago the forest industry was dominated by State governments, public forest resources and a community service business model. No self respecting farmers lobby bothered with forestry.

But not anymore!

Most wood now grown and sold in Australia comes from private commercial forest growers.

Forestry is now a real primary industry!

But the farming lobby groups have not understood the fundamental changes happening in the forest industry.

And the forest industry still doesn’t understand that its future is now with farmers and private land owners, and not with politicians.

The forest industry has no future unless it can get the farming lobby onside.

Alternatively the forest industry has no future whilst the farming lobby regards commercial tree growing as irrelevant and unimportant.

There is a lot of work to be done.

Here’s a list of the major farm lobby groups around Australia:

Tasmanian Farmers & Graziers Association

Victorian Farmers Federation

NSW Farmers Association

Queensland Farmers’ Federation

Agforce Qld

Primary Producers SA

Western Australian Farmers Federation

NT Farmers

National Farmers’ Federation


So why is the TFGA important to the future of the forest industry?

  • The future of the industry is with profitable commercially focused private tree growers;
  • We need a strong independent advocate for private growers to help counteract the political distortions and corruptions in the forest industry;
  • We need a new conversation about forestry that is not lead by politicians, sawmillers and conservationists.

So where is the TFGA as a strong independent advocate for private tree growers?

Forestry is the only primary industry that pits private growers against a taxpayer-funded Government grower? No other industry (diary, vegetables, fruit, beef, wool, etc) faces this problem!

The traditional advocates for the forest industry in Tasmania are politicians and the Forest Industries Association of Tasmania (FIAT) neither of whom give a toss for private tree growers.

So why do you think the forest industry is in such a mess?

We need policies that will help drive an efficient, commercially focused, flexible and profitable forest industry? And we need a strong independent advocate!

The TFGA website says: The TFGA constantly develops and reviews policies in almost every area of economic activity, through its board, committees, commodity councils and annual general meetings.

So where are these policies?? Certainly not on the TFGA website!

I should mention here that my definition of a forest industry is first and foremost focused on profitable tree growing. Profitable tree growing is the only basis for a successful forest industry, even if that means every log grown and harvested has to be exported.

Come on TFGA! We need you!! Organise some industry/community forums. Write some policies. Start a bold conversation about profitable tree growing!! Help implement the National Action Statement on Farm Forestry!

We need leadership!!!