Tag Archives: special timbers

Review of the DRAFT Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area Management Plan 2014: Director’s report and representations

The Tasmanian Planning Commission (TPC) has just released the TWWHA Managememt Plan 2014: Director Report and Representations.

http://www.iplan.tas.gov.au/Common/Output/TrimWS.aspx?id=811538&ext=PDF

With UNESCO emphatically ruling out it out the issue of logging special timbers in the TWWHA is now dead and buried (at least until the next management plan review).

Timber Harvesting is discussed on pages 11-12 of the TPC report.

However the TPC is clearly confused. It interpreted my representation as supporting special timbers logging in the World Heritage Area!!

Ok! Maybe I didn’t explicitly say NO!

Maybe I was too analytic and not emphatic enough.

https://blackwoodgrowers.com.au/2015/02/10/draft-twwha-management-plan-representation/

So let me make this perfectly and emphatically clear –

In no way do I agree that the Draft Plan “allow[ed] the management of Tasmania’s unique special species timber for sustainable production within legislated categories of reserves …[whilst] not compromising the Outstanding Universal Values for the TWWHA”.

I do NOT support any special timbers harvesting in the TWWHA!!

I just wanted to clear that up and leave no doubt in anyone’s mind.

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First Hydrowood Tender

hydrowood2

http://www.themercury.com.au/news/tasmania/harvesting-lakes-sunken-treasure/story-fnj4f7k1-1227626537090

The first 38 lots of Hydrowood logs and sawn timber are now open for public tender. The sawn material is whole logs sawn into 50mm slabs.

http://hydrowood.com.au/

A total of 35.4 cubic metres of timber and logs are for sale of which 21.4 cubic metres (60%) are blackwood. Two of the blackwood logs are milled into 50mm slabs. Blackwood logs range in size from 0.4 to a massive 3.03 cubic metres. The Three of the 16 blackwood logs are noted as having feature grain.

This is a significant parcel of blackwood logs to go to public tender.

Details of individual lots and tender forms and rules are available here:

http://www.islandspecialtytimbers.com.au/shops/ist/logs-for-tender

The following table summarises the tender details:

HW1215

This is the first of what is expected to be 80,000 cubic metres of special timbers to be salvaged over the next 3 years. This is far more special timbers than has ever been supplied to market before. Most of this volume will be blackwood.

It is far more wood than the domestic market can accommodate. It will take some time before mainland and international buyers become aware of these sales and become involved. So I’m not expecting a great result from these first few tenders.

This material is available for viewing at Wynwood Sawmill, about 7 km from Wynyard.

I’m happy to promote these sales for a number of reasons, and look forward to seeing greater volumes, competition, and demand and price transparency in the special timbers market.

Hopefully demand and price will keep pace with supply.

Offers for this tender must be received by 11.00 pm Tuesday 8 December 2015:

  • by email to murray.jessup@forestrytas.com.au by 11 pm.
  • hand delivered to: Forestry Tasmania, 79 Melville St, Hobart, by cob, 5 pm.
  • mailed to: ‘SFM Hydrowood Tender’, Forestry Tasmania, Box 207, Hobart, TAS, 7001.

Reserve prices apply to material in this tender sale, negotiations with bidders will occur if an offer is within 10 % of the reserve price.

 

Specialty timber industry has Tasmanian Government support, despite [WHA] logging doubts

ST1

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-11-24/state-government-backs-speciality-timber-industry/6969944

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-11-23/hodgman-hoping-to-convince-unesco-delegation-of-logging-plan/6966218

http://www.themercury.com.au/news/tassie-tourism-leaders-in-key-talks-with-united-nations-heritage-body/story-fnj4f7kx-1227620092494

Mr Hodgman was confident of changing the [UNESCO] delegation’s mind.

“We’ve every confidence that the delegation are open to understanding what we do in Tasmania and accepting, we believe, that an appropriate balance is in place,” he said.

“Any harvesting would be subject to considerable controls and environmental protection, including at a national level.”

But if unsuccessful, the Premier said logging would be banned.

 

The UNESCO delegation is in town to find out “what we do in Tasmania”.

what we do in Tasmania”…???

What we do in Tasmania is make stupid forest policy and then stuff things up, again and again!

What is perfectly obvious from the last 35 years is that politically-driven forest policy in Tasmania has been a disaster for both the forest industry and the Tasmanian community.

