Tasmanians will go to the polls on 18th March. Of course with an election in Australia or Tasmania comes the usual bagging of the forest industry and timber company Gunns Ltd. This time a proposed pulp mill is developing as the point of contention, but really it is all about the ‘rights’ and ‘wrongs’ of cutting down tall trees.
Stephen Mayne from Crikey.com was rather vicious yesterday, writing that:
“John Gay [Gunns Chairman] knows how to slaughter trees and export woodchips, but building a huge pulp mill is in another league and some in the market think this simple but aggressive man doesn’t have the ability to deliver.”
Interestingly according to the Wilderness Society website:
“Gunns is the biggest native-forest logging company in Australia and the biggest hardwood-chip company in the world.
Gunns receives the overwhelming majority of logs destined for sawmills and woodchip mills from Tasmania. It owns all four export-woodchip mills in Tasmania. It exports more woodchips from Tasmania than are exported from all mainland states combined. Gunns exports over four million tonnes of native-forest woodchips each year.”
Gunns and Gay are survivors.
And with all the hype it is worth considering some statistics – like how much of Tasmania is logged? Barry Chipman from Timber Communities Australia sent me the following spreadsheet yesterday.
With 45 percent of Tasmanian forests not available for wood supply because this area is reserved, it could be concluded that relative to European countries, John Gay operates in an environment that affords a very high level of protection to its forests.
How does Europe compare to the rest of the world? What percentage of a country should be available for logging? What percentage of Tasmanian forests should be available for logging?
I live in a wooden house and I work off a wooden desk and I use paper everyday.