A new book was launched at the recent Australian Environment Foundation Conference. ‘Saving Australian Forests and It’s Implications’ by Mark Poynter is an important book for anyone wishing to make up their mind about the native forests question free from the emotional rhetoric that invariably accompanies its elevation onto the political stage prior to each state or federal election.
In particular, the book raises concerns that considerable and lasting environmental damage is resulting from the refusal of a fanatical core of activists to view the future of Australia’s forests from a holistic perspective.
For decades, the major focus of the Australian environmental movement has been ‘saving’ public native forests from timber harvesting. This continues to be a high priority for environmental activism despite Australia now having one of the world’s highest rates of forest reservation, while wood production in our public forests is sustainable and is acknowledged as having very low environmental impact.
Today’s campaigns to ‘save’ Australia’s forests have far less to do with genuine environmental need than with serving an ideological ‘lock-it-up-and-leave-it’ approach to forest and woodland management. This rejects the need to obtain any wood products, is at best ambivalent about active bushfire management and views government and business as impediments to environmental preservation.
This book charts the recent history of uncompromising and largely unprincipled ‘save-theforest’ activism, and examines the complicity of the media in shaping an ill-founded community view that is at odds with the reality of contemporary forest management. Written from the perspective of a long career caring for and managing forests, it challenges the conventional wisdom that ceasing local wood production and placing huge swathes of forest in national parks is the best way to protect the environment. It examines the implications of this in terms of climate
change, bushfire management, biodiversity conservation, water production and the rising level of rainforest timber imports.
Copies are available at $29.95 (including GST) from selected booksellers in Victoria and Tasmania, or can be obtained through the Institute of Foresters website, www.forestry.org.au, for $39.95 (including gst and postage and handling).
Mark Poynter has been a professional forester for 30 years and has extensive experience in all aspects of native forest management, fire management, plantation development and management, and farm forestry. Like most foresters, he has been frustrated by the public misrepresentations of forest management associated with the enduring conflict over wood production and forest fire management, particularly in southern Australia. He is a member of the Institute of Foresters of Australia and the Association of Consulting Foresters of Australia.