Notice the headings across the top of the page. How do they compare with the New Zealand website?
The Australian website contains nothing about Contractors & Suppliers nor about Market Information & News!
Why is that?
Are there no forestry markets in Australia?
Do tree growers in Australia not want access to uptodate market information?
Or is it because profitable tree growing is not the focus of the forest industry in Australia?
New Zealand has a real forest industry where the focus is on supporting tree growers to make sure they are as viable and profitable as possible. That way more farmers plant trees, the forest industry expands and has a successful future.
It is a successful simple industry model!
PF Olsen NZ is acutely aware of this and do their bit to ensure tree growers and the forest industry share a successful future.
Go to PF Olsen’s New Zealand website and check out their Market Info & News. It’s a great resource for NZ farmers!
Curiously PF Olsen Australia does not seem to share the same vision.
The focus of the forest industry in Australia has always been about supporting and subsidising domestic processors, at the expense of growers and the future of the industry.
Curious to hear your thoughts on this.
Please post a comment…
PS. If anyone can find a single Australian forest industry website that provides uptodate market information I’d love to know. Thanks.
I just received this email about a sizable parcel of salvage blackwood that is currently avalable. Please feel free to contact Mark Smith – details below. If not sold the blackwood will be disposed of.
I received an enquiry from a landowner in the Ringarooma area, NE Tasmania who is clearing some native forest (stringy/white gum) under an FPP to put in a centre pivot and generating 500-800t of feature grade blackwood.
I’m not finding a huge amount of interest but pass the opportunity onto you for your consideration. Can you recommend any sawmillers or exporters across the north/northwest who might be interested?
I just thought I’d rave a bit more about the ridiculous FSC Standard for Economically Viable.
Clearly the FSC is completely confused and conflicted about whether forestry is welfare or commerce, or is it money laundering?
So far I have found two different definitions of what the FSC means by Economically Viable. The first example comes from FSC UK:
Economically viable forest management means that forest operations are structured and managed so as to be sufficiently profitable, without generating financial profit at the expense of the forest resource, the ecosystem, or affected communities. The tension between the need to generate adequate financial returns and the principles of responsible forest operations can be reduced through efforts to market the full range of forest products and services for their best value.
The FSC certification standard requires that a forest management entity have sufficient financial resources to manage the defined forest area in conformance with the full scope of the standard. The standard does not require that the certified forest is managed at a profit provided that other sources of working capital are available and sufficient to enable management in conformance with the standard.
Both these examples demonstrate that no one at the FSC has ever studied Economics 101 – basic economic theory and principles.
So let’s discuss the FSC UK definition first:
Of the two definitions it’s the one I like the most; not perfect but at least heading in the right direction. Clearly the UK believes that forestry (growing trees for wood production) is a business, not welfare or money laundering. But the wording could be improved and simplified.
So here is my edit of the UK definition:
Economically viable forest management means that forest operations are structured and managed so as to be profitable. Any subsidies to the forest grower must be available equally to all forest growers within the same jurisdiction.
The rest of the words are pointless. If the forest management is Environmentally Appropriate, Socially Beneficial but it is not profitable then presumably the forest owner would not harvest any trees, ie. No need to seek FSC certification.
If the forest management meets all three Standards, then there is no need to reiterate the environmental and social standards within the economic standard as the UK definition has done. It is superfluous text!
Meet all three Standards = Achieve FSC Certification!
What is “sufficiently” profitable is a decision for the forest owner to make, based on available markets, etc..
If the forest owner is subsidised to manage the forest for wood production (which may be the case in some countries), then the FSC must ensure that all forest owners within that same jurisdiction have equal access to the same subsidies, ie. The FSC has a duty to uphold the principles of competitive neutrality within the forest industry, and not advantage one forest grower over another.
Because of this “Standard”, private forest growers have no hope. Because of this “Standard” my Group has no future. How can it when annual taxpayer subsidies to public native welfare forestry are fully supported by the FSC and PEFC? Private growers don’t get FSC/PEFC approved annual taxpayer subsidies!!
Growing trees for wood production is a commercial activity. It is not welfare!
Should I join the FSC to help drive change within the FSC?
If Greenpeace resigned because it could not achieve meaningful change within the FSC what chance would I have of doing so?
On page 89 of the Annual Report is Table 16 summarising the 2019-20 production of specialty timbers from public native forest.
The bullshit around public native forestry in Tasmania is never ending.
Here I will just focus on a tiny piece of the fiasco-bullshit:
The following table shows the data from the STT annual report (page 89) summarising the annual sale of specialty timbers from the plunder of our public native forests; together with my own summary of Island Specialty Timbers (IST) annual log tender results:
Assuming the accountants and the editors have done their jobs, the IST log tender results should be a subset of the STT sales results.
For the past 50+ years it has been the focus of increasingly bitter community opposition.
The article mostly expresses the opinions of Gary Featherston, a professional forester and apologist for public native forestry.
Mr Featherston wishes us to believe that public native forestry is “hamstrung” by its political masters.
But what Mr Featherston describes is nothing more than the chaos of politically driven public administration. Every day the objectives change according to the winds of politics. Every day the chaos increases!
