As the end of the year nears, it may well be an opportune time to take a deep collective breath, and to not only reflect on what by any measure has been a challenging 12 months, but to also start planning ahead and looking forward to the opportunities that 2021 will no doubt present.
Of course, the forestry industry will be seeking to build momentum in the year ahead and beyond – and, as outlined below, bioenergy is an area of focus for industry amid ongoing economic recovery efforts taking place around the world following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, in this issue we’ve trained our attention on a range of equipment decked out to get the job done, including a range of mulchers and grapple saws, along with new tree shear products.
We’ve also taken a look at a demo of a new Feller Buncher with Coppice Spray System as well as at the partnership between family-owned-and-operated hardwood timber mill Wamuran Timbers and CJD Equipment, with Wamuran having recently added an SDLG LG946L wheel loader to its fleet, providing extra versatility across its operations.
The Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) has released a snapshot of Australia’s forest products industry, in which it points to the role of the industry as a keystone employer in many regional towns.
The AFPA details that the forest industries provide direct employment for 80,000 people and indirect employment for 100,000 people, with its industry snapshot additionally showing that:
- More than 70 million plantation trees are planted by the forest industries every year
- Our forestry operations are carbon positive, with plantations storing 258
- million tonnes of carbon
- Forest industries contribute $24 billion to Australia’s economy per year
- Australia has a trade deficit of more than $2 billion a year in forest products
- There are almost 2 million hectares of hardwood and softwood forest plantations in Australia
- There are 132 million hectares of native forest in Australia, with less than 0.06 per cent harvested each year and always regenerated.
Bioenergy A Forestry Focus
The AFPA is supporting an initiative which highlights the role that forest products can play in replacing fossil fuel-based products to help promote economic rebuilding and recovery in the wake of COVID-19.
In a statement, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation’s Advisory Committee on Sustainable Forest-based Industries (ACSFI) has pointed to the “unique chance to substitute high fossil fuel-based products with those from a renewable resource”, asserting that “a sustainable forest sector lies at the heart of COVID-19 recovery plans that seek to build back better”.
“Forest industries can provide reliable, renewable energy and smart, low-emission products to drive economic growth.”
AFPA Chief Executive Ross Hampton, who is also Deputy Chair of the ACSFI, highlighted the role that the forest industry can play in helping to develop the new bioeconomy.
“We know bioenergy can deliver baseload power 24 hours a day, seven days a week, unlike many alternative renewables, and wood fibre is a sustainable, natural resource that produces renewable wood and paper products, including new innovative bioproducts,” he commented.
“That is also recognised globally, and forest industries overseas are keen to work with their governments to help develop this, just like we are here.”
Hampton said that, amid both the ongoing global fight against COVID-19 and an increasing need for economic recovery, “forest industries can provide reliable, renewable energy and smart, low-emission products to drive economic growth”.
“We already know that since the start of COVID-19, the Australian forest industries’ supply chain has been providing essential products and services,” he commented. “Demand for those renewable products continues to increase, from medical bioproducts, packaging for food, to building supplies and biomass for heating.
“Australia’s forest industries are ready to play an increased role in the global economic recovery effort, ensuring the flow of essential and renewable products, and we stand behind ACSFI in getting the
‘Build Back Better’ message to global policy makers and the public.”
Landscape Demonstration Site Program Launches In Tasmania
The Tasmanian government has advised of the launch of the Landscape Demonstration Site Program, which will help to plant 212 hectares of shelterbelts and woodlots on seven Tasmanian farms over the next year.
The $600,000 initiative, which is jointly funded by the Australian and Tasmanian governments, is being operated by Tasmanian government authority Private Forests Tasmania.
“This initiative is great news for our farmers and primary producers because it will allow them to integrate trees into existing farming enterprises, including prime lamb, wool, grass seed, cereal grains, forestry, aquaculture, dairy, beef, cropping, seed growing and potential future horticultural crops,” Tasmanian Minister for Resources Guy Barnett commented.
Private Forests Tasmania has also launched its Tree Alliance marketing campaign, which “aims to raise awareness of farm forestry and the benefits of trees on farms, and to encourage and facilitate farmers to plant commercially viable trees in the agricultural landscape”.
Further info on the Tree Alliance campaign can be found here www.treealliance.com.au/