• North Coast Environment Council

    Formed in 1976, we are the peak umbrella environment group in northern NSW. We cover the area from the Hunter to the Tweed and west to the New England Highway. We also actively support other campaigns further afield. We receive no government funding and have no paid staff or central office. Our members and office-bearers work around the region, often travelling large distances to assist others as we organise in our defence of the environment and the communities it sustains. We rely on donations and the efforts of our members and volunteers, to remain effective. If you would like to make a tax deductible donation to assist us with our work, we guarantee plenty of bang for your buck. Post us a message to this site and we will get back to you.
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Export Woodchips: Good Riddance

The North Coast Environment Council welcomes the decision announced today by Boral Timber, to exit the export wood-chip business.

This decision has been a long time coming. For more than 30 years, conservationists have worked to end this destructive activity which has seen millions of trees from north coast forests taken to be wood-chipped and shipped to the paper mills of Japan.

However these days the Japanese paper mill operators want to be able to sell their paper with a label proclaiming that it has come from responsibly managed forests or plantations, and ‘business as usual’ forestry in Australia is no longer acceptable to them. They now require woodchips to be certified under the Forest Stewardship Council scheme as ‘not damaging high conservation values’.

Boral had recently applied for its wood-chipping operations to be certified under the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) label and audits were conducted of forestry operations on the north coast.

Conservationists mounted a strong campaign in opposition: organising submissions, commissioning expert opinion, and taking the auditors to a number of sites to demonstrate the environmental damage caused by logging.

“We believe we were able to effectively demonstrate that high conservation values ARE definitely being damaged by forestry activities in the public forests of NSW,” said NCEC President Susie Russell.

“While the audit and certification results have not been released, we can only speculate that Boral and the Forestry Corporation failed to convince the auditors that their logging is not harmful. Being unable to sell woodchips with the FSC label, Boral had no option but to close down this component of their business.

“This gives the NSW Government an opportunity to dramatically reduce the intensity of logging that is trashing north coast forests,” she said.

“Our forests are worth more standing. They provide food and shelter to species of animals found nowhere else in the world. They protect our catchments and downstream water quality, and, if left to grow old act as a reservoir, providing water in times of low rainfall.

“Our question to Premier O’Farrell is this “Will he give our forests a reprieve and let them grow older so they can provide future generations with valuable environmental services? Or will he subsidise another wood-chipping industry that props up a handful of logging and trucking jobs at the expense of environmental benefits for all?”, she asked.

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One Response

  1. Absolutly splendid news, it a travisty that it was allowed to go on for so long!.

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