Tasmanian Times


Sustainability versus corporation control and blind progressivism

An ugly reality that has emerged in Tasmania’s Forestry debate is the assumption that the “problem” to be solved is how to allow the destructive and unsustainable practices being promoted and pursued by forestry corporations and the major political parties to continue with some sort of community acceptance.

The myth being pushed by the mass media, political appendages of the forestry corporations and some others is that there are two opposing sides in the debate but that both sides want the timber industry to continue turning our timber resources into woodchips for pulp.

Unfortunately some, who profess to be environmental activists, are allowing their narrow single issue focus, to push them to act in a manner that aids the corporation generated confusion, of the questions involved. The result thus far is the continuance even some, hopefully only short term, acceleration of current destructive forestry practices.

If we cut through the pulp mill spin doctors smoke and mirrors the real questions can emerge . These questions are:—–do we need ‘Common Ground’ to give a social license for a pulp mill in the Tamar Valley, or elsewhere for that matter?- Or do we need common ground to end clear felling, replacing existing natural forests with chemical dependent water and soil resource spoiling, and public purse draining monoculture plantations.?

We need to end clear felling and growing trees for pulp— to end the practice of monoculture plantations and the use of chemicals involved and the production of toxins that are poisoning water, land and sea. The development of forest practices that ensure that our forest resource is sustainably used is necessary. Redirecting investments and retraining industry workers for forestry and other industries is an essential to economic and social as well as ecological sustainability.

Sustainability requires promotion of the use of the timber resource for building, craft and other sustainable uses including as carbon storage banks. Plus allowing for leatherwood and other bush honey production, and forests with possible medically useful plants.

From Destructive to positive practices

In short the real issues are turning forest practices in Tasmania from a mad rush to destruction and a massive drain on the public purse that is making a tiny minority rich and providing a relatively small and shrinking number of people with unsustainable work opportunities. Questions we have to ask and find answers for include what forestry and forest based industries practices will make possible a use of the forest resource in a manner that is ecologically, socially and economically sustainable and of lasting benefit to the well being of our own and other species?

Having clean water to drink and land use policies that allow us to grow the food we need to eat are issues we need to bring to the forefront of a public debate. Too many people with influence continue to ignore these issues as our forests are destroyed by clear felling and chemically dependent monoculture plantations take over and degrade large areas of fertile soil,deplete and poison our water supplies.

Those prominent individuals in the environmental movement who try to downgrade the importance of these basic issues have created a situation of deep divisions of opinion among green leaning activists and other people who are beginning to become aware of the seriousness of the current situation The self appointed ‘representatives’ of environmentally conscious people in the secret talks helped set the scene for Lennon and his cohorts to revive the pulp mill project.

Dr David Obendorf, in early July this year, asked the pertinent question about these ‘representatives’=== “Where is the mandate from which these two groups speak for so many? ”(1) Outcomes from of the efforts of a self appointed few are well described in the words of one prominent Green figure discussing the situation as in the following quote “I’d really like to see resolution on forestry conflict in Tasmania, but if it means that the Tamar Valley is going to be sacrificed at the altar of some high conservation coupes, then I don’t think it will last no; I think it’s a train wreck waiting to happen.” (2)

Gunns may have changed a director or two but they are still quite clearly out to juggle the situation into one in which the environment movement is confused and taken in by con artists. Peter Wish Wilson’s “train wreck” observation, as above, give me heart despite my, now months old, fears that the “Common Ground” move to make a pulp mill possible would split the Greens if they fell for the secret talks scenario. It is essential that it be recognized that plantations for pulp ,far from being part of the solution are a major part of the problem.

What then of the plantations issue ?

In an update of his position on Plantations titled “Plantations No More Please” Bob Loone, the Deputy Mayor of Meander argues that his valley is losing $millions every year because 15,000 ha. has been lost from farmland to plantations. Loone also estimates that 265 jobs have been lost for the same reason despite the 35 plantation jobs generated.(3) It is well known that plantations are wrecking quite some havoc on farming communities on the NW Coast of Tasmania in particular.

There are plantations and plantations.

The first thing is of course the need to end clear felling-for pulp-particularly but not only in native forests. But there is a place for plantations that seek —as far as is possible -to restore forests to something approaching their original state. This type of plantation is, in my view, an entirely different kettle of fish to the chemically dependent monoculture plantations of trees bred to be pulped.

Currently we are confronted with a plantations regime that is poisoning our water and destroying soil fertility; an industry committed to pulp, that is economically unviable without massive public subsidies, —as well as being ecologically unsustainable. However, plantations that restore species native to the area concerned are necessary in some areas. Such properly selected species plantations that do not require poisonous chemicals can and do have important, several faceted, environmental pluses in a matter of years and a few decades. However the likely hood is that it will be many decades and perhaps more before such plantations will become a resource that, if selectively harvested, will have the potential for providing high quality construction timbers.

These issues about timber supplies for sawmilling and plantations particularly the currently predominant deadly destructive monoculture plantations as against ecologically friendly multispecies plantations need to be clarified… Those who need to do some homework on these matters include some who have managed to make themselves prominent in the environmental movement. The work of Tasmania’s outstanding water scientist, Dr David Leaman, on the water issues involved in plantations is of considerable import to any comprehensive understanding of the complexity of the issues involved.

Again, the issues are not only about the Tamar Valley ,although of course The Tamar Valley is very much a central aspect. BUT the forestry issues are state wide in terms of land use, poison in our water, hundreds of $millions from the public purse being thrown away to support current uneconomic and ecologically disastrous forest practices.

Virtually all of this waste arises from the misuse of an important resource. We need radical change NOW not in thirty years time when all our native forests have been massacred and what is left of our water, after thirsty plantations excessive use, has been made unsafe to drink and forest practices have made Tasmania a bankrupt State.

My hope is that the penny will drop in some, now lagging, parts of the environment movement and the forestry and other crises that are besetting Tasmania will be addressed in open public debate concerned to find and implement a new way forward. Pursuing illusions is no substitute for facing realities.

Some History

At a seminar on wood chipping organized by the Tasmanian Conservation Trust in Hobart in late 1974, the then manager of Northern Woodchips, Mr. Meadows, claimed that “Saw milling timber was a disappearing resource” (4) The people destroying the sawmilling timber resource , namely the wood chippers for wood pulp and paper knew then what havoc they were causing.

Almost three and a half decades later Dr.Pete Hay in his 2008 paper” Challenging the Change Vector in Left Progressivism”(5) discusses the view of “sawmilling folk” from the area near the headwaters of the North Esk river in Tasmania suggests that enough resource to enable intelligent selective harvesting for small saw mills.was still left. To that assessment Hay added the rider that “(though it won’t for much longer”)
These are real questions that need to be seriously considered and acted upon now not at some vague future date while the rape of what is left of our native forests proceeds apace. Ending clear felling is a vital first step towards creating a sustainable set of sustainable forest based industries

Top Public Servants Fail to Protect Public Interest

The forest corporations exist to make profit and try to hide and excuse, ,their dependence on massive public subsidies and the resource they are destroying to produce pulp; plus the other damaging effects they have on the environment. Forestry Tasmania is unfortunately run by individuals who see their role as doing what the corporations require of them rather than as protecting the public interest and thinking seriously about what it is they are actually achieving. The major political parties are focused on protecting the status quo and ensuring that large donations from corporations continue to finance their election campaigns.

Those in the environment movement who refuse to think about how and why political decisions are made and what influences major party politicians to act in the interests of large corporations do not provide a possible solution to our problems. Fortunately there are a growing numbers of environmentally conscious people, including prominent green activists, who are expressing concern about proposed deals that have real potential to be against the public interest, and have been made behind closed doors.

The increasing cooperation and interchanges of information and ideas between individuals who have perceived the real problem holds out hope for vastly improved approaches to sore and worrying problems,

References and notes

(1) As from Dr Obendorf’s Tasmanian Times July 1st article titled “Without tie skills, grand plans melt into dreams” Extract “Where is the mandate from which these two groups speak for so many? What permission do they have to represent them in the decision-making process in any negotiations (formal or informal) with forest industry representatives More recently as the talks developed and some other groups were included there have been withdrawals and sharp public criticisms of the approach and attitudes of the initiators by some who were at the table for a short period. Eg Andrew Ricketts convenor of –‘The Environment Association Inc —address PO Box261 Deloraine, Tas 7304—- as published on Tas Times

(2)frThe train wreck estimate comes from Comments of Peter Wish-Wilson as in Tasmanian Times article ‘”Impacts of the Gunns pulp mill Scottsdale away forward. Hope say groups Train wreck fears W-W” 21-10-10 2:38 am ——and comments 9and 10 on same from Russell Langfield

(3) Loone Bob in update paper “Pulp Plantations No More Please”

(4) Bound Max B A thesis ’What can the Trade Unions do to play a Bigger role in protecting the Environment” 1976 page 4.6 hand published in very small numbers mostly to union officials and Hobart Environment centre library at that time.

(5)Hay Peter in his 2008 paper” Challenging the Change Vector in Left Progressivism” Pub in “Shared Values, Shared Future Re-imagining the Good Society. ISBN97818763000159(pbk.)”Search Foundation see page 58)

Further Notes
Writing on science in his recent Book ‘A BIG FIX” Ian Lowe comments on the difficulties the traditional scientific method has run into. Professor Lowe wrote: “…Sustainability science will have to employ new methods , such as semi-quantitative modelling of qualitative data, or inverse approaches that work backwards from undesirable consequences to identify better ways to progress. Researchers will have to work with land-users to produce new understandings that combine scientific excellence with social relevance.”

The significance of this advice is more easily understood and takes on an even more profound meaning in the light of the following from the World renowned Canadian environmentalist, David Suzuki, whose science specialty was genetics in his book “METAMORPHOSIS’ pub 1987 Stoddart Publishing Co Ltd

Page 157 “Science remains an activity that is highly competitive … Its practitioners often wear blinders to questions about social responsibility, about negative effects of science and technology, about ends and means and possible limits to the scientific enterprise.

Page 262 “As a scientist, I know how ignorant we are of the biological and physical world, yet we continue to cling to the lie that we know what we’re doing. The truth is we have no idea.”AND Page 298 Writing “As born again parent” and discussing “the future world my children will inherit…” Suzuki comments “… It is an untenable conceit to believe that we can maintain our current rate of consumption of energy and resources and that the environment will absorb the amount of pollutants and debris we dump into it. It is a delusion to think that we know enough to control, manipulate and manage nature.”

Now to an interested and information seeking layman’s comment on how the immediately above Further Notes help in assessing the current situation in Tasmania. . As I understand Ian Lowe’s concept of sustainability science as it is happening in Tasmania —– there appear to me to be two outstanding examples of the new approach Professor Lowe is advocating in the above quote from his “A BIG FIX”

(1) The work of Dr David Leaman on water issues in which he has examined the effects of particular practices and worked through outlining a new approach that opens the way to sustainability.

(2) The work of Dr Alison Bleaney and those supporting her in investigating the cause of her, evidence based, concern about the effects on water run off from E nitens plantations on humans and other species. This investigation to find the source of water contamination appears to me, like David Leaman’s work on water, as being an example of sustainability science in practice.

Author Credits: [show_post_categories parent="no" parentcategory="writers" show = "category" hyperlink="yes"]


  1. J A Stevenson

    November 22, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    The two Dr’s spent much time and their own money investigating this change in the water quality etc. Looking for some explanation as to why these events were occurring. Chemicals of one type or the other were the most likely cause. All you were doing was trying to discredit them, if I remember correctly before the results of the enquiry were finished.
    As I have pointed out previously. If spraying of herbicides or pesticides had taken place on forested/ plantation areas adjacent to the river shortly before a significant rainfall the contaminants could have been swept into the river and downstream, working its evil effects before the main weight of the spate occurred, no amount of testing would reveal what had already taken place.

    BTW did you know, that in 2050 there is predicted to be 9 000 000 000 people in the world, so in coming 40 years we will have to produce more food than in past 10 000 years altogether!
    Crazy times we live in, craziest will come:)
    Cezary .
    Received from friend in Bulgaria yesterday.

    The only salvation for the world seems to be that if half the population were Gay and the other half infertile the world may stand a chance.
    How do you know these two chemicals will not turn out to be more effective in tipping the balance in favour of infertility.

    No way can you compare the consequences of a natural forest fire sweeping through an area quickly, Heat rushing upwards to join the fire front, scorching the surface of the, still moist with winter rains, retained in the soil and humus while being protected fro the heat of the sun by the over-story with a felled area.
    The felling , extraction and clearing has all disturbed and broken up this surface layer, leaving it open to the sun and dedicating winds before being raked into windrows, still drying out until a change in weather conditions allows it all to be put to the torch.
    Timber felling practices 50 years ago were much less destructive than they are today.
    Harvesting 35 year old pine is similar to cutting a crop of wheat, before the corn has ripened. Trees of that age have only just begun to start growing.

    Re: # 220 I did not suggest that these be planted in intact natural forests. Only in forests intended for timber production.
    9 000 000 000 people will not just want food but also timber. Ever scrap of the earth’s surface will have to produce more of everything, Forests will not be immune from the demand to produce more timber as more land will be used for food and housing. Particularly as the sea is dying, krill being killed due to carbon dioxide acidity.
    The reference to gorse was in regard to the scraps and pieces of woodland, seen beside the road on the way from Devonport to Hobart.
    Worth a try, what have you to lose. This comment was for people with open minds, not your closed shop, short rotation plantation pushers.

  2. FS-ProSilva Tasmania

    November 21, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    For all the Redwood fans and diverse planation managers:
    Coast Redwood Forests in a Changing
    California: A Symposium for Scientists
    and Managers
    DATE: June 21 – 23, 2011
    LOCATION: University of California, Santa Cruz

    Policies and strategies guiding the use and management of California’s coastal ecoregion are dependent on objective scientific information. Attention to this region has increased in recent years. At the same time, much new information has been collected. Each year the array of decisions affecting lands and natural resources in the redwood region carry more weight; evidence the recent interest in watershed assessment, fish and wildlife recovery efforts and silvicultural changes.
    This symposium is part of a continuing effort to promote the development and communication of scientific findings to inform management and policy decisions.

    Audience: The conference is intended for anyone involved in the research, education, management, and conservation of coast redwood systems. This includes RPFs, landowners and managers, community and conservation groups, land trusts, and policy makers.

    There is no more iconic tree or more closely watched forest ecosystem than coast redwood. With its limited range and high value, the coast redwood forest is a microcosm of many of the emerging science and management issues facing today’s forested landscapes.
    As new information is collected and new
    management approaches and treatments tried, it is
    critical that policies and strategies guiding use and management within the redwood region be reviewed and updated based on objective scientific information.
    With changes in California’s demographic makeup,
    land ownership, and the regional economy, great
    interest has developed in areas such as forest
    sustainability and restoration, watershed assessment, fish and wildlife habitat conditions, and new silvicultural strategies. This symposium is part of a continuing effort to promote the development and communication of scientific findings to inform management and policy decisions.

    Symposium site: http://ucanr.org/sites/redwood

    Notice the contrast in approach to the Tasmanian Forest and Plantation Experts?
    NEW – Change – Expectations…

  3. mjf

    November 21, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    #219. ‘Worth a try, what have you to lose’ ?

    Well, our intact natural forests for a start. This is seriously the craziest scheme ever to interplant northern hemisphere exotics amongst our native forests. How will this assist the biodiversity by introducing feral flora species ?

    Much better to stick with shelterbelt design and establishment in deforested areas such as the Midlands where gorse is prevalent. I haven’t seen any gorse in our forested areas, only in agricultural areas which would benefit from some SS or any other species. I would even support full on plantation establishment of sequoia species but keep it out of our natural forests at all costs.

  4. J A Stevenson

    November 21, 2010 at 10:30 am

    Re: # 212 Larch was mentioned as a nurse tree only, to quickly prevent weeds and grass encroaching under the canopy and providing fuel within the plantation. They would also suppress the side branches developing, forcing growth upwards. I know of no Australian species which would provide this function. Larch would only be used on bare sites. For inter-planting in a understocked forest area the surrounding vegetation would prevent the development of large side branches. They would have to be protected until they got above browsing height. Where ever one sees Eucalyptus growing in the landscape one frequently sees gorse growing strongly underneath the canopy. This immediately tells me that the stand is understocked and should be producing more timber instead of weeds. Try under planting the gaps with sequoia or even maybe Macracarpa, they may make better timber trees if forced to grow upwards instead of sideways.
    Worth a try, what have you to lose.
    Contact Rowan Reid, he seems to be the expert on growing Sequoia sempervirens in Australia.

    Re: # 214 There are very few places in Tasmania where Sequoia sempervirens will NOT grow.
    They are now being widely grown in New Zealand.
    Anywhere Monterey pine (Pinus radiata, Radiata pine and Monterey Cypress, Macracarpa grow will grow Sequoia sempervirens. These three species come from the same area of California. They grow well in North West Scotland as far as 58 degrees North .
    A magnificent stand at Leyton near Welshpool, North Wales. In 1985 at Cliveden, near London one year they had a great crop of natural seedlings. There home range is about 35deg: N. Canberra is 35deg: South . Tasmania 40 to 45deg: S.
    I first came to Tasmania in 2000 and around Campbell Town that year , in the bare paddocks the starving sheep were trying to find shade under the one or two trees which still survived. In this brown landscape the only fresh green foliage was the Radiata shelter belts and the lush looking Macracarpa. I thought then what an ideal situation for some park like sempervirens and the area of shade each would provide.

  5. Dr Barry Tomkins

    November 20, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    Re 217: You continue with your denigratory personal remarks. I attacked the lack of science behind Drs Bleaney’s and Scammell’s work, and that has been amply verified by others. I have explained at length the classification of pesticides. No-one but you has challenged that definition. I have made it clear time and again that I work in plantation weed control and carry out trial work to try to improve this area. The work has identified two chemicals, one of which will be registered in the next year or so for forestry, and the other I expect in the next 3 years, which are FSC compliant/approved.

    I have defended the practice of regeneration of wet sclerophyll forests using fire after harvesting because generations of research has shown that it is the most effective way of regenerating these forests. The practice doesn’t ‘destroy native forests completely’; re-seeding with local seed regenerates the dominant species and in time the understorey recovers. You have had this explained to you by others but you refuse to accept the information. The magnificent tall Mountain Ash that was up the Black Spur past Healesville in Victoria was all regenerated after the 1939 Black Friday fires. There was no loss of species demonstrated. These forests are fire succession forests.

    Historically most housing in Australia was hardwood framed until perhaps the last 20 years or so. Today it is a fact that KD pine is the main framing timber.

    How many times do these facts need to be repeated by others as well as myself before you accept them?

    I am quite happy to be judged by my peers. My friends are friends because they are non-judgmental.

    Dr Barry Tomkins

  6. J A Stevenson

    November 20, 2010 at 11:53 am

    Rowan, I see where the impression that you advocated planting sempervirens in native bush arose.
    “Sequoia sempervirens would be an ideal tree to plant in gaps in Australian native bush where these Eucalypt’s will not grow without a scorched earth regime .Wet sclerophyll forests for instance.
    The ideal situation would be in the valley sides and bottoms to break the advancing fires.” 
    I had just discovered link and typing while reading it. I sincerely apologise for any misunderstanding.
    This was inserted between two reference to your comments which was an error. I never meant it to refer to your comments. Obviously my critics had not bothered to read the link.
    http://www.agroforestry.net.au/main.asp?_=Californian Redwood

    Dr Barry Tomkins. Thank you for letting us know where you stand. You quickly attack, along with the other pro-native forest despoilers and plantation pushers. Your attacks on all who went to the defence of Allison Bleaney for her stand on suspected poisoning of the Georges River, harming her patients and killing the canaries in their shells testing the water quality. Your wholesale blanketing of everything which is sprayed under the term pesticides. If you had clearly stated that you field of expertise was herbicides only one would have a clear idea what you meant. You have joined in attacks on me over wet sclerophyll forests for instance. You raised no adverse comment when these people were saying these areas should be incinerated. This policy destroys native forests completely by destroying the very soil itself and all that live in it. If you have said that you oppose the clearing of native forest for plantations you have not said it loud enough to be heard. Here you say ““I do support the use of fire to regenerate native forest where it is the demonstrated appropriate silvicultural practice.”” By your friends so shall you be judged.

  7. J A Stevenson

    November 19, 2010 at 5:57 pm

    Rowan, I hope I did not give the impression that I was mis-representing you in any shape or form.
    Neither do I suggest that large tracts of native forests should be converted to Sequoia sempevirens
    forests. Why I suggested Sequoia in these forests was to counter the comments by these fire mongers that the only course of action in wet sclerophyll forests is to clear fell square kilometres and put everything to the torch. I was merely suggesting an alternative. Also stands of sequoia may provide a refuge as a last resort in a fire prone region .
    A article in The Weekly Times November 17th 2010 states “Prices for wool, lamb, mutton and breeding ewe are recording spectacular rises but the one spoiler is that the size of the Australian flock continues to fall. Five million down on last year and at its lowest count in more than 100years.
    Areas of good agricultural land converted into plantations would be ideal sites to reverse the position.Eventually. If gaps were opened up in the canopy and a Sequoia planted so it could see the light it would race upwards, provided it was never hampered in its upward growth it would self prune to a large extent. When a suitable clean stem length had been obtained the surrounding trees could be sold whenever profitable to do so. When sufficient light reaches at ground level, a light scarifying and sowing of grass seed among the tree stumps the whole area could be converted in sheep paddocks without stump removal expenses, they will eventually all rot away.

    The only weakness I have found with Sempervirens or any other Sequoia is that the bark is soft.
    These have been used as park trees and a small area has later been fenced off, to contain
    horses and ponies during spring, when the rush of quantities of fresh grass may cause Laminitis . During periods of boredom these have sometimes been completely ring barked. I have on one occasion seen this damage caused by cattle. A guard of few posts and rails is all it takes to prevent.

  8. Dr Barry Tomkins

    November 19, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    Re #211, Stevenson: Now you misrepresent me. I am not at all involved with insects/entomology as stated in your last paragraph. I specialize only in weed control in plantation forestry. I am not involved with native forestry.

    Why does it seem strange that I did not mention anything to do with Rowan? As I said, I taught him and the group he was in first year chemistry, that is all.

    Your suggestion that I don’t give a damn about wildlife is despicable, and your suggestion that I ‘advocate clearing square kilometres of forest and putting all to the torch’ is equally despicable. I have never said that and in fact I have repeatedly said that I oppose the clearing of native forest for plantations. However, I do support the use of fire to regenerate native forest where it is the demonstrated appropriate silvicultural practice.

    You are appallingly rude and I am surprised that you are allowed to get away with your repeated insults. The TT Code of Conduct should censure such rudeness.

    I repeat agin, you owe Rowan Reid an apology for misrepresentation.

    Dr Barry Tomkins

  9. MArk Wybourne

    November 19, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    Martin, very few areas in Tasmania that are available for commercial forestry (including native) will grow Redwood or Larch to a reasonable standard. Either it is too dry or not cold enough.

  10. Dr Barry Tomkins

    November 19, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    J A Stevenson: You owe Rowan Reid an apology. I’m not holding my breath.

    Dr Barry Tomkins

  11. mjf

    November 19, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    #203/207. I hadn’t ever considered sequoia and Japanese larch being interplanted with our native eucalypt species. Will the game browse them at all ? Sort of an integrated plantation/native forest bush. How would this suit as habitat for our fauna ? Can we get hollows say, developing in these exotic species ?
    You might be on a winner after all.

  12. J A Stevenson

    November 19, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    Re: # 208 I only happened to drop on Rowan Reid’s web site a week ago while searching for any other examples of Sequoia sempervirens growing anywhere else in Australia other than one small sample which I saw on a field day with a Northern Private Forestry group. The number of times I have mentioned Sequoia sempervirons on these threads it seems rather strange you did not mention the name of the man you taught and seems an acknowledged expert of growing these under Australian conditions. Why did you not mention this web page before?
    Re: 146 You did suggest I get a copy of Ron Hateley’s book,to prove that fire stick farming is not the cause of Australia’s fire dependent species, and absence of Sequoia .
    I repeat Gondwanaland broke away from the northern hemisphere before the carboniferous period. Gondwanaland did not break up until some time after the carboniferous period. The same species of trees are found in South America, a few in Australia and New Zealand. The valuable, fire vulnerable, resin containing ones are absent. If Sequoia’s had been here they would be here still as 3000 year old examples.
    I could not understand why Radiata was all the rage when such a valuable shade bearing species, which is vastly superior in every respect should be ignored by every one. A tree which would provide nesting sites for birds throughout its life. What I have seen of most Australian native forests they are vastly understocked. The reasons for this is as far as I can make out are.
    1 The absence of a shade bearing species capable of growing into a respectable timber tree.
    2 Allelopathy of Eucalyptus, a feature it shares with roses. If one has a rose garden and one dies it is no use replacing it with another rose unless a square metre of the soil dug out to the depth of 30 to 50cm and replace with soil taken from where roses have not been grown before.

    (Paragraph challenged and deleted)

    When the single species of trees are planted into this sterile landscape. Winged pests arrive to lay their eggs on the leaves, grubs feeding are not gathered in the hundreds by each nesting bird to feed their growing young because all the birds have gone.When the grubs fall to earth to pupate there are no eager snakes , frogs and toads waiting for this falling feast. When the grubs burrow into the soil to over winter and pupate, the insect life, from Carrib beetles downwards are no longer there to slowly take there toll over winter. When their numbers have built up, unopposed, to plague proportions (Comment challenged and deleted: Dr Barry Tomkins does not advise on insect control at all and claims no expertise in that area.)

  13. max

    November 19, 2010 at 1:40 am

    208 # Dr Barry Tomkins You may not agree with 207 but it makes more sense than your reply. The destruction of native wild life habitat is what happens with plantations and so called regenerated native forests. The native wild life is destroyed so that the regeneration can occur and the resulting plantations and plantation look a likes will support no wild life, there is nothing for them to eat. You are right about wild fire jumping from ridge to ridge, that’s what happens in eucalyptus forests, that is the danger with eucalyptus trees and what caused Ash Wednesday/ Black Saturday.

  14. Rowan Reid

    November 19, 2010 at 12:32 am

    Hi, all

    Might be a good time to close this strand. Of course I would not suggest planting exotic trees into public native forests and I don’t appreciate being mis-representated or associated with extreme views.

    I haven’t bothered reading though the 200 or so contributions but it doesn’t seem to be leading anywhere useful. It’s pretty clear that native forestry on public land will come to an end. Maybe then we can talk about mixed species, low-input indigenous, long rotation forests that provide a range of values including habitat, water and wood (oh! that would be a multiple use native forest. Till then we’ll have people arguing for high-input monoculture plantations and crops as an alternative to native forest management.

    No wonder I chose not to work in public native forests. Good luck.


  15. Dr Barry Tomkins

    November 18, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    Re #203, J A Stevenson: I said that Rowan Reid’s interests are in FARM forestry, where he has made significant contributions, not native forestry. I am quite sure that Rowan would be appalled at your Seqoiua suggestions. The very idea that ‘valley sides and bottoms’ would be cleared to plant your bloody Seqouia would horrify him. The destruction of native wildlife habitat alone would be UNACCEPTABLE. Further in Ash Wednesday/Black Saturday conditions, fire would leap from ridge to ridge and your bloody Seqouia’s would be useless.

    Do us all a favour and cease this silly idea – it is not going anywhere and has become utterly BORING!

    Dr Barry Tomkins

  16. J A Stevenson

    November 18, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    Re: # 205 Planting Redwood through native forests would be far less damaging and destructive than the scorched earth policies being adopted today. Sequoia sempervirens was mentioned as a suitable species which would grow very well in the wet sclerophyll forests, which was the reason stated why these places had to have the scorched policy applied. The native forests can never be native forests again for 100 years. Sowing seeds by helicopter does not transform a sterile waste into native forests. Even when the natural fires went through these areas it did not kill all the trees .

    Previous forest fire evidence can still be seen where the fire attacked the trees on the windward side, killing the bark, now visible as rotten holes. Sempervirons was pointed out as a viable alternative.

    There does not seem to be much work done in native forest harvesting unless one is a chain saw operator, tree harvester or bulldozer driver.
    No tree selection, other than driving for the most valuable areas. No attempt to save young or semi mature trees which would provide future, high value income, these can all be fed into the pulp mill.
    What is so sacrosanct about, what you call native forests. These fire dependent Eucalyptus are not naturally native. They have come about as a result of Aboriginal fire stick farming. The destruction they did is minor compared to the white race. Everything else has been decimated, including the people. What is so sacrosanct about these Eucalyptus?

    The only management seems to plan roads and select an area for destruction. No thought for the future. No doubt you will enlighten me if I have got it wrong.
    Most of the areas cleared these days have been replanted, not regenerated.
    In any case the most useful area to use sempervirens is on former agricultural land . Gaps made in the canopy could be planted where they would be forced to race for the light, resulting in small side branches. Once a timber suitable, top grade, stem length had been obtained, then the surrounding trees could be felled as required. Once they are established, rate of growth of sempervirons is equal to or exceeds radiata. The price of sempervirons would be double or treble that of radiata. It is suitable as a shade bearer, naturally durable, resistant to insect attack and fire. Useful for all types of wood work or usage.
    No other tree I know of meets all these specifications.The bizarre redwood worshipping nonsense is not as bizarre as this radiata and nitens worshipping nonsense. A tree classed as very inferior in its homeland.

  17. Observer

    November 18, 2010 at 7:37 am

    Why ask me? Do I come across as japanese to you? I didn’t provide those figures, Roger did. A goal of 10% kenaf? What will comprise the other 90% ? Posted by Bemused

    Sorry about that. You all look the same to me.

    As for the other 90%, try 20% hemp, 25% wheat straw and the rest FSC Certified timber – for the time being.

  18. Michael

    November 18, 2010 at 3:34 am

    #203 – The forest will no longer be a native forest if go planting bloody Redwood through it. Not even Mr Reid would prescribe that as an acceptable form of native forest silviculture.

    With each post of yours, all I see is someone that has never actually worked in an Australian native forest harvesting and regeneration situation, yet you don’t wish to learn how and what silvicultural requirements are needed by Australian forests. You just consistently spout some bizarre redwood worshipping nonsense.

  19. Bemused

    November 17, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    Why ask me? Do I come across as japanese to you? I didn’t provide those figures, Roger did. Try to be a bit more OBSERVANT. I dont know where he got them from.
    A goal of 10% kenaf? What will comprise the other 90% ?

  20. J A Stevenson

    November 17, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    Re: # 187 Dr Barry Tomkins, I earnestly suggest that you should now reverse the process and contact Rowan Reid for some basic instruction in forestry. Obviously Rowan is now the master, perhaps he could now teach you first year forestry? use your ears for a change.

    Sequoia sempervirens would be an ideal tree to plant in gaps in Australian native bush where these Eucalypt’s will not grow without a scorched earth regime .Wet sclerophyll forests for instance
    The ideal situation would be in the valley sides and bottoms to break the advancing fires. He states that Blue gum Eucalyptus globulus now constitutes a fire hazard in California.
    He also states that Sequoia sempervens achieve standing volumes 2 or 3 times greater than the best Mountain Ash forests.
    The only point of difference being I would plant them much closer,to prevent large branches forming,instead of 6 to 8 metres, or inter plant with something like Japanese larch until maximum stem timber length has been obtained. Larch are excellent for stopping grass fires as their dense shade and annual needle fall prevents running fires. Provided they are brashed to leave a clear 6 feet between ground and branches. This was what we used to plant as fire breaks around fire susceptible pine plantations. Larch grow very well on bracken infested ground without any chemical treatment.
    How does imported Western Red Cedar compare, price wise with Radiata? There is no question it is a improvement on quality. Useful from early thinning’s up to final crop at 100 years plus and providing good income throughout the cycle. But, the cycle can be unending, gaps are filled with volunteer replacements growing from the stumps, roots and seedlings . A perpetual crop from one planting. No pesticides, herbicides, insecticides ever required during its two to three thousands years. Naturally fire resistant and durable without CCA or other chemicals.

    My fixation with Sequoia sempervirens is in respect for its usefulness in rescuing Australian forests from the mess, loud mouthed plantation pushers have caused, and suggest a way some value from the vast quantity of plantations, which have been established as a result the misguided advise to gullible investors in the Ponzi type schemes. Investors who were possibly following your misguided preachings.
    It is the one and only tree which can cope with the threat of fire, once it has got past the juvenile state. Its thick bark makes it immune to fire and if felled, springs again from hidden buds in the stump and roots. Its only weakness I have ever known is that the soft thick bark is sometimes stripped when isolated trees, standing in bare paddocks by horses and once I recall by cattle. In this situation it is essential that each tree should be seperately guarded.

  21. max

    November 17, 2010 at 10:33 am

    198 # Roger. From the information you have supplied me with it appears that Kenaf will be the next best thing since sliced bread. I am not against plantations, I just don’t think they are viable and they are part of the wood chip industry that has gone along way in destroying what was a vibrant forest industry
    Based on the the experience to date, confidence is high that given a full scale processing capability, kenaf paper can be competitive, even advantaged price-wise when compared to wood
    based papers. It can be argued that kenaf holds long term economic advantages over wood as a raw material for papermaking. Such advantage will be realized when a fully dedicated
    pulping capability is established.
    The Japanese pulp and paper industry is keen to increase its usage of non-wood fibres and has indicated that kenaf is the preferred feed stock. The industry has set a short-term goal of 1% which would require about 300,000 tonnes of raw kenaf. In the longer term, the Japanese industry has indicated a goal of 10%.
    3,000,000 tonnes of raw kenaf for Japan and what would China take?

  22. mjf

    November 17, 2010 at 12:09 am

    #197. Predictably all your eggs are in one basket, never heard of diversification ? You are undoubtedly correct in stating the better option for returns to a farmer are the traditional annual crops in the best paddocks per farm. Excluding whole farms that have been bought and planted out by MIS companies, what does a cocky do with his steeper, rougher 2nd class country which is too steep and/or uneven and/or stony to crop or irrigate or fence or harvest with regular farm equipment ? Bear in mind many farms have some of this country within their boundaries and it is here that tree growing can be very profitable – on areas that don’t generate any other income from traditional farming. Bonus point, no need to bother with irrigation.

    Private Forests Tasmania have been selling this concept to landowners for many years, promoted as whole farm planning. Typically E nitens or P radiata are planted on such sites but I’ve also seen blackwood and wattle established. Even the much discussed Sequoia sempervirons may be suited to some situations.

    Provided some basic management is undertaken such as keeping stock out, weed control early on and maybe pruning to value add, the farmer wll have a nice nest egg in 15 – 20 years (or longer)depending on his patience and circumstances. This all takes monetary input of course to set up but at about $2000/ha to establish a grassed or scrubby site, this is not overly prohibitive for an otherwise unproductive site.

    While you object to plantation forestry point blank, there are many situations where such a crop is well suited in the absence of anything more traditional.

    To gain more confidence in undertaking such a level of expenditure and committing to manage for the longer term, the landowner may well apply for a PTR over the planted area to protect his interests in being able to harvest into the future.

    You and your unforestry spruiking mates may ridicule plantation as having limited or no markets but one thing is guaranteed. If native forest harvesting is dumped, the value for exising plantation ground and resource will increase exponentially. It will simply become a question of supply and demand from a capped pool. The only ground that can be recruited into the pool will be existing pasture which will of course put pressure on land values.

    This is one of downsides to walking away from NF logging, it simply shores up plantations for the even longer term. The best outcome for the anti-plantation collective is to continue to harvest and manage native forests. Sawn hardwood timber will be sourced from somewhere and if theres only plantation wood available then so be it. The construction industry mindset will change when it has to. Currently it’s spoilt for choice and still prefers traditional materials.

  23. Observer

    November 16, 2010 at 9:39 pm

    #198. It showed the costs of producing Kenaf pulp is way more than timber pulp. Timber cost $500 per tonne compared to $1700 for kenaf per tonne.

    So why are the Japanese saying that kenaf is their preferred option if this is true. Bemused?

    And just where did you get those figures and which currencies are you talking about?

    Now tell us what the REAL figures for producing timber pulp from plantations is in Tasmania, where the labour costs and transport costs are greater than almost anywhere else in the world and disregarding the obsolete MIS and other subsidies.

  24. Dr Barry Tomkins

    November 16, 2010 at 5:33 pm

    Re the (misguided) proponents above of using wheat straw to make paper:

    There is or was an MDF (medium density fibreboard) plant near Wangaratta which can be seen from the Hume Highway that was set up to use wheat straw. I do not know if that was the only feedstock. Such board can be veneered and has a multiple of uses.

    That may be a better and far less polluting use of wheat and barley straw.

    I must say that this debate has verged on the ridiculous, because there is no push to set up a paper making industry based on either hemp or wheat straw. Kenaf obviously has its own cost and technical problems, also.

    Dr Barry Tomkins

  25. Roger

    November 16, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    Re # 196 Max,

    I haven’t had time to look into your Kenaf claims yet. But it seems to me you are just opposed to the harvesting of eucalypt plantations. Why is this so? They are just another crop like wheat straw and kenaf. Trees are no more sentient than wheat or any other crop. So why are you so opposed to eucalypt plantations? They use very little chemicals in comparison to agriculture and have less soil disturbance due to the longer rotations. So why are you opposed to them?

    By the way I did find this:


    It showed the costs of producing Kenaf pulp is way more than timber pulp. Timber cost $500 per tonne compared to $1700 for kenaf per tonne.

  26. Observer

    November 16, 2010 at 8:42 am

    If I were a farmer and I had the choice of annual crops as opposed to 13+ year rotation crops, I know which I would choose, especially if I could sell the by-product, like straw and chaff after the main yield of grain had been sold for a profit.

    No contest.

    I would also consider that as an alternative rotational crop sown on the same land, winter wheat and summer hemp would do very nicely. With hemp, I would harvest the seed separately for a free next years crop and the remaining seed would either go to cattle food, edible oil or bio-fuel.

    Further, if I had taken the e.nitens route, I would be seriously short of water, and if there was a dry period, the yield would extend out to fifteen or sixteen years, and just tell me, what do I do with the land after harvesting? Thousands of tree stumps to contend with, degraded soil and since the demise of MIS, a worry whether there would be any future in a chip and pulp market. If not, the timber would have to be kept for 25 years or more before I saw a return on my money from the sawlog market, and even that is doubtful, as nobody particularly seems to be impressed with e.nitens plantation timber, especially the construction industry.

    I can see why all the forestry advocates are so worried. I would be in their shoes. The gravy train has run into a siding and looks like that is the end of the line for them.

  27. max

    November 15, 2010 at 11:59 pm

    195 # Roger. There are a lot of industries that operate well with seasonal crops and storage is seldom a problem. Grass hay a very perishable commodity is often stored out side with no problems. Why didn’t you reply on Japans requirements for kenaf? Kenaf is a 4,000 year old NEW crop with roots in ancient Africa.
    A member of the hibiscus family (Hibiscus cannabinus L), it is related to cotton and okra, and grows well in many parts of the U.S. It offers a way to make paper without cutting trees. Kenaf grows quickly, rising to heights of 12-14 feet in as little as 4 to 5 months. U.S. Department of Agriculture studies show that kenaf yields of 6 to 10 tons of dry fiber per acre per year are generally 3 to 5 times greater than the yield for Southern pine trees, which can take from 7 to 40 years to reach harvestable size. 

  28. Roger

    November 15, 2010 at 10:41 pm

    Re # 194 Max

    It was the same references I used before.

    I had a look at your reference.


    You seem to ignore their conservative figures, as I’ll add below from your own reference.

    “If total stem yields are conservatively assumed at 10t/ha, then total yield of stem could be as high as 20 t/ha/year, equating to 6 t of bast fibre and 14 t of hurd fibre when decorticated. Fibre production costs are estimated at $800 – $1,500/ha, depending on decortication costs. Bast fibre can command prices of $500 – $3,500/t and hurd fibre about $100/t. Hemp stems, rotary mowed and pulped in the field, have been baled into 20 kg square bales and marketed locally for $5.50 each for use as prime garden mulch.”

    So you may get 6T of best (the pulp for paper) and that’s only if you can get two crops harvested if the weather conditions are right. That’s from a farm with optimal growing conditions.

    Given optimal growing conditions for both hemp (10 T/Ha of bast a year) it wouldn’t be unreasonable to compare to the optimal growing conditions for E. nitens (an MAI of 40) gives 12.4 T/ha of pulp.

    So how would you plan to run a pulp mill/paper mill on this when you cannot guarantee a steady flow of product to the mill all year round? You would have to store the hemp straw in huge undercover areas in order to store it for all year access to a pulp mill and it would still break down.

  29. max

    November 15, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    193 # Roger I thought that I was being generous at 25T/ha. Tasmanian research data from the Forthside Research Station showed that up to 15 t/ha of dry stem can be produced from one planting. It is also possible to grow two crops in the same season if an early (September) and a late (December) sowing were carried out on the same site. Now show me where your figures came from.
    Perhaps we are arguing about nothing if they start growing kenaf on the Ord River. If a pulp mill is set up in the Northern Territory to produce pulp from kenaf the Transport distance to China and Japan will be halved. This could well spell the death Knell for a pulp mill in Tasmania
    The Japanese pulp and paper industry is keen to increase its usage of non-wood fibres and has indicated that kenaf is the preferred feed stock. The industry has set a short-term goal of 1% which would require about 300,000 tonnes of raw kenaf. In the longer term, the Japanese industry has indicated a goal of 10%.
    3,000,000 tonnes of raw kenaf for Japan and what would China take?

  30. Roger

    November 15, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    Re # 167 Max, that’s very noble of you to choose the 25T/Ha yields for hemp. Did you read the abstract for that reference? It talked of a trial in which hemp was grown in Italy, Netherlands and England. The Italy result was extremely high at 25 T/ha. The Netherlands grew less than this and England much less again.
    If you’re taking the extremes I will as well and say an MAI of 45 for a eucalypt plantation. So your result of 6.25 T/Ha of pulp for hemp is way below the 12.4 T/Ha of pulp for eucalypt plantations!!!

    After establishment eucalypt plantations provide habitat for many species for many years and have fewer disturbances compared to hemp.

  31. William Boeder

    November 15, 2010 at 10:34 am

    #191. mjf, Perhaps you might ask why it was advertised, or announced as a regen burn by Forestry Tasmania?
    Unless of course the old saying of “the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing”?

    It is not unknown for Forestry Tasmania to issue misinformation, so was this burn in the area designated actually the correct location?

    Love the way this is done exclusively by helicopter, now mjf, will there be more of these random areas around Rosebery put to the torch by the F/T helicopter in the soon futures?

  32. mjf

    November 15, 2010 at 1:29 am

    #183. If it was a logged area lit up, then it was a regen burn but if area hadn’t been logged then presumably this was a fuel reduction burn aimed at lowering forest fuel levels. The object being to avoid a major fire event in the peak of summer with high fuel loads to contend with such as we saw in Victoria recently. Would be sad to see a similar disaster befall Rosebery that occurred to Marysville & others. From this nuisance scribbler, you should be eternally grateful to FT if fuel reduction was the reason behind this and if successful, may well save your property and neck if a serious fire season was to develop.
    Why not make a donation to them for having the best interests of the community in mind ?

    Apart from all your other speculation, I expect the FT HQ tea-lady has well and truly been consigned to history. Replaced by the temperamental but popular self serve coffee machine which now dominate corporate lunchrooms across the country.

  33. Dr Barry Tomkins

    November 14, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    Re #186??? ‘your argument is left floundering, regardless of facts.’

    I have the right facts, therefore my argument is not left floundering.

    You drew attention to the alleged insecticidal properties for plague locusts of your magical Neem, not me. Then you allege that it is safe for human consumption, well – maybe as a toothpick. If anyone has been caught floundering time and again, it is you with your twisted ‘logic’.

    I find it interesting that no-one else has supported your Neem claims. I suggest a majority of people prefer regulated systems for our food industries. At least then there is some comeback if problems arise. If on the other hand, you manage to poison yourself with an unregulated substance, there is no comeback, just a cost to society through the health system.

    Dr Barry Tomkins

  34. Michael

    November 14, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    #165 – Langfield, if you read the report they only ingested 60ml of the stuff. Yet you still want to use and defend this unregulated substance! The mind boggles…

    #188 – Yep, here we see Russell growing a highly toxic crop and lacing it further with unregulated substances that cause death and vital organ damage to adults and children alike.

  35. Bemused

    November 14, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    Speaking of carcinogens, did you know that the concentrated essential oils from the humble tas pepper berry is carcinogenic?

  36. Dr Barry Tomkins

    November 14, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    Re #185: I know Rowan, taught him first year chemistry. Looked at your link, cannot see that it in any way supports your idea about plantations of Sequoia throughout Australian native bush.

    Rowan is engaged with farm forestry and Master Treegrowing courses, not native forestry.

    #146 got it right with your fixation on Sequoia.

    Dr Barry Tomkins

  37. Russell

    November 14, 2010 at 10:06 am

    Re #184 You write one thing in a comment (#146 & #155), then the opposite almost immediately afterwards (#180) when it suits you and your argument is left floundering, regardless of facts.

  38. J A Stevenson

    November 13, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    Re: # 179 Someone plant a few Sequoia for gods sake.
    mjf God listens. He has already done so. They grow from subtropical Australia southwards.
    Check out the link below

    Dr Barry Tomkin did you ever meet your fellow lecturers at Melbourne or perhaps Rowan Reid was before your time. He has exactly the opposite view of forestry than you.
    http://www.agroforestry.net.au/main.asp?_=Californian Redwood

  39. Dr Barry Tomkins

    November 13, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    Re #182: No, Russell Langfield – I trust them because they have been put through a myriad of tests, including in many cases long term use, and because I believe that such things must be properly regulated.

    I suggest your thinking is perverse. On the one hand you aver that ‘Most of your additives and preservatives are carcinogenic.’ (#165) without you providing proof of any kind that these regulated additives are anything of the sort.

    On the other hand, you are happy to boast about importing an unregulated product or products from a Neem tree. #160 provided evidence that the Neem extracts are not benign, but then, we knew that, didn’t we, because you had earlier stated that spraying with Neem extract was the way to control locust plagues! Hence such Neem extracts must be toxic.

    Dr Barry Tomkins

  40. William Boeder

    November 13, 2010 at 10:56 am

    #177. mjf. Further to your question of it being a good burn here on outskirts of Rosebery.
    Only Forestry Tasmania can give any summary of the goodness of this supposed “regen burn” as conducted by your helicopter co-conspirator?

    Considering that at this altitude some mighty fine types of unique flora were to be found in that particular area, not dissimilar to that found on Mt Read itself.
    (I understand mining is soon to commence at the nearby old Hercules gold-mine, however I do not believe that this sort of thing can be attributed to the their road up-grading and track work activities as are currently happening?)

    No doubt the humble Tasmanian taxpayer was the unwilling sponsor of this firing exercise in this out of the way wettest region of Tasmania?

    I ask mjf what level of education is held by the person whom gives the green light to torch areas such as this, my guess is someone with a history of such desires, dwelling in the high tower of F/T maybe even the tea-lady at F/T headquarters, for any sane appraisal would have negated the need for this unnecessary pointless burn?

    There will of course be unanimous agreement to this act of stupidity by the collective F/T touts and their scribblers, who attempt to justify their industry’s defilement’s whilst ending the life of much of our unique flora and fauna.

    If their be any Brave-hearts among your throng of nuisance scribblers, why not take the drive up to the very top of Mt Read, a reasonably good road is accessible by most all 4 WD vehicles, bring your cameras to view your latest holocausting debacle?Why not bring your cameras?)

    Now as for costs to the taxpayer:
    I helicopter and pilot for the day, plus the incendiary fuels to create the ignition to this damp area, quite possibly free community radio announcements, (F/T would claim they are doing the area a favor by wiping out its flora and fauna,) then the high salaried collective of fire plotters, whom tis fair to suggest, run a very busy office.
    Last of all the salaries of people engaged to divert criticism away from their wilful arson’s upon nature itself, by suggestion that the nearby town residents will now be much the safer from any “imminent threatening future of raging ‘out of control’ bushfires”?

    My, my, what a lucky lot we are to have Forestry Tasmania burning more area per annum most years than is occasioned by natures own forces, of course ably assisted by the like-minded intellectuals employed by the government department of Sparks and Wildfire?

  41. Russell

    November 12, 2010 at 9:06 pm

    Re #180
    “Since many of these additives have been around for generations, and any risk factors would be well known…”

    Here we go again. So, Tomkins, you trust food additives because they’ve been around for a few generations yet you completely dismiss Neem with thousands of years of use.

  42. Observer

    November 12, 2010 at 8:34 pm

    There is atrange fact that most people overlook when studying Webber’s theory of continental drift is that the only other place on Earth where there are marsupials is Patagonia, on the tip of South America.

  43. Dr Barry Tomkins

    November 12, 2010 at 6:46 pm

    Re # 165, 176: Russell Langfield states:‘Most of your additives and preservatives are carcinogenic.’

    ‘Most of’ -another substantial porkie. Since many of these additives have been around for generations, and any risk factors would be well known, and any with severe risk factors would have been withdrawn.

    See Ben Selinger’s book, ‘Chemistry in the market Place’.

    A more rational statement would be that a few food additives have been questioned in the past and present, but that most food additives are safe for human consumption.

    The opposite view is paranoid.

    Dr Barry Tomkins

  44. mjf

    November 12, 2010 at 6:03 pm

    Someone plant a few Sequoia for gods sake.

  45. Leonard Colquhoun

    November 12, 2010 at 4:31 pm

    Not sure, Comment 172, whether this answers your query “Where South America was I don’t know”, but a look at the east coast of Brazil and then at the west coast of Africa where it ‘turns the corner’ between the mouths of the Congo and the Niger, it looks as South America and Africa smuggled up like two lovers in a very narrow bed.

    (Wonder if some zealot will find this either ‘racist’ or ‘-phobic’, or both?)

  46. mjf

    November 12, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    #148. That burn on the mountain ridges a couple of days back – good result ?

  47. Russell

    November 12, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    Re #168
    That would be an unequivocal YES.

  48. J A Stevenson

    November 12, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    Re; # 150 I have never been to the Georges Catchment but from comments on the thread I assume it is similar to most Tasmania catchments. Steep sided valleys covered in trees levelling out to form flat open farmland. I am sure you will correct me if I am wrong.

    I also assume that almost all the plantations are along this narrow strip adjacent to the water course. That being the case any spraying of the planted area will be done along the steep sides of the valley. In the event of a downpour the first flush of water entering the stream will contain 90% of all the contaminants likely to enter the stream. By the time the bulk water of the spate arrives this toxic brew will have done all the damage and no amount of later fresh water will alleviate the position. Tests done half an hour after the beginning of the spate will reveal no abnormality.

    The total area of the catchment area is irrelevant . If the area sprayed is some distance away from the running water the chemicals will be either well diluted or retained in the soil to be slowly released.
    The Georges River was mentioned in response to the learned Doctor, a man who should be setting an example to the correct terminology for the use of chemicals and substances used unnecessarily in forests. Forests have thrived naturally for millions of years quite well without them, it is only with this obsession with single age, single species and the illumination of all beneficial creatures which naturally keep these pests in check through the scorched earth approach which allows these pests to flourish.

    Re: # 159 William Broeder, I strongly object to you calling this collection of corporate clowns pro-forestry. They are purely smash and grab raiders of any forestry they can get their hands on and purely tree farmers at best.

    They have had their day, believe me.

  49. Dr Barry Tomkins

    November 12, 2010 at 11:53 am

    Re #171: max: Thank you for your concern. Let me assure you it is not necessary.

    Russell Langfield stated that ‘most of the additives’ not just a few. I know there are concerns about a few. The nitrate /nitrite/ nitrosamine issue has been around for a long time, with the original claims primarily around BBQ’d meat, but obviously also other methods of cooking.

    I was also aware of acesulfame. The fat one I was not aware of – thank you, but I am sure our food regulatory authorities know about it.

    However, I repeat, these do not constitute ‘most of’ as averred by Langfield, so that his rhetoric was, once again, over the top.

    Dr Barry Tomkins

  50. J A Stevenson

    November 12, 2010 at 11:12 am

    Re: 146 “You have a fixation with Seqouia, and with the ideas which are relevant to UK and European forestry, but have been shown to be inapplicable here.”

    Perhaps you would care to justify this comment. Many forest practices used in New Zealand are now practiced in the UK and visa versa.
    It is you who have the fixation that you and you alone have all the answers and your pride as being the lecture on all things appertaining to Australian forestry prevents you from acknowledging differently.
    If that fine English forester you admire so much, John Le Greche had introduced the Sequoia sempervirens instead of Radiata he would have been lauded the length and breadth of Australia.
    I would suggest that all these plantations of useless nitens be heavily thinned and under planted with sequoia. After a trial period of course. The centre of growing area for Sequoia sempervirens is as far north of the Equator as NSW is south.

    Sequoia sempervirens grow extremely well in Tasmania, to arrange a viewing of them by a party consisting of yourself and other septics perhaps you could make arrangements with Henry Chan who IS a knowledgable forester..

    Contact Henry Chan via Tracy.King@privateforests.tas.gov.au

  51. J A Stevenson

    November 12, 2010 at 11:10 am

    Many seamen saw Australia on numerous occasions before settlement happened, on their journeys to the East Indies. Any who came close to the coast saw many fires ,which they thought were from inland industrial cities and towns. Any who came nearer to refill depleted water casks did so in fear and trembling , fearing attack from the waiting hordes nearby, they could hear their maniacal laughter as they waited in the bush nearby, ready to attack. Kookaburras? The 30kl stretch of coast north of Binalong Bay in Tasmania is called “The Bay of fires” to this day.

    Long before any settler penetrated the Victorian Bush the Aboriginals had learnt the the bush was their only salvation. The bush telegraph would have conveyed this message across Australia long before white men arrived in that area.

    I know of no tree species which crossed the Equator in pre- historical times. Gondwanaland probably broke away from the northern land mass containing North America,Europe and Asia before the carboniferous period. Where South America was I don’t know, but tree species point to it being connected to the southern land mass. India has recently moved northwards to push up the Himalayas . It is still happening I believe.

    Nothofagus’s and Araucaria’s which include the famous Kauri pine. These types of trees are abundant in South America but never spread to the north. They are mainly in New Zealand and traces in Antarctica but largely absent in Australia. All Araucaria are susceptible to fire, as are all pines including Radiata because their resin content. Otherwise Kauri Pine may have been the dominant tree in Australia.

    Be extremely careful using the term Sequoia spp. There are three types of Sequoia I believe.
    Two of which use the term, redwood. There is only one Sequoia sempervirens which has needles of a yew type. The other redwood has needles which stay close round stalk, Sequoiadendron giganteaum, Wellingtonia . It was introduced in England shortly after the battle of Waterloo and named after the Duke of Wellington. There are many fine specimums in country parks etc. Almost every estate planted one as a mark of respect after his death. But it is absolutely useless for timber. The Meta-sequoia was discovered in the 1960 in China , I think. Although thousands have been propagated using the latest propagation techniques I do not know if any have been assessed as the their value as a timber producer.

    Another common pitfall I have noticed frequently in Australia is the planting of oak trees, possibly thinking they were planting either Quercus sessil-flora, durmast or sessile oak or Quercus robur, pedunculate or English oak. Pedunculate or English oaks are stout trees with massive limbs which were ideal for providing the knees and bends, used in ship building. Many of those one sees today in country estate park lands were planted after Trafalgar for future warships. Unfortunately the acorns of both these species are small, little bigger than ones finger nail. Acorns from the useless Turkey oak and the American oaks are twice as large, ordering acorns from abroad resulted in many lbs of large acorns being quickly collected , for planting by unsuspecting buyers overseas. While Turkey oak, Quercus cerris is a fine looking tree the timber is absolutely useless for anything but fire wood. It’s greatest failing it is host to the knopper gall. This gall attacks sessile and pendunculate acorns which turn the acorns into green sterile rose shaped growths. It does not seem to have the same effect on turkey oaks. They first came to my notice in 1980 and on the estate there were not viable acorns produced. I doubt the great oaks in Windsor Great Park will produce viable acorns. In 2002 I noticed them as far north as the Chatsworth Estate. Derbyshire. If this pest is not checked by felling all turkey oaks the English oaks will be no more.

  52. max

    November 12, 2010 at 12:52 am

    168 # Dr Barry Tomkins, I am worried about you,your trust or is it faith in what big business and the governments will allow amazes me.
    Acesulfame K
    Known commercially as Sunette or Sweet One, acesulfame is a sugar substitute sold in packet or tablet form, in chewing gum, dry mixes for beverages, instant coffee and tea, gelatin desserts, puddings and non-dairy creamers. Tests show that the additive causes cancer in animals, which means it may increase cancer in humans. Avoid acesulfame K and products containing it. Your sweet tooth isn’t worth it.
    BHA & BHT
    These two closely related chemicals are added to oil-containing foods to prevent oxidation and retard rancidity. The International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organization, consider BHA to be possibly carcinogenic to humans, and the State of California has listed it as a carcinogen. Some studies show the same cancer causing possibilities for BHT.

    Sodium nitrite and sodium nitrate are two closely related chemicals used for centuries to preserve meat. While nitrate itself is harmless, it is readily converted to nitrite. When nitrite combines with compounds called secondary amines, it forms nitrosamines, extremely powerful cancer-causing chemicals. The chemical reaction occurs most readily at the high temperatures of frying.

    Olestra, the fake fat recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is both dangerous and unnecessary. Olestra was approved over the objection of dozens of leading scientists.
    The additive may be fat-free but it has a fatal side-effect: it attaches to valuable nutrients and flushes them out of the body. Some of these nutrients — called carotenoids — appear to protect us from such diseases as lung cancer, prostate cancer, heart disease, and macular degeneration. The Harvard School of Public Health states that “the long-term consumption of olestra snack foods might therefore result in several thousand unnecessary deaths each year from lung and ,prostate cancers and heart disease, and hundreds of additional cases of blindness in the elderly due to macular degeneration. Besides contributing to disease, olestra causes diarrhea and other serious gastrointestinal problems, even at low doses.”

  53. Observer

    November 12, 2010 at 12:21 am

    #148. In answer to the pro-forestry push, the evidence of that which I claim is rampant ignorance to the volume of wildlife slaughters occasioned by the forestry entities and Parks and Wildlife Tasmania….William Boeder.

    Forestry deliberately fudge the figures as they only count those animals killed that ‘are on the target list’. All others are ignored, and as the hunters generally hunt after dark by spotlight, they are not able to easily tell a bettong from a rufus wallaby, etc. If it moves, or the eyes light up in the beam, FIRE!

  54. William Boeder

    November 11, 2010 at 11:28 pm

    For someone of your supposed levels of chemical knowledge Dear Doctor Tomkins, our US of A corporates think nothing of adding chemical detriments to processed food.
    YES, the authorities whom are charged with proper labeling of food products, do rightly know of this chemical camouflage caper convenient to the manufacturers of saleable in Australia foodstuffs.

    Fancy you thinking otherwise?
    Why surely you know of the simple method of naming a poisonous or toxic substance, “is simply done by using different descriptors or terminologies to enable poisons to form as part of the listed ingredients?
    For example: how often have you read the labels on food products that claim this product contains colouring agent No.113 or (whatever applicable number,) at times the same could be said of its contained artificial flavors and preservatives.

    How about the meat preservative used in the meat industry in times past, ‘formalin,’ the same substance (though in differing proportions,) as used for preserving cadavers in the Funeral Parlour or Undertaker’s Industry?
    This is the first time you have illustrated, by your comments, that you know much less than you have in your rhetoric’s, suggested?

  55. Dr Barry Tomkins

    November 11, 2010 at 10:05 pm

    Re #165: Russell Langfield states:’Most of your additives and preservatives are carcinogenic.’

    Really? So you are saying that the authorities that oversee our food industry are knowingly allowing the addition of preservatives, colouring matter, flavouring matter most of which are known to be carcinogenic?

    Dr Barry Tomkins

  56. max

    November 11, 2010 at 9:30 pm

    !62 # Roger You gave me the sites and I looked them up but we differ in what we got out of them. One tonne of bast fibre (that’s the fibre used to make paper) and 3 tonnes of core material for every 4 tonnes of air dried hemp. Therefore 4 into 25 gives a return of 6.25 tonnes of pulp per Ha. You claim 5.5 tonnes per Ha from plantations. But there is more, the 3/4 of the hemp crop that is not suitable for paper pulp can be used to make bio fuel. I have included what I considered relevant from the sites you gave me.
    Hemp is one of the faster growing biomasses known,[6] producing up to 25 tonnes of dry matter per hectare per year,[7] and one of the earliest domesticated plants known.[8] For a crop, hemp is very environmentally friendly, as it requires few pesticides[9] and no herbicides.
    Hemp and the Environment
    In both its cultivation and uses, hemp is considered an exceptionally environmentally friendly crop. Hemp requires little or no pesticides as it is naturally pest resistant. Hemp is also a natural herbicide known for its ability to smother weeds when grown at a density suitable for producing high quality bast fibre. Hemp also has a lower net nutrient requirements than other common farm crops, since it can return 60-70% of the nutrients it takes from the soil when dried in the field. However, prior to the nutrient recycling, hemp extracts more nutrients per hectare than grain crops due to its fast biomass production.[2] Its deep root system is also very beneficial as it is effective in preventing erosion, cleaning the ground, providing a disease break, and helping the soil structure by aerating the soil for future crops, when it is grown in rotation with other crops.
Hemp is also a particularly high yield fibre crop. In fact, an acre of hemp produces more biomass than most other crops. As a result hemp can be used effectively in many applications as an alternative to wood or fossil fuels. For example, hemp can be used as a renewable, low polluting source of biomass fuel, or hemp pulp could easily replace wood pulp in paper making.

  57. Observer

    November 11, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    #160. I see another one has joined the gang. Roger.

    A few morsels to consider about hemp.

    It has an actual positive carbon content, rather than a claimed one and an blatant lie over forestry products. Hemp grows back every year and any carbon produced in processing the fibre is TOTALLY reabsorbed by the next crop, and given that the material made from it is not only paper, of archive quality, the other fibre products are extremely long lasting. Building material, car bodies, clothing etc. The oil extracted is a food product. The seed is harvested separately by the farmer and doesn’t need an ‘ash bed’ to germinate and subsequent air pollution, neither does it need a MIS scam to establish it. It also doesn’t displace farming communities, but gives them an added option and income – annually, or even, bi-annually!

    I saw figures on this site somewhere about the e.nitens producing 150 tonnes per hectare and hemp only 20 tonnes. Over the life cycle of a plantation, that is DOUBLE the amount! And all carbon positive. How the hell can forestry compete with that when there is only a single use for woodchips?

  58. Russell

    November 11, 2010 at 6:46 pm

    Re #160
    “According to the Discover Neem website, in a study performed in 1982 it was found that neem ingested by children or infants may cause swelling of the brain, damage the liver and other organs and can be potentially fatal.”

    So does water if you have too much. Water should be banned too.

    Re #163
    Most of your additives and preservatives are carcinogenic.

    You just can’t accept thousands of years of proof against your own minute opinions.

    Goodbye girls, I’m off to Neem my organic vegie garden, lol.

  59. Peter Bright

    November 11, 2010 at 6:33 pm

    There’s lots about hemp on the Internet.
    There’s not lots of hemp in Tasmania.

    Why not?

  60. Dr Barry Tomkins

    November 11, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    Re #158,Russell Langfield: Wrong, yourself! The mineral and organic constituents of the vast number of common foods are well understood, plus of course the considerable range of food additives and preservatives.

    Michael in #160 provides information which you should regard as ‘food for thought’.

    Dr Barry Tomkins

  61. Roger

    November 11, 2010 at 5:10 pm

    Re # 157 Max,

    I was just doing a bit of research on hemp Max.
    Hemp crops yield approximately 10 tonnes of air dry material per yearly yield.

    One tonne of bast fibre (that’s the fibre used to make paper) and 3 tonnes of core material for every 4 tonnes of air dried hemp.



    So you can get 2.5 Tonnes per Ha of pulp from Hemp. Compared to a Eucalypt plantation with an MAI of 20 will yield 5.5 Tonnes of pulp per Ha. Hemp has 12 times more harvesting, processing, establishment, fertilising and pesticide costs. Hemp is not capable of being grown in all the climates eucalypt plantations. Hemp also has the same problems as wheat straw in that it needs to be stored in a dry place or it begins to break down. Eucalypt plantations also provide habitat for many native flora and fauna.

    To me it looks like hemp crops are a less efficient and less environmentally friendly than timber plantations.

  62. William Boeder

    November 11, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    #149. My favourite critic the inestimable inimitable Professor Hugoagogo, my apologies to you that sees you so deeply troubled and concerned toward my recreational travel inclinations and destinations.
    I do like to keep up to speed with the Native Forest “plundering for wood-chip” hordes, running amok across our State, I will be sure to post my future travel itineraries to yourself for your approval in the future.
    I trust that the other “intending recreational travelling grey-brigade attendees to this forum,” will also look to your troubled self to seek your affirmation to their chosen directional pleasure-tripping trevails?

    I note the use by you of some sort of forest industry Upper-case alphabetic code-mode of expression in your recent comment to myself, EG: TF FFS?
    I commend your grasp of these secretive and apparent exclusive forest industry cyphers, yet I look earnestly forward to you becoming more articulate with this current simplistic mode of lettering laziness?

    Here’s hoping you didn’t clumsily fall into the icy-cold creek-waters during your most recent fishing expedition?
    Kindest thoughts,


  63. Michael

    November 11, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    #144 & #147 – Russell and Observer. And others spouting the wonders of Neem. A dangerous substance that is available for unregulated use here in Australia.

    Really, guys, it is bullshit you say? You may wish to read this article about neem and it’s effect on children.

    “Twelve children were admitted with convulsions and altered sensorhan following ingestion of locally obtained neem oil. Ten died witlu’n 24 hours. Of the six children investigated completely, four showed significant acidosis and all showed significant rise in serum tranJaminases suggesting liver damage. All had normal CSF values. Liver biopsy done in one showed fatty degeneration.”


    Also, two, you may wish to avail yourself of this further information.

    “In other countries (India and Asia), neem oil is sometimes ingested to treat various diseases and conditions that are found within the human body. However, when ingested, neem oil has been known to result in severe illness and death of adults and children. It is especially dangerous to babies and children and therefore is not recommended in the United States for use with children. According to the Discover Neem website, in a study performed in 1982 it was found that neem ingested by children or infants may cause swelling of the brain, damage the liver and other organs and can be potentially fatal.”


    Pretty dangerous stuff, Langfield. You better be careful, if this turns up in the water around Kimberly, watch out!

  64. William Boeder

    November 11, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    Hugoagogo, Bemused, crf, mjf, and the other minions of the Forestry Overlords, if I may answer your myriad and manifold questions to my posts?

    My constant theme of railing against your fanciful ideas and statements that your group of know it all and see it all pro-forestry besotted addicts, is to not allow your push to forget the first and foremost objective of most all Tasmanians.

    The people are ever wanting to see the end of Forestry Tasmania’s lifelong objectives to practice their delinquent non-profitable corporate plunder of Tasmania’s Crown Lands, whilst additionally destroying the beauty and wonder of our World renowned primeval forests?

    Then I come to the end product of these insane objectives of so much wildlife habitat destroyed and the incumbent indigenous inhabitants recklessly slaughtered by the desire to achieve profits for the corporate entity of the ruthless but failing Gunns Ltd, also that of their ill-intentioned and or ignorant shareholders.

    The wholesale yelping and grasping for profits in this manner, is ever at the expense of our natural wonders and our native resources.

    This is that “very same agent” endlessly on the hunt to rape our entire State population owned resources, seeking to profit by the over-lording greed instincts of today’s corporate Big-Boys and Fat-Cats.

    So yes, you critics of mine, I do continue to hammer home the same “major negative factor of forestry destruction,” whilst you lot of the pro-forestry push, continue to describe your relentless destructive, degradating, destroyments and crass crudely claim you are a proper regulated important forestry industry?

    Unfortunately this so described industry of forestry is ever only able to survive by its constant slurping from the tax-payers teat?

  65. Russell

    November 11, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    Re #155
    Wrong Tomkins (dr. NOT!). I’m comparing apples to apples this time.

    You accept eating traditionally accepted foods which have NOT undergone any of your so-called “scientific testing” like apples, oranges, tomatoes, corn, cabbage, kale, lettuce, etc. But you can’t accept Neem having undergone the same thousands of years of real and practical testing, that is EATING and thriving on it. Yes, Neem is a FOOD used in things like chutney.

    You lot haven’t nailed anyone for porkies as yet. Pot and the kettle. The sooner Gunns and FT collapses, the sooner …

  66. max

    November 11, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    149 # hugoagogo I think that you choose to act dumb but but here goes.
    Stale in agriculture means preparing the ground by cultivation to stop initial weed competition. This is also done in preparation for your beloved tree plantations, but in the case of hemp cultivation is enough.
    Why denigrate the most erudite poster on TT. Because he replied in an inane manner.
    You may not believe in the health benefits of (EFA) linoleic acid (omega-6) and alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3). or gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) but thousands do and there is a ready and lucrative market for them.
    Hemp crops can be harvested twice in the one year and is becoming a valuable crop world wide. If you planted the same area with pulp trees there is a waiting period of 15 years before there is a return on capital expenditure and in that time the price could totally collapse. In the case of hemp there is a waiting time of 3 months. Farmers are gamblers and I think 3 months compared to 15 years is a better gambol

  67. Leonard Colquhoun

    November 11, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    Thank you, (Comment 149), for your “#138; Leonard; excellent post by an erudite wordsmite I mean -smith; may I tremulously offer ignorami as an alternative collective noun”.

    You may, but . . .

    Our English word “ignoramus” is obviously from Latin, and your proffered Latin plural seems to work on the ‘looks right’ rule of thumb (though it runs a risk of also seeming pedantic or pretentious, especially to ignoramuses).

    ‘Ignoramuses’, like octopuses, is quite OK, having assimilated the normal English plural of adding ‘s’ or ‘es’ (except, as with most of our rules of grammar, where you don’t).

    But there is deeper reason why ‘ignorami’ should be avoided.

    ‘Ignoramus’ is not a Latin noun ending in ‘-us’, but a verb, meaning ‘we do not know’, or ‘we are ignorant of’, which means that it never was capable of having the usual Latin plural noun ending of ‘-i’ for singular nouns ending in ‘-us’.

    Just stick to ‘ignoramuses’, especially as there are so many about.

    And “wordsmite” looks good, too. And, yes, everyone tremulates every now & then.

    PS: I’ve come up with a/nother reason for there seeming to be so much more stupidity about, much more so than before, and even more deeply moronic: unlike in older times, idiots no longer stay in, nor are confinable to, their villages, with social e-networking making them seem even more omnipresent; nor do they seem to feel any shame about being so stupid.

    So, it seems that, combining –

    (i) the current fad for ‘reality’ shows, where being absolutely moronic seems to be the No 1 prerequisite, and

    (ii) the current educational theory of schools not needing to have learned teachers who actually teach stuff to children –

    Igoramussesesses-я-Us is the new cultural black.

  68. Dr Barry Tomkins

    November 11, 2010 at 11:33 am

    Re #150: Observer (NOT!): I doubt that you actually know what the Precautionary Principle states or means. Its subtleties are generally a bit much for many correspondents on this site. For interpretation of PP101 here is the wording once again:

    ‘Where there are threats of serious or irreversible environmental damage, lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing measures to prevent environmental degradation. In the application of the precautionary principle, public and private decisions should be guided by:
    (i) careful evaluation to avoid, wherever practicable, serious or irreversible damage to the environment; and
    (ii) an assessment of the risk-weighted consequences of various options’.
    (Intergovernmental Agreement on the Environment, May 1992, p 13)

    There are two points here where the definition is often perverted.
    1. ‘lack of full scientific certainty should not be used etc.
    2. ‘an assessment of the risk-weighted consequences of various options.

    Langfield #151 – a classic case of deliberate misinterpretation. He knows very well that I was referring to natural products whose toxicological effects have not undergone rigorous scientific testing, such as Neem, not long accepted foodstuffs. Maybe he is still smarting from being nailed by me telling a porky on another thread. Come to think of it, Mark Wybourne nailed him for a string of porkies.

    As for this meaningless ‘debate’ about hemp, it isn’t going happen. I cannot see the NFF screaming out about developing an industrial hemp cropping industry.

    Dr Barry Tomkins

  69. Peter Bright

    November 11, 2010 at 10:46 am

    Tasmania is an ideal place to grow industrial hemp for either fibre or seed.

    Watch hemp being used for car bodies, building blocks and carbon sinking at


  70. Russell

    November 11, 2010 at 10:23 am

    Re #149
    Yes, “Avatar.” That’s the movie where the pissed off locals got up and wiped out the invading destructive forest miners, isn’t it? Many similarities in that movie to Tasmania and its corporate overlords.

    The rest of your garb is just prattle, especially the feeble attempt to show any knowledge about hemp.

    The fact is hugo, you don’t have a sustainable or viable industry equivalent or market. Your industry is a dinosaur.

  71. Russell

    November 11, 2010 at 8:42 am

    Re #146
    Over 2000 years of practical real-time evaluation means nothing to you then?

    Maybe you should also stop eating ALL foods “derived from natural sources” and seek out only ‘modern scientifically tested’ GM foods?

    Really Tomkins, do you think anyone could possibly have ANY realistic confidence in anything you say anymore?

  72. Observer

    November 11, 2010 at 4:04 am

    #146. As for Neem (#144) products, until it is thoroughly evaluated for toxicological effects, I couldn’t give a tinker’s cuss that it is a holy tree in India. The same goes for any other product that is derived from natural sources – until it is tested by modern scientific methods, claims must be treated with extreme caution.

    My God, Dr Barry Tomkins of all people, stating we need to adopt the precautionary principle. I don’t believe it!

    And could you please give us an example of a tinker’s cuss. It would make more interesting reading than the usual diatribes.

  73. Mark Wybourne

    November 11, 2010 at 12:45 am

    Re 141. You talk absolute rubbish all the time, and surely people on both sides are sick of it. The area of plantation in the Georges Catchment is something like 6%. Have you been there???!!!

    It (the plantation area in Georges Catchment) has been talked about at length on this web-site. So, why do you insist of doing what you do?

  74. hugoagogo

    November 11, 2010 at 12:33 am

    I go bush for 48 hours and look at what happens. Firstly, HEMP.

    I googled the terms: “Hemp DPIE Tasmania”, and got this document.


    Sure, it’s preliminary, I don’t think the author has staked his life on everything in it, and he’s done a very good job in presenting the known agronomic facts about hemp, in Tasmanian test plot conditions. He’s trying to put hemp in a favourable light without getting carried too far away with exaggeration or hyperbole; a lesson many TT posters might consider taking on board.

    Max at #101, read the document.

    (1) “The preparation of “stale” seed beds is recommended to minimise weed control problems”. I don’t know what a stale weed bed is but its recommendation as a counter to possible weed control problems seems to invalidate your dot point one; which need I remind readers was your assertion that “hemp doesn’t need weed control”

    (2) Pests. Things that DPI Tas. note eat hemp crops include cutworm and heliothis grub. They say that economically important pests have not yet been noticed, perhaps because economic scale crops have not been sown. Just try getting economic and see how long until cutworm and heliothis get going at a Malthusian rate. You think humans are breeding fast? As Bachman Turner Overdrive sang; “You have not seen anything yet’.

    Oh yeah, and the birds, and the possums are noted by DPI as ‘interested’ in hemp. Interested? You won’t be able to beat them off with a shitty stick. As we all know, the first line of defence against browsers is to break out the Tibetan prayer flags. Failing that, it’s bullets, or 1080.

    Observer [sic] at #107; I get it. Joke?

    Max at #108; why denigrate the most erudite poster on TT; especially when Mr Colh-h-h-oon occupies the role of TT vanguard for (i) processing of evidence and (ii) avoiding self delusion. You seem to have internalised the attached manifesto of hemp benefits without a skerrick of critical thinking, from some online hemp-promoter/charlatan; the preceding terms of course being similes. Then you wax lyrical of the sisterhood femi-moonrise ‘benefits’ provided by GLA, and FFS you still expect us to engage you in straight-faced debate?

    Barry @ #111; In the light of Max’s remarkable claims for the invincibility of cannabis to competition and browsing, how can you possibly deny that the planet is covered in a lush pelt of low THC Cannabis sativa (notwithstanding the actual evidence to the contrary)?

    #112; Ground control to Observer [sic]. E. regnans is a sub-climax species whose propensity to accumulate fuel means that when it eventually burns it goes up HOT, hence the hanging bark, amongst other fine fuel scattered through the forest at 150+ ODW tonnes per ha. E. obliqua is somewhat less flammable, but I’d still get the hell out of an E. obliqua district if FDI over 200 was forecast. Why am I saying this again? Oh, that’s right, because this site is where Perpetual Forestry 101 needs to be Perpetually Replayed for Perpetual TT Acolyte Forest Science Flunk-ees.

    Max; at #115. If animals love the stuff then how do you justify your comment at 101 “that hemp has no known pests”.

    William, at #116; If I may butt in here; while you feel the poster at #110 has been accidentally exposed to an hallucinogen; is it not time to ‘fess up to the obvious (as detectable from you driving, some would say relentless, clatterings); that you have been closely following a strong prescription of same for the last decade?

    #121; Observer [sic] we don’t want to destroy this site. We just want to vet your arguments before they get out into the real world. Yes. There is a ‘Real World’.

    #122; William, the mesh you saw is to protect the seedlings from browsing, because the industry listened you. Anyway, who TF drives Rosebery-Hobart via Scottsdale FFS?

    #123; Barry is talking cold hard sense about the world in which you live. Go somewhere quiet and lisstteennnn.

    #124; Nice work Michael. Another well-constructed and relevant iteration of Eternal Forestry 101. If you’ll excuse the mixed metaphor, sadly your efforts are pearls cast before groundhogs.

    127; There’s always been two of them. The second avatar lives in Kimberley.

    #130; Stevo, get off the S. sempervirens will ya? It ain’t gonna happen.

    #131; methinks carbonised cooking implements?

    #138; Leonard; excellent post by an erudite wordsmite I mean -smith; may I tremulously offer ignorami as an alternative collective noun.

    #143; when Barry writes you are reading facts, occasionally spiced with humour. That’s H-U-M-O-U-R.

    And Stevo; at #141; replant the catchment to hemp and describe the demeanour of those ‘afflicted’ by the leaf wash in the town’s drinking water. If Ali’s right, it’ll be the second Goa. It’ll be bigger than Lourdes.

  75. William Boeder

    November 10, 2010 at 11:19 pm

    In answer to the pro-forestry push, the evidence of that which I claim is rampant ignorance to the volume of wildlife slaughters occasioned by the forestry entities and Parks and Wildlife Tasmania, may be answered in the manner of today’s firing of the mountain ridges fronting the town of Rosebery today.
    The local radio tells we citizens of this West Coast region that there is ‘regen burns’ happening in our region today and do not worry?

    Forestry Tasmania was named as the offending government entity whom decided to fire up this non-harvesting active mountain-top conflagration, only they can know why this suspicious decision has been given the green light to set fire to all.

    This unknown purpose of Forestry Tasmania was patrolled by helicopter sentinels, perhaps to ensure there was an abundance of flame and smoke to terrify the life out of our small marsupials and nesting bird-life?

    I fail to understand what is to be ‘then so regenerated’ in these old forest locales, other than the continuing threat of Forestry Tasmania’s arrogant slaughterhouse purposes to defile by fire, the creatures of nature along with their wilful purposes to continue to deny the wondrous bountiful forces of pure nature?

    As I do not own a helicopter, I am unable to access these burnt out forested areas to supply to you an accurate wild-life body-count in order to answer the all pervading sniggering questions you lot of scribblers continue to blaze toward myself?
    Maybe the pyro-patrolling helicopter pilot employed by Forestry Tasmania will know the body-count, yet for reasons unknown sees you lot give the usual flatulent fop-off story of ‘Forestry Tasmania is good for Tasmania?’

    I worry about the minds of the people who are all in favor of destroying whatever and wherever our forested environments may be, by way of their arrogant ill-considered ‘broad-area’ napalm bombing conflagrations, seemingly in their order to satiate their suspiciously merciless agendas?

    Oh, by the way, the humble Tassie taxpayer has again funded this Forestry Tasmania ritual torching, of yet another wet-forested wilderness in our increasingly smoking State of Tasmania.

  76. Russell

    November 10, 2010 at 11:03 pm

    Re #135
    Why would anyone want to smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol?

    Re #136

    Re #139
    “Mind you, industrial plantations of hemp would provide ideal cover for the more toxic variety, would they not? Or would there be a need for the same sort of security provided for Tasmania’s opium poppy crops?”

    The more you comment the less scientific intelligence you display.

    No-one growing marijuana (the female plants) would grow it near industrial hemp because it would be cross pollinated and end up with much less THC, thus defeating the purpose. It also isn’t “toxic.”

    And what sort of “security” do poppy crops have? A sign on the fence where the poppies are growing right next to our main roads.

    On the other hand, industrial hemp (with no drug value) has to be grown away from public view and behind locked gates.

    Re #142
    You’ve heard it all before, Martin, search for it.

  77. Dr Barry Tomkins

    November 10, 2010 at 10:27 pm

    Re #141: I suggest you get hold of a copy of Ron Hateley’s book, ‘The Victorian Bush, its ‘original and natural condition’. The evidence for extensive fire stick farming in Victoria is nowhere near as ‘holy writ’ as popular opinion would have us believe. It was far more prevalent in northern Australia. We are talking here of perhaps up to 60,000 years of human habitation in Australia, so if Sequoia spp had been present at the earliest human habitation, there would still, I suggest, be evidence for that.

    You have a fixation with Seqouia, and with the ideas which are relevant to UK and European forestry, but have been shown to be inapplicable here.

    As for Neem (#144) products, until it is thoroughly evaluated for toxicological effects, I couldn’t give a tinker’s cuss that it is a holy tree in India. The same goes for any other product that is derived from natural sources – until it is tested by modern scientific methods, claims must be treated with extreme caution.

    Dr Barry Tomkins

  78. Observer

    November 10, 2010 at 9:45 pm

    #144. Sorry about all the typos in my last number. No need to nit-pick. Written in haste, but I’ll get by with a bit of help from my friends.
    I’m carrently wroknig ona cuer diyslexia for.

  79. Observer

    November 10, 2010 at 9:16 pm

    #136. Safe? What rot, it’s use isn’t regulated, unlike other chemicals. Neem is known to cause infertility in both men and women and also is linked to the development of liver disease in children. Michael.

    The ‘Rot’ comes from Michael and is just another piece of misinformation.

    The Neem Tree is a holy tree in india and is revered because of its medicinal properties. The indians use small twigs from the tree to clean their teeth and the Indian Holy men sus benesth these trees wherever they can. It is widely used in India by both men and women, and as India is now the the most populous nation in the world, so much for infertility!

    Perhaps you would recommend that Tasmanians use pne of Dr Barry’s chemicals to claen their teeth? Maybe you could start the trend?

  80. max

    November 10, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    139 # Dr Barry Tomkins How do we know when you are jesting or just talking pure crap. Are you suggesting that people would sneak into a crop of industrial hemp, up root a few plants and replace them with their own plants and then sneak back in just before harvest. Is this a jest or more crap. Tasmania’s opium poppy crops have a warning sign on the fence and that’s about it, but perhaps hemp crops could have a sign saying, try a sample you wont come back.