The “appropriate balance” in place is nothing more than wedging the community and winning elections.

It has nothing to do with good profitable sustainable forest management.

And as for “considerable controls and environmental protection” haven’t these been in place for decades but still the special timbers industry is in crisis?

It’s not about the controls and protection is it? The dominant issue continues to be the politics and conflict.

Our forest industry will never be profitable and sustainable because logging public native forests is just too political. There is no resolution to this problem except stopping the logging of public native forest. That is the fundamental lesson of the last 35 years.

One thing is absolutely 100% guaranteed. Any logging of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area would be an ongoing battleground that would further damage the Tasmanian community and our political system for decades to come. Not to mention the incredible waste of money and time it would entail.

Both of the major political parties DO NOT support the special timbers industry because they DO NOT support profitable tree growers.

Without profitable tree growers the special timbers industry has no future at all.

Tasmanian politics really does beggar belief!

When will Tasmania get a fully commercial profitable forest industry?

Hydrowood update

hydowoodS

The long anticipated Hydrowood project is finally under way on Lake Pieman on Tasmania’s west coast salvaging specialty timbers from flooded hydro dams.

http://www.examiner.com.au/story/3505999/lake-pieman-site-of-australian-first-underwater-logging-video/?cs=95

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-11-20/the-hunt-for-sunken-treasure-harvesting-underwater-timber/6957388?WT.ac=statenews_tas

Here is the projects new website.

http://hydrowood.com.au/

I have both hopes and fears for this project in terms of what it could do for the special timbers/blackwood market.

My hopes are that through Hydrowood sales the company will provide much needed special timbers price and market transparency. This is unlikely to happen but I will certainly be encouraging the company management to adopt a commercial/transparent model.

The main driver that will encourage Tasmanian farmers to grow commercial blackwood is if there is much more price and market transparency. Can I get Hydrowood on board?

Ideally I would like to see Hydrowood set aside the very best logs from the salvage operation and every 3-6 months have a major auction.

Let us put 1,000 cubic metres of Tasmania’s finest timbers on the auctioneers table every 3 months and see what the market is prepared to pay!

Let us clearly demonstrate that the forest industry has commercial muscle and is no longer a community service.

Let us use this opportunity to stimulate interest in the real value of quality timber, and growing trees as a profitable investment and primary industry.

The fears are that a) they will flood the market and drive down prices, or b) the ST oligarchy that are currently pushing for World Heritage logging will force the Government to put restrictions on the Hydrowood markets/prices, or c) given the history of the last 40 years that this will turn into yet another Tasmanian forest industry disaster.

Hydrowood estimates they will salvage 80,000 cubic metres of special timbers over the next 3 years, with the possibility of the project lasting another 5 years. This is far more special timbers than has ever been supplied to market before. I would be surprised if the Australian market can absorb this volume of wood. Some of it will have to go to export markets. Perhaps all of it should go to export markets.

Much of this 80,000 cubic metres will be blackwood.

I don’t have a problem with our valuable timbers going for export, especially if they are attracting premium prices and the market is kept informed.

What this huge volume of premium wood will do for the special timbers market and for prices will soon enough become apparent.

The Hydrowood project will definitely have a prolonged and significant impact on the profitability of a number of important Tasmanian businesses. Consequently there will be political repercussions.

So now the Tasmanian special timbers market has four different classes of suppliers:

  1. Forestry Tasmania and its subsidiary Island Specialty Timbers selling taxpayer-subsidised, community service special timbers from public native forests, for which the Tasmanian/Australian taxpayer contributes $80 per cubic metre to subsidise the sawmillers and craftspeople [unprofitable and unsustainable];
  2. Hydrowood supplying salvaged special timbers from Hydro dams, at a cost that reflects the cost of salvage [profitable (??) and unsustainable];
  3. Tasmanian farmers selling salvage special timbers from their farms at a cost that reflects the cost of salvage [profitable and unsustainable];
  4. Tasmanian farmers who are actually growing commercial, sustainable special timbers where the cost of the wood actually reflects the cost of growing, harvesting and replanting the trees [profitable (??) and sustainable]. These poor farmers now have a very difficult market in which to operate and compete. They have absolutely no support from the Government or industry. Do they have any support from the market?

