Forest experts say no benefit from a Great Forest National Park

Victorian activists are loudly beating the drum about the survival of the enchanting  Leadbeater’s Possum being solely dependent upon declaration of their proposed Great Forest National Park.

The activists have an enticing website, make lots of noise in the media and have attracted lots of supporters.

This is an important public policy matter.

Scientists aren’t savvy marketers or communicators and their voice is barely audible in the media. Kurrumbene looked into the views of expert scientists who know the forests and the ecosystem. The Institute of Foresters of Australia (IFA) appears to have made a detailed examination of the issues involved, coming from a scientific angle. The conclusions made can be summed up as – activists have gilded the lily in their effort to convince the Victorian government to adopt their park idea as 2018 election policy.

The IFA is the highly respected 80-year-old professional body for qualified foresters (including forest ecologists) in Australia. Find out what the IFA has to say HERE. Victorian readers – why not share this with your local MPs, council members and local media and ensure they are well-informed ahead of the election.

A further problem is that the Park proposal plays no heed to the huge community suffering that would impact every person and family associated with the sustainable production of timber in that region. The activists vision would see the industry shutdown and the human suffering has been seen time and time again in former timber regions when businesses are forced to close, jobs shutdown and families face financial and emotional trauma. Many blue collar workers never work again – that is devastating.

Activists ignore the suffering of those people further away in Gippsland and Melbourne too, who would lose their jobs processing, manufacturing, delivering, marketing, retailing and installing products from the Australian grown timber. They also ignore the fact that every indigenous tree harvested is regenerated (at law) and that legal timber production is not a zero-sum game – trees are all regrown – the cycle goes on and the carbon grown in each tree continues to be stored forever in the products made.

They also ignore that Australian families love Australia’s own indigenous timbers (adapted perfectly to our harsh climate) and want to use sustainable, renewable timber in their homes, decks, offices, schools, sports arenas and other public buildings.

Given the proposal comes from people who take pride in prioritising the environment above all else, it’s passing strange that they totally ignore a terrible outcome:-  ceasing  local timber harvesting will cause the equivalent amount of timber to be imported from Asian forests to our north. Those production systems are mostly inferior (i.e. not environmentally sustainable) to Australia’s. It would in fact be a poorer environmental outcome in a global sense to be shipping in more of that, burning more fuel to get it here and filling Australian homes with that product. Australia is already a net importer of timber and should never adopt policies that boost demand for unsustainably produced timber in poorer countries with poorer workplace safety and wages.

The Great Forest National Park is not a well considered policy and will not deliver good outcomes. It should not be supported.

 

 

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