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Timberlands Challenged: Support Woodchip/ Log Ban

Timberlands Challenged To Support Woodchip And Log Export Ban

Conservationists have challenged SOE Timberlands West Coast to support a retention of the ban on the export of native woodchips and logs.

The Forest and Bird Protection Society has made the challenge in response to Timberlands' claims they will not be woodchipping West Coast beech forests, even though the Government has introduced legislation that will specifically allow native woodchip and log exports.

Forest and Bird's Conservation Director, Kevin Smith, said that if Timberlands' denials were to have any credibility they would need to join conservationists in opposing the removal of the export ban on woodchips and logs.

"Timberlands has previously sought a domestic outlet for beech chip but without success. Mr Smith said that up to 70% of the wood in the West Coast beech forests was only suitable for chip production.

"While the publicity images are of grandfather clocks and rocking chairs made from beech timber, the reality is much of the wood is of low grade industrial quality."

"The temptation to liquidate this wood by exporting it as chip or as logs for processing overseas will be too great. Either Timberlands or a private buyer of the SOE will, we fear, take up the export markets opened up by a lifting of the ban," said Mr Smith.

Forest and Bird dismissed Government claims that woodchip and log exports would be acceptable because the logging was sustainable.

"Scientific submissions on the Government's logging proposals for the West Coast beech forests condemned the logging as highly disruptive to the beech forest wildlife, forest structure and ecosystem."

Mr Smith said woodchips were exported by the shipload and the large wood volumes involved could not be produced without causing substantial environmental damage.

"Sustainable forest management and the woodchip or log export trade are poles apart."

"If beech forests are to be sustainably managed, they need to be protected and introduced pests, such as wasps, possums and stoats, controlled. They should not be exported by the shipload to overseas pulp mills, as the Government proposes," said Mr Smith.


Ends.


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