If the State Government goes ahead with logging the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area there will be a fifth supplier in the special timbers market – taxpayer-subsidised, unprofitable and unsustainable.

If that’s not a buyers dream market I don’t know what is!

How can Tasmania’s special timbers and blackwood industries have any future with this mess of a marketplace?

The only business model for a successful forest industry is profitable tree growing. So where are the profitable tree growers in any of this mess?

Does Tasmania really want a special timbers industry? It sure doesn’t look like it!

Dear reader, please think carefully before making your next special timbers purchase.

It really is a pathetic joke!

But good luck to the Hydrowood team.

It’s a shame we can’t have a profitable, commercial and sustainable special timbers industry in Tasmania, as well as the clean-up and salvage.

HydrowoodBlackwood

Some Hydrowood salvaged blackwood – unique but how valuable is it?

 

 

Craft War!

Craft-War-Weekend-Australian

I just found this article in The Australian from 10th October 2015 by the Tasmania correspondent Matthew Denholm.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/life/weekend-australian-magazine/tasmanian-forests-timber-craftsmen-and-another-looming-battle/story-e6frg8h6-1227563469827

Oh the sad stories of taxpayer-funded cultural and family heritage. It’s enough to make one weep with sympathy.

But as a forester after watching this fiasco for 35 years these stories don’t work for me anymore. My sympathy was consumed in the forestry wars of the last 20 years, and the ongoing blatant politicisation of the forest industry in Tasmania.

Forestry is just about wedging the community and winning elections – nothing more.

Now I’ve had enough of the sob stories. In fact I feel deeply offended by this ongoing stupidity.

The public native forest special timbers industry has never been and never will be sustainable nor profitable. And all the fine craftsmanship and beauty in the world will not make it so.

This is not a Tony Abbott moment revisited! Good [special timbers] forestry does not start tomorrow, nor any other day.

The past 30 years have clearly demonstrated that good, profitable public native forestry will never happen in this State.

Most special timber craftsmen lay much of blame for the emerging crisis on the politicians and timber barons who presided over a forestry industry that “wasted” vast volumes of special timbers in a head-long rush to clear old-growth forests.

Excuse me!! Ever since I can remember the special timbers industry has pretty much universally supported the industrial forestry orthodoxy and State Government policy, including the 1996 Tasmanian Regional Forestry Agreement. They didn’t really have any choice in the matter. All the forest policy was made for the big boys. The cheap subsidized wood provided by large scale industrial forestry is exactly what allowed the special timbers industry to thrive over the past 40 years.

So to turn around now and blame the politicians and greenies is disingenuous in the extreme.

…until the politicians squandered it!

The politicians did indeed squander it [our public native forest resource] and the vast majority of Tasmanians including the special timbers industry were right there in full support. Millions of tonnes of special timbers burnt and chipped over the last 40 years.

And now it’s time for tears and regrets?

Find someone else to blame? Don’t take any personal responsibility?

No! It’s now game over!!

No sympathy! No excuses! No exceptions! No Tony-Abbott promises of “good forestry tomorrow”!!

What little remains of our precious old growth and rainforest must not be used for further political games, waste, and stupidity.

However, Paul Harriss faces stiff resistance from many of the craftsmen in whose name he is -acting. They might be united in condemnation of previous “waste” of their resource, but they are divided when it comes to securing new ¬supplies from within the TWWHA.

“If a government decision was taken to harvest inside a World Heritage Area, I think we would suffer a backlash,”

Absolutely!

The community reaction would rival if not exceed the Franklin Dam blockade. The damage done to Tasmania’s reputation, as a recalcitrant belligerent State would take decades to heal.

Brand Tasmania would be completely trashed!!

The article finishes with what I regard as a complete falsehood:

Whichever way the issue plays out, the special timbers and traditional skills that shaped a state are in ¬danger of being consigned to its past.

It’s the usual dramatic scaremongering that the mainstream media loves to peddle.

This article did not cover anything like half the real story of the special timbers industry. It just repeated what has been repeated many times before. There are many aspects of the story that were completely ignored.

The special timbers and the skills will not be consigned to the history books and museums. They will be confronted with reality just like the ivory traders and whalers were. Those that choose too can adapt and change to the new reality. Those that choose not to change will no doubt chew their old bones for comfort.

