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  1. At the heart people are very conservative and this is a core reason why innovation is never easy. The current scenario, as described by Dr Bradbury, has state forestry agencies as the arm of political parties to support a few large corporate tree growers. Therefore, any support is designed within this business model (refer MIS etc). Innovation requires a step outside this business model.

    This is the crux of the problem for Jan Davis (TFGA), Gunns, FT (Bob Gordon), the political parties and the IGA. Regional development funds from the IGA are required to fund opportunities (R&D or innovation if one prefers). Unfortunately,  stakeholders within any current business model (forestry, retail, education or any other) will attempt to minimise funds proposed for use outside the current business model. This is also precisely why the phrase “Isolate Innovation” is used in business management theory to achieve real innovation. Who in the current management ranks of the stakeholders has this courage?

    Posted by Mark  on  26/03/12  at  07:18 AM
  2. Could Dr. Bradbury please explain a little more about the growing needs of Blackwood,  how many trees per hectare, rate of growth, diseases, and how long before harvesting takes place. Will these be genetically modified for fast growth? and the timber as stable as Blackwood found in native forests.
    Also does it have flowers useful for honey production etc.
    It is indeed a beautiful wood, a pity some of the earlier tree farms were not sown with Blackwood, they might have been available for harvesting right now!!!!

    Posted by foolproof  on  26/03/12  at  01:34 PM
  3. My understanding of Blackwood is that it not a pioneering species, in its early period it is a light demander and would benefit from being started off as an under-story in nitens plantations if these have been heavily thinned.
    Where Eucalyptus plantations have been planted instead of clearing these in one fell swoop, repeated thinning should be taken and either under-planted with Blackwood or if required for grazing, thinned until there is sufficient light available for grass to grow. Stumps could be left until they are dead and easily uprooted without the costly exercise entailed in the ABC Landline program Sunday March 25th 2012

    Posted by J A Stevenson  on  26/03/12  at  03:22 PM
  4. Hello Gordon Bradbury,
    I agree with your statement:”... one reason for the lack of recognition for the coop is the absence of any vision/plan for the future of the forest industry. Neither the forest industry, private forest growers nor the Government has yet to come up with a vision of the future post-IGA that includes commercial, social and political relevance. Until enough people start thinking positively about the future of the industry I suspect that ideas like a blackwood growers cooperative will find it difficult to attract attention. “

    Yes Gordon, “ the forest industry in Tasmania has a great future if the correct policies are put in place. The future of the forest industry rests upon private growers, both industrial and farmer. This requires significant changes in Government policy, and very significant changes in FT governance and management. Tasmania has many significant disadvantages as a commodity producer, so the industry focus needs to be on value and quality rather than volume and price.”...

    Considering the above statements, some of the key words and actions come to mind:
    Cooperation, collaboration, communication, information sharing, vision, restoration, honesty, trust building, fairness, ethics, inter-generational commitment, planning, lifelong learning, quality approach to forest management & timber production.

    The term “logging” is not the appropriate objective as this is just one narrow focus on ‘removing’. Logging basically stands for harvesting, take-away, equal to mining – logging prevents the expression of broad objectives such as sustainable ‘forest management’.
    Having learned from our fine timber customers in Europe in the past, I can appreciate the difference between bulk production and real high quality characteristics in timber.

    The call for fast early growth is typical for bulk production thinking, that’s not how the art of fine timber silviculture works.
    I can only imagine how little (if at all) was ever taught in Australian Forestry Schools and Programs about caring for whole forest quality, as far as I know, it was usually a classic ‘rushed job’ to get bulk goods produced to take it to market quickly; what ever that market may be …
    So, this said, I now like to suggest that a fine timber cooperative is to build a real forest management culture, without that we will simply keep repeating waste of time, energy and finance and not least good will.
    There is something to high quality timber production that will most likely be complete news to many practicing (plantation) foresters.
    The will and real commitment to learn from one another and from further away, searching for best practice and market expectation across languages is another key essential.
    Without real commitment for true change to whole quality, your idea of a successful cooperative in Tasmania will simply be another ‘nice to have’ dream.

