Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

Forestry's Three Cs

Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

Forestry's Three Cs

Article excerpt

THE Australian Forests Growers' National Conference, running in Albury, has delivered what it promised under this year's theme - Forestry for a better future: Climate, commerce and communities.

The tone for the conference was set with an opening keynote address from futures analyst, Barney Foran, an adjunct research fellow with Charles Sturt University's Institute for Land, Water and Society, who told the conference's 260 delegates that farm forestry could best contribute to fighting climate change in Australia with large-scale plantings on farm land for use as biofuel.

The Australian Forests Growers, the national association representing the interests of private forest growers, used its annual general meeting at the conference to launch 34 policy statements it identified as important areas for improving the resilience, viability and contribution of the Australian private forestry sector.

"Forest-growing helps address climate change," said AFG president Tony Cannon. "It is important to get the message across that wood products harvested from forests store carbon for the life of the product and that new forests replace those that have been harvested with the result that net atmospheric carbon accumulations fall."

Mr Cannon said wood was a direct substitute for many emissions-intensive products.

"In the building industry, steel, aluminium and concrete all have a significant emissions profile, whereas the production of wood is carbon-neutral," he said.

"In electricity generation and the production of transport fuels, woody biomass represents a carbon-neutral alternative to technologies dependant on fossil fuels."

Other AFG policy statements addressed the opportunities for bioenergy and biofuel; the need for plantations in the landscape not to be treated any differently to other dryland crops or forms of land management (in terms of water use); and concerns about dangerously high fuel loads in many forests because of a trend towards an overly cautious approach to active fire management. …

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