Tasmania’s special timbers are a renewable, biological resource.
Both the United Nation’s Convention on Biological Diversity and The IUCN Policy Statement on Sustainable Use of Wild Living Resources (IUCN 2000) recognise that sustainable use is fundamental to the economies, cultures and wellbeing of people, and highlights that sustainable use is an important conservation tool because it provides people with incentives for conservation. (Kothari A. et al. 2015)
Conservation through sustainable use of biological resources is an internationally accepted way of not only ensuring species survival but also a way to provide additional benefits for reserve management. In the Tasmanian context, active management of special timber forests provides additional environmental benefits such as access for firefighting vehicles, invasive species management and even greater access for apiarists whose bees pollinate leatherwood rich forests.
Well managed harvesting in special timber forests also ensures a continuing sustainable supply of special timbers, reducing problematic unregulated poaching of timber from these areas.
Another key environmental benefit in using special timbers in manufactured products is that carbon is stored in long lasting products. In their 2016 paper titled Forestry for a Low Carbon Future, The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation stated;
Given their ability to store carbon in standing trees and long-lasting wood products, sustainably harvested forests have the potential to surpass the carbon storage benefits provided by conserved forests over the long term.
Many of the products in today’s society are made from non-renewable materials that have end of life disposal issues that are potentially environmentally destructive. Products made from special timbers have the ability to be re-purposed in a cascading life-cycle providing carbon mitigation benefits for many, many decades. There are numerous examples of special timber products such as furniture, musical instruments and even boats that were built over 100 years ago still in use today.
In the end, careful and sustainable use of our forests will deliver the best environmental outcome in the long term.
For further information, see Sustainability.