Re: birding-aus Firewood and habitat destruction

To: "Birding-aus" <>
Subject: Re: birding-aus Firewood and habitat destruction
From: "Calamanthus Pty. Ltd." <>
Date: Sun, 16 May 1999 12:26:58 +1000
The Victorian National Parks Association  has been doing
quite a bit of work on this issue in Victoria.  The person to contact is
Charlie Sherwin.

In Victoria the firewood industry harvests about the same volume of timber
per annum as the woodchip industry but the firewood comes mainly from the
box-ironbark and redgum forests.  At this stage very little comes from
plantations.  The majority of the firewood is from the box-ironbark forests
which are closer to Melbourne than the redgum forests.  The result is a
continuing degradation of forests which have already been reduced to less
than 10% of their pre-1750 extent, a situation which should (but will not)
result in total protection under the RFA process.

The use of plantations on private land closer to the centres of demand would
help to protect the natural forests.  The cost of transport is a major
factor in the economics of the industry so that reduced transport costs will
more than offset any increases in forest management costs.

One thing that all firewood users could do to help is this area is to ask
for and use firewood which has come from plantation forests grown for this
purpose and to avoid buying firewood sourced from forests which are

Euan Moore.

-----Original Message-----
From: Carol Probets <>
To:  <>
Date: Friday, 14 May 1999 7:40
Subject: birding-aus Firewood and habitat destruction

>Hello all,
>Today the icy winds are howling through the mountains and with them come
>realisation that winter will soon be here. It's this time of year that we
>clean out the slow combustion heater, order a load of firewood and again
>ponder the dilemmas of keeping warm in a cold climate.
>The RAOU Conservation Statement No 10 "Conserving Woodland Birds in the
>Wheat and Sheep Belts of Southern Australia" tells us that firewood
>production is Australia's second largest timber industry, consuming 6.1
>million tonnes of wood annually and that "most old trees, dead standing
>trees and fallen timber in woodlands and forests used for timber production
>have been removed", which has affected many hollow-nesting species and
>which depend upon plentiful supplies of nectar, insects in rotten wood,
>There is no doubt that the best burning wood in this part of the country is
>ironbark and most of the commercial firewood available in this area is
>advertised as ironbark, or box and ironbark. And we all know how important
>the ironbark and box woodlands are for birds such as the Regent Honeyeater,
>Swift Parrot and a host of others.
>Like many residents of the colder parts of Australia, using other forms of
>heating is not much of an option for me at the moment. Without the fire
>going in winter, my south-facing house is perpetually cold, damp and
>miserable. A wood fire is the only way I can make my home livable and stop
>the mould growing. I buy my firewood in the form of old railway sleepers,
>which usually burn very well, but I wonder how many years supply of those
>there are. Most Blue Mountains residents use ironbark as far as I can see.
>Is there anyone in Birding-aus who can provide some information on the
>firewood industry? For example, is most of the wood gathered from state
>forests or private property? Are there any plantations established for the
>purpose of firewood? Is a sustainable firewood industry, which doesn't
>destroy too much habitat, possible at all? Should we all be avoiding using
>certain types of firewood? Then again, perhaps other forms of energy are
>more destructive still? These are probably difficult questions to answer,
>but as a consumer I would like to be better informed and welcome any
>Carol Probets
>Katoomba NSW
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