The chaos of public administration is bad enough in areas like education and health. But when it comes to pseudo-commerce like public native forestry the chaos takes on a whole new meaning!
Up until the 1990’s forestry in Australia was a Government run welfare scheme. Native forest and plantations were managed to provide jobs in regional Australia.
Today only NSW and WA have Government owned plantations. Today most timber grown and sold in Australia is privately owned. Profit is the motive! As it should be!!
And yet industry and Government policy in Australia is still focused on subsidising sawmillers/wood processors; ie. Policy is still focused on welfare.
Vicforests is not “hamstrung” as Mr Featherston wants us to believe!
Vicforests (and public native forestry around Australia) is the very embodiment of 19th century ideology well past its useby date.
Vicforests can never be divorced from the chaos of politics.
Politics is the permanent enduring Achilles Heel of public native forestry.
The future of forestry is in profitable private forest managers and growers, and until Australia recognises that fact we will continue on this endless cycle of conflict, stupidity and waste.
Here we are. Sawmillers who have spent generations being on the Government payroll are now complaining about having to exist in a global competitive market.
With the sale of Government pine plantations, the new plantation owners are free to sell their logs to whoever they like, including customers who are prepared to pay more than domestic customers/sawmillers.
Imagine that! Competition and free trade in the forest industry. Who would have guessed?
This is a classic forest industry sob story, about poor hard-done-by sawmillers who can’t compete in a global marketplace.
The softwood industry is no longer part of the Welfare Forestry System in Australia, except in Western Australia and New South Wales, where Governments have yet to privatise their plantation estates.
I just love the pity-me language:
“Our forefathers planted the trees — they were planted with a plan to create jobs into the future. It wasn’t about growing wood for Asia.”
A classic example of Trees-as-Welfare, not Trees-as-Commerce. The idea of growing trees to make a profit is anathema to these poor folk.
These sawmillers are demanding welfare not trees!
They are unwittingly demanding the destruction of their very own businesses and industry.
Clearly the Green Triangle Forest Industry Hub (GTFIH) is not the cohesive single-minded group that their website wants us to believe:
That’s forest industry speak for “hand over the taxpayers money now” and more political protection and subsidies please.
This is a typical piece of forest industry windy hyperbole; full of bluster, promise, and foreboding. I’ve been reading this kind of rubbish all my long forestry career.
The forest industry cannot convince Australian farmers to include commercial treegrowing in their business models.
Because the forest industry in Australia has zero commercial credibility!
So who then is the audience for this article?
None other than Governments and politicians of course.
This article is not written for the farming community.
As usual the forest industry talks about growing demand and supply shortages but fails to talk about markets, costs, prices and profits.
Forest policy in Australia has always been about loggers, sawmillers and processors – regional jobs.
Forest policy in Australia has never, ever been about profitable tree growers.
This article talks about regional jobs and communities, and deliberately avoids any mention of profitable tree growers.
Saving regional jobs – ie. Welfare forestry – is a major focus of the forest industry.
But welfare forestry is a dead end; a road to failure.
The only truism in this article is “we need to grow the plantation estate significantly and strategically”.
If forestry markets are so positive as this article wants us to believe, then why isn’t the marketplace responding and farmers planting trees? Surely that is the way markets work is it not? More demand triggers higher prices triggers more supply etc, etc.. Classic economics!!
But Australia does not have a forestry market. There is no relationship in Australia between wood supply, demand, price, cost and profit. None!
And that is the result of deliberate industry and Government policy.
The end result is that the forest industry has no commercial credibility and farmers don’t plant trees.
And the forest industry has no clue whatsoever how to fix this problem except write blustering rubbish like this.
After being audited in May 2019, and the audit report being finalised in February this year, Sustainable Timbers Tasmania (STT) this week were finally courageous enough to publically announce that it had once again failed FSC certification.
It has been more than 10 years since STT promised to gain FSC certification.
That’s 10 years of failure!
With Bunnings Hardware promising to only sell FSC certified products after 31st December 2020, the future for STT is not looking good. Bunnings is the largest retailer of Tasmanian oak products from Tasmania’s public native forests.
On 1st July this year Bunnings announced they would no longer sell public native forest products from Vicforests.
The long, slow, bitter, costly road to oblivion for public native welfare forestry in Australia is entering its final phase.
Meanwhile instead of questioning its own failings, or plotting a new course for the future, the forest industry is now waging an all out publicity war on anyone it regards as an enemy, including the FSC and Bunnings.
The culture within the forest industry has become neurotic and hostile.
How the forest industry responds and behaves in this final closing down of public native forestry in Australia will impact the greater industry for decades to come.
If the industry continues its current hostile virulent campaign then the brand/industry damage will be severe indeed.
The private forestry sector in Australia is already starved of oxygen in attempting to generate a positive image and message to the marketplace and the community.
A few more years of negative hostile publicity will alienate more of the marketplace and the community, and further isolate the forest industry.
The Australian forest industry desperately needs to improve its support within the broader community. Right now the opposite is happening.
Will the private forestry sector remain silent as its future is destroyed in this battle?
By the way this article had no impact whatsoever on the FSC audit: