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Logging on conservation land makes no sense – Forest & Bird

Logging on conservation land makes no sense – Forest & Bird

Forest & Bird says a planned law change to allow trees blown over on conservation land to be sold would not be economically viable, and would damage habitats on the publicly-owned conservation estate.

The West Coast Windblown Timber (Conservation Lands) Bill will be introduced to Parliament next week.

It will allow loggers to access conservation land, and take trees that were blown over by Cyclone Ita, for the next five years.

“The idea of not wasting timber may sound superficially sensible. But as soon as you look at the facts, the idea makes no economic sense at all,” says Forest & Bird Advocacy Manager Kevin Hackwell.

“Flooding the market with large volumes of timber from the conservation estate will pose a direct threat to the established sustainable native timber industry, which includes those indigenous timber production forests in Southland that are covered by the South Island Landless Natives Act.

“Sustainable producers have trouble finding a market for even the small quantity of certified sustainable native timber that is available at the moment, without introducing vast quantities of unsustainable timber, which this legislation would allow,” says Kevin Hackwell.

“Logging timber that has blown over is also incredibly dangerous. The trees are often lying at odd angles, intertwined with other trees, and under extreme stress. The logging industry in New Zealand already has a terrible safety record; harvesting windfall timber will be likely to make that even worse.”

Kevin Hackwell says that rotting timber is a vital component of the forest ecosystem.

“Wind-thrown trees must be allowed to decompose and recycle both their stored energy and nutrients back into the environment, for the benefit of our native wildlife, and the forest itself.”

“It looks as though this scheme has little to do with creating jobs, but a lot to do with the politics of winning the West Coast seat in September’s general election,” Kevin Hackwell says.


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