    “Excellent forestry” is defined as the blending of ecological practice with community benefit.
    Forest Guild foresters strive to use natural models to manage complex biological systems based partly on a commitment to continuous learning.
    The Forest Guild is an organization of professional foresters and others who promote ecologically, economically, and socially responsible forestry.
    May I also again suggest to anyone interested in “Excellent forestry” to visit the Timber Workers for Forests Website: and look for the guiding management principles.

    Posted by Frank Strie, FWM  on  26/03/12  at  04:13 PM
  5. #2, A more penetrating question may be: what’s the ba, diameter distribution and age of the pictured patch? And is it a typical example of the ‘few examples of successful blackwood plantations’ or is it the very best? And why again is it that some prospective growers are holding out for subsidies?

    I don’t want to bring a huge downer onto the venture, but urge the tempted to ask hard questions and to do a good investment analysis. Land under blackwoods has management and opportunity costs and a loooong investment period. By all means grow a hectare or two for recreation. You’ll certainly get lots of upper body exercise too.

    Incidentally I’m amused to see that the erstwhile blackwood expert ‘Arthur/Lyons’ has been inadvertedly invoked in the subsequent item.

    Posted by hugoagogo  on  26/03/12  at  05:46 PM
  6. #5. Land under blackwoods has management and opportunity costs and a loooong investment period…. hugoagogo

    Maybe it is just that some of more long-sighted individuals seem to think that Tasmania has a looooong future ahead of it and are planning accordingly?

    Posted by Barnaby Drake  on  27/03/12  at  07:34 AM
  7. Re: # Foolproof.  I must admit I know very little about growing quality Blackwood. I suspect I have much in common with most people while admiring the timber and articles made from this species.
    From the photograph depicted I would say that the trees in question are ready for their final thinning and high pruning to a hight of 8 metres.  It should then be possible to under-plant to keep a continues cover forestry operation in being.
    Regarding genetic modification, I would assume this would destroy the quality of the timber completely.
    Huon Pine, if modified to grow at the rate of Radiata Pine the timber would be no better than Radiata.
    If the human race were genetically engineered to limit all women to two children most of the troubles of the world would disappear.

    Posted by J A Stevenson  on  27/03/12  at  10:22 AM
  8. Now what could Professor West have noted or recommended about Forestry Tasmania that was apparently “outside his terms of reference?”

    Let me speculate…signing contracts and logging such coupes outside the terms of the IGA clauses? Maybe the unsustainable rate of logging over the last few decades? Perhaps the lack of future planning to service current contracts?

    One must never be too thorough or precise in one’s analysis. I suspect it will be filed in the same cabinet as the strategic review of FT.

    Sack the Board.

    Posted by Mark Temby  on  27/03/12  at  10:54 AM
  9. With regard to the status and viewpoint of FIAT (via their spokesperson Terry Edwards,) I cannot accept that this “supportive group to Forestry Tasmania,” has demonstrated any real desire to honour or even support any and all prior agreements established by the major parties involved.
    FIAT is fast losing its relevance or indeed its capacity to participate in any current or future Tasmanian transitional forestry peace negotiations.

    The bluster and thunder dished out by its spokesman is ever the same, in being only that of an interfering antagonistic disputant.
    Add to that FIAT’s role of supporting the stupidity of the on-going non-profit generating logging activities mostly in Tasmania’s Ancient Forests, by Forestry Tasmania, suggests this organization contributes nothing other than nuisance noises upon the whole of Tasmania and its people.

    Posted by William Boeder  on  27/03/12  at  11:34 AM
  10. So Professor West “exceeded the terms of reference”.  Interesting.  As I recall that’s not the first external consultant whose report “exceeded the terms of reference”.

    Is this the new Tasmanian bureaucrese for ” he/she did their job too well and made the government (or one of its subsidiarys) look bad”?

    Posted by Stephan  on  27/03/12  at  02:22 PM
  11. re #8: If I (and many others) could easily determine Professor West’s analysis of FT citing unsustainable harvesting and unrealistic future planning while John Lawrence has dissected FT’s financial accounts, why is it the FT Board has been mute? Do they really believe their own implausible nonsense or are they just plain ignorant?

    Sack the Board.