My own proposal to develop the commercial potential of growing blackwood timber via a blackwood growers cooperative is just one of the many special timbers opportunities waiting to be developed. But it’s not likely to happen whilst the old wars and the old warriors continue to play their games.

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

Labor backs special timbers logging in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area

http://www.themercury.com.au/news/politics/labor-releases-policy-for-tasmanias-special-timber-industry/story-fnpp9w4j-1227461792420

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-07-29/ltasmanian-labor-backs-specialty-timber-logging-in-wilderness/6656556

Green_Elrond

State opposition leader Bryan Green today announced a policy for Tasmania’s special timber industry, supporting logging within the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA).

After a brief hiatus the Labor and Liberal parties are once again in lock-step on forest industry policy in Tasmania.

Once again forest industry policy in Tasmania is driven by politics, waste and community conflict.

“tread widely, tread lightly”

The politicians want us to believe that special timbers is only about fairy land, a magic wand and elvish forest management.

There is no mention of UNESCO, the World Heritage Committee, Forest Stewardship Council, taxpayer subsidies, sacking teachers and nurses, or the last 30 years of politics, waste and community conflict.

Nor is there mention of private blackwood growers.

Instead our politicians will wave the elvish wand and middle earth will magically appear.

It’s just rubbish and deception.

Forestry is not a taxpayer-funded community service!

Nor is this middle earth!

Last month, UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee urged the Australian and Tasmanian governments to ban commercial logging within the TWWHA.

https://blackwoodgrowers.com.au/2015/05/31/unesco-calls-for-changes-to-tasmanias-draft-world-heritage-management-plan-to-prohibit-logging-and-mining/

https://blackwoodgrowers.com.au/2015/07/06/tasmanian-wilderness-world-heritage-area-logging-proposal/

So in good old fashion style our State politicians are once again joining forces to wage war over our forests.

The Tasmanian community will once again be the losers.

With classic political vote winners like “long-term security”, “consultation” and “striking an appropriate balance” we have heard it all dozens of times before.

Absolutely nothing has changed for our pollies.

Except now a lot more Tasmanians are sick and tired of the conflict and nonsense around the forest industry. Not to mention squandering $millions of taxpayer dollars and sacking teachers and nurses, and charging electricity users to help subsidise the forest industry. A lot more Tasmanians will express extreme displeasure if this nonsense continues.

Specialty timber groups believe they were left with an extremely restricted resource after the Tasmanian Forest Agreement was finalised in 2013 and new tracts of forests were declared off-limits. The agreement was repealed by the current Tasmanian Government in 2014.

What absolute rubbish! So called specialty timber groups were left without a (public native forest) resource because of 30+ years of failed forest industry policy; a policy that tied the industry to the election cycle and gave everything to industrial woodchipping leaving nothing but platitudes and tears for the specialty timber groups.

I must say after listening to this sort of rubbish for 30+ years I’m getting pretty sick of it. The culture of entitlement within the forest industry that former Gunns CEO Greg L’Estrange mentioned recently is certainly prevalent within sections of the special timbers industry.

The forestry wars are well and truly heating up once again.

Stand by for the media/community backlash.

The special timbers industry is on a hiding to nothing.

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

An invitation to participate in the Special Species Timber Management Plan

stsmp email

This email arrived in my inbox on Friday from Minister for Resources Paul Harriss. This may be interesting. Or else it will be the same old stuff we’ve seen before – or worse!!

I am not holding out much hope.

But I do pity the poor consultants who sign up for these jobs. Imagine helping to justify logging the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area at taxpayers’ expense whilst we are sacking teachers and nurses. How on earth do you keep any sort of professional integrity or reputation in all of that?

I’m looking forward to having a discussion with “Mr Blair Freeman or one of his team”. I wonder if they understand that forestry is a business not a division of Centrelink Australia?

This management plan is not due to be completed/released before 2017 in time for the next State election.

One thing is absolutely guaranteed. This management plan will not contain any discussion of commercial issues. Nor will it consider the possibility of Tasmanian farmers growing special timbers.

The idea that Tasmanian farmers are already growing and harvesting special timbers, and would likely grow more if given the right market signals, will be completely ignored in this management plan.

The fundamental assumption will be that special timbers can only come from taxpayer-subsidised Tasmanian public native forests.

In other words it will not be a business plan but a glossy political/marketing document, like the 2010 Special Timbers Strategy.

I shall keep you informed as this proceeds.