    Posted by Mark  on  27/03/12  at  04:24 PM
  12. Sacking the Board of FT is surely not sufficient. The crimes against nature and future generations warrant more severe redress.

    Putting an end to the current forest mining operation on public land has certainly NOT been achieved, yet. Admittedly, the solutions are complex but they are not insurmountable.

    The minimum sawlog quota system is obviously one key factor in the over cutting of forests, along with native forest woodchipping of course. The sawlog quota system has been legislated for a long period of time now. So who are the responsible ones?

    Irresponsibly, an adequate inclusive process of all stakeholders has not been employed in this IGA. And now only three weeks have been allowed to come to a resolution. How will that deliver a durable outcome? It will take people the three weeks simply to fully analyse the material of the IVG.

    The current IGA process, whilst focused on public land, avoids 30% or so of Tasmania’s forests – the private land. That too has been subject to a carefully planned mining operation (See Private Forests Tasmania’s wood flow web document) and has been subject to massive conversions. This private forested land obviously should have been included in the IVG’s assessments and absolutely included within this fundamentally flawed IGA.

    Tasmania and the Commonwealth of course, cannot adequately assess the whole situation by analysing only one part of the pie.

    The plan to mine out Tasmania’s native forests actually goes way back to the days of the Lemonthyme and Southern Forests enquiry of the 1980’s and the associated Woodchip Export EIS.

    Its time to air all the dirty linen. A Royal Commission of Enquiry will be vital to resolve the long-standing conflict. A renewed call for one is over due.

    Andrew Ricketts
    The Environment Association Inc.

    Posted by Andrew RIcketts  on  27/03/12  at  07:01 PM
  13. Now that all the real meaty bits contained in Professor West’s Report have been exposed, tis now the time for patient reflection.

    The first item up for consideratiion is just what type of attack will be launched by Forestry Tasmania FIAT and any other pro-logging forces in their bid to denigrate and discredit the contents of Professor West’s most credible analysis and report.

    I myself believe that this report confirms the claims made by the knowledgable others whom attend to this forum, in that Forestry Tasmania   under its present Executive Board and Management system is incapable of conducting a well oiled tight-ship sustainable profitable forestry logging operation.

    How soon before the composition of a “new integrity based systems management team” is formed to replace the overall hierarchy of the current failing Executive Board and Management group that is this today GBE of Forestry Tasmania?

    Posted by William Boeder  on  27/03/12  at  08:44 PM
  14. #6

    As I said I don’t want to be a downer on Dr B’s project, but your riposte may not float in the third dimension, where most of us live. Think of it a term investment of several decades length. You can’t get out, and you hope to hell the spruikers were right and you live that long.

    Let’s look at some of the factors in the investment.

    Costs per hectare, say 2 grand for establishment in year 1, plus annual costs, say $100 management and $200 land opportunity cost, plus rates, insurance etc for the entire rotation.  There’ll be other costs, pruning, weed control pest managment fire management, count your own time as you could have been doing something else; allocate them to their year incurred, and of course $40-odd/m3 (today’s prices) to harvest and transport to the mill, and cleanup prior to the next crop. What? You want to do blackwood again?

    Note: all numbers mentioned or implied thus far are preceded by ‘-’. Normally these come out of the entrepreneur’s pocket (might be tax deductible, but the grower would ethically decline to claim these if he/she had ever publicly denigrated MIS), or if govt. subsidy, out of our pockets.

    Use investment periods of 25, 35, and 45 years, i = 4-8%. Solve for a net present value of zero using (i) known (preferable) or realistic forecasted (usual) growth rates and (ii) a stumpage (the only ‘+’ in the model unless you managed to bag a subsidy, in which case it is a ‘-’ for the taxpayer).

    Generate a table of growth rates and stumpages that produce a feasible investment, test for sensitivity by wiggling around the various numbers, and let us know if zero is biologically, socially or economically possible.

    Posted by hugoagogo  on  29/03/12  at  04:29 PM
  15. There is real world information about, I had an interesting conversation with a professional forester who is working on sharing it today. It is not for me to say who, where or when, but he hopes to be able to help with real world knowledge. Patience people.

    Posted by Simon Warriner  on  29/03/12  at  08:06 PM





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