  81. mjf

    November 10, 2010 at 8:01 pm

    #135/137. Our wordsmith friend has been requested to put up evidence of the wholesale slaughter of native wildlife by the hand of forestry on previous posts by myself. The response then was a deafening silence and the same modus operandi continues on this occasion.

  82. J A Stevenson

    November 10, 2010 at 5:59 pm

    Dr Barry Tomkins, Simplification is all very well in a general manner but the question of insecticides or herbicides arose where the topic concerning was water contamination of the George River, with the catchment area heavily converted to plantation tree growing.Attempts to discover what chemicals had been used, to clarify the situation, when you were confident that tree plantations were not the culprit, made it impossible judge by your refusal to clarify to what you were referring. On such a serious issue it is no use bleating pesticide to every question. Endosulfin has been banned in Australia only very recently .

    North America, Europe and Asia were one whole land mass. Where and when the horizontal division of Gondwanaland took place is still uncertain. I believe Antarctica, Australia, India, southern tips of Africa and America were all connected. Deep drilling surveys reveal that these were all connected before the carboniferous period. That was the beginning of all life as we know it.

    If it had been possible the Sequoia would have been the dominant tree in the south also. They have been around much longer than the Eucalyptus species. 150 million years plus.

    Before the arrival of the Aboriginals other types of trees may have been the dominants but fire stick farmers ensured that Eucalyptus type trees prevailed. If the Sequoias had been here they would have been the dominants with their resistance to fire, their 2500 to 3500 year old life cycle and their dense shade.

    Of course the whole ecology is different, only a fool could think otherwise.

  83. Peter Bright

    November 10, 2010 at 5:55 pm

    Dr Tomkins (#139) if you research industrial hemp you will find that the naughty stuff can’t grow among the good stuff because the good stuff grows so vigorously and tall that the bad stuff has little chance of survival.

  84. Dr Barry Tomkins

    November 10, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    Re #123: Max – lighten up a bit, for heaven’s sake! It was a jest, and I am well aware that industrial hemp is very low in TCD. Mind you, industrial plantations of hemp would provide ideal cover for the more toxic variety, would they not? Or would there be a need for the same sort of security provided for Tasmania’s opium poppy crops?


    Dr Barry Tomkins

  85. Leonard Colquhoun

    November 10, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    The word ‘chemical’ has got issues these days, to use the lingo which highly paid clever people use, so here’s an effort to ‘address these issues’:

    ‘chemical’ is not the opposite of ‘natural’, because everything, including all those nice ‘natural’ herbs & spices, and all those ‘natural’ remedies & traditional medicines, are full of chemicals.

    Yes, true, so let’s do that again: all those nice ‘natural’ herbs & spices, and all those ‘natural’ remedies & traditional medicines, are full of chemicals.

    Yes, you all, even you TT readers & posters who love Gaia with all your chemical-laden hearts, are full of chemicals – don’t diss your bodies, don’t diss yourselves by sneering at ‘chemicals’

    So-called ‘natural’ remedies work because they have some specific chemicals which work, not because they are applied in a natural state, nor because the influences of any ancient mystical beliefs, Celtic*, ‘Eastern’, ‘primordial’, or whatever other mumbo-jumbo is used to sell them to the gullible.

    Scientific medicines work, generally speaking, because scientists, knowledgeable & trained specialists in their fields, have isolated, extracted, refined, and replicated the relevant pharmacological chemicals, and in some cases, have made them safer and / or more consistent. And certainly made them far more available to many millions & millions more people.

    People who have demonised, are demonising, or continue to demonise, ‘chemical’ seem to fall among these categories:

    (i) ideological or commercial propagandists who know a good current slagging-off term when they hear one;

    (ii) poor naive suckers who’ve fallen for the more extreme versions of Gaiaism;

    (iii) politicians who’ve leapt on the Gaia bandwaggon;

    (iv) ignoramuses, often through no fault of their own, given the condition of science teaching in so many of our schools, who have barely the vaguest awareness of even the most basic facts of empirical science, let alone any of its fundamental principles;

    (v) academic snobs, po-mo relativists (who can bear very little reality), and other intellectual ignoramuses, who have barely the vaguest awareness of even the most basic principles of empirical science, but who often seem immensely proud of that ignorance, an attitude passed on, it seems, to far too many very credulous journalists.

    Beware of spinmeisters spurning chemicals.

    * Anyone who falls for this claptrap deserves to be taken on every expensive blarney-sodden ride they’ve been gulled into.

  86. Michael

    November 10, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    #131 – Good on you, William. Unable to provide any evidence to support your outlandish claims again.

    Well, it wasn’t surprising.

  87. Michael

    November 10, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    #134 – I hope you will be adhering to the application rates prescribed on the container before using Neem (if it even has one).

    Safe? What rot, it’s use isn’t regulated, unlike other chemicals. Neem is known to cause infertility in both men and women and also is linked to the development of liver disease in children. Better hope you have some buffers on your streams.

  88. Bemused

    November 10, 2010 at 11:47 am

    Likewise. I take it thats a no to the evidence then William?

    I think most people already realise that there is a difference between “dope” and hemp. Why would anyone want to smoke either of them?

  89. Russell

    November 10, 2010 at 10:09 am

    Re #133
    “I don’t see anyone else complaining on this site about the pesticide definition that I gave you some time ago.”

    Not so much about the “definition,” but definitely about the dangerous chemicals allowed to be listed and used under these names while other safe and effective alternatives like Neem aren’t allowed.

    Oh, and Barry, my order has arrived.

  90. Dr Barry Tomkins

    November 10, 2010 at 4:42 am

    Re #130: J A Stevenson: Science seeks to classify and group wherever possible, in order to simplify understanding of particular topics.

    Pesticide is the overarching term used to describe chemicals which control a range of pests, from pest plants, pest insects, pest fungi, pest worms, pest algae, pest rodents etc.

    As I have patiently explained to you before, the overarching term can then be applied to the different sorts of pesticides – ‘-ICIDE’ being added to indicate these. Thus we have herbicides (or weedicides if you prefer), insecticides, fungicides, nematicides, miticides, algacides, rodenticides, molluscicides etc etc. We also include repellants and a few other substances.

    There is nothing complicated about the terminology. It gets more complicated when we start to talk about different modes of action eg. herbicides are grouped as to where in the biochemical growth cycle they ‘attack’. That might be ‘inhibitors of photo-synthesis at photosystem 11 (roman numeral 2), or inhibitors of acetolactate synthase (an enzyme inhibitor), or inhibitors of tubulin formation. There are similarly divisions for insecticides.

    It is you that has the problem. I don’t see anyone else complaining on this site about the pesticide definition that I gave you some time ago.

    You state ‘It is most unfortunate that Sequoia sempervirons could not cross over to the Southern Hemisphere.’

    What rubbish! – the whole ecology would be different. You do not seem to be able to come to terms with the Australian environment, believing falsely that northern hemisphere species and approaches to forestry are necessarily superior to those in Australia. Things are simply different; there is nothing unfortunate about it.

    Dr Barry Tomkins

  91. Russell

    November 9, 2010 at 11:56 pm

    Re #129
    “Oh, and the active mind altering compound in dope is THC.”

    Gold star for the boy at the back. You could also have given the correct information that you could smoke a paddock of industrial hemp and the most you will be affected is to get a massive headache or lung cancer.

  92. William Boeder

    November 9, 2010 at 10:14 pm

    Bemused, I am unable to to locate anything of substance or of worthwhile consideration through and by your posts to this forum.

    #121. Observer, your comment has brought forward the thoughts of so many attendees to this site, I agree that there is a determined effort by a small number of pro-forestry individuals, wholly intent on the purposes of destroying the integrity of this Tas Times forum.

    I would welcome a return to those valuable concepts and freedoms enjoyed by all of the former and current individuals, particularly those whom are not in the business of acting as corporate serving puppets?

  93. J A Stevenson

    November 9, 2010 at 7:17 pm

    Re: # 88 Simplot have reduced its price for potatoes for this year by $25 per: tonne.
    Data issued by the Australian Bureau of Statistics up to June 30th 2010 shows that imports saturate the Australian vegetable market with the Australian balance of trade in vegetables negative at $306 million in 2009-10 financial year. That was 6 months ago. What will next June figures show. Wheat from WA yields will be disappointing this year and Victoria, NSW and Queensland may yet be hit by devastating locust swarms.

    Re: # 94 When you refer to chemicals it is impossible to understand to what you mean.
    It seems that other posters are as confused as I when you blanket every chemical with the term Pesticide. Use simple language, Herbicides for killing weeds, Insecticides for insects and so forth.
    One suspects you are just trying to confuse by blinding everything with Bullshit.

    Re: # 96 Timber harvested 90 years ago would have been done with little damage to the forest infrastructure. Possibly little clear felling, selected trees felled and converted to a large extent on the spot, Hauled away by horse or bullock power so the site would not be incinerated as today

    Re: # 127 Forest wildlife does only consist of small furry animals one can see hopping about. The vast majority of forest wildlife can only be seen with a microscope. The vast majority of this wildlife consists slow moving beneficial creatures, up to and including snakes and frogs, numerous larger insects etc. Including many bird species driven away. That is one of the reasons insecticides of various kinds have to be used.

    It is most unfortunate that Sequoia sempervirons could not cross over to the Southern Hemisphere. They are dominant largely because if they grow in company of other species like firs and thuja’s, the first fires will kill the competitors but with their thick fire resistant bark and ability to re clothe themselves with epicormic growths they suffer not long term injury. They quickly suppress ground vegetation so should stop a fire dead in its tracks. Perhaps 200 hectare blocks within a fire prone district would provide safe havens for all. Humans and animals alike.

  94. Bemused

    November 9, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    Oh dear. The pro forestry “gang” have no wish for you, or others to be silenced. You are free to express your opinions in any way you see fit,and I defend your right to do so. As for sabotage?? How can it be sabotage? Because they disagree? Should the TT site become the domain of anti forestry people only? Why should that be the case? So that mistruths and unquantifiable allegations can be made wth no fear of being held up as such? ” A medium for forestry propaganda”? What, as opposed to a medium for anti forestry propaganda?

    Oh, and the active mind altering compound in dope is THC.

  95. Michael

    November 9, 2010 at 5:24 pm

    #121 – Well, well, well. This is the second time that you have called for persons with differing opinions to yourself to be silenced! I think you should move to North Korea, as it certainly fits with your views on ‘expressing an opinion’. You state “For once I wish to call a spade a spade…” so haven’t been truthful previously?

    You can think all you like, that your opinion is based on truth and facts, but I think you are beginning to realise just how wrong your blinkered view of the world is? Having people pull you up on some of your outlandish claims, such as the forests currently standing are one million years old is just but one fine example.

    Other examples are shown here in your statements in this article, where you show a clear lack of knowledge of some of the most basic biological aspects of the dominant tree species found in Tasmania’s forests. Yet you have the gall, to complain when your mistakes are pointed out to you!

    You can wish all you like to be ‘slapped on the back’ by your equally un-informed chums, but some people don’t like to see blatant untruths and mis-representations go unchallenged. I couldn’t give two hoots if you or others hate forestry (though if you do, I’d like to see you relinquish all use of timber products, though I doubt you hypocrites would do that), that is an OPINION and you have the right to express that, but to go around making generally unfounded emotive claims about silvicultural practices, massive species loss, large tracts of plantations overtaking agricultural land etc IS open to challenge, especially since they are made through a public medium. It is truly telling that you actually have no evidence that backs up any of your claims, just an OPINION that you don’t like forestry.

    Finally, I would hope for your sake that your post at #121 was made in jest, otherwise it does show us quite a lot about you personally, Observer.

  96. Bemused

    November 9, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    NOOOOOOO. Now there is two of them…

    Sir Willy
    Could you please provide some evidence of this “wholesale slaughter of the wildlife “?

  97. Russell

    November 9, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    Re #52
    Cooool. Time for our farmers to grow hemp for paper in their crop rotations, as once was the case all over the world.

  98. Dr Barry Tomkins

    November 9, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    Re #120: Observer (NOT!): For native forest regeneration, wet sclerophyll, the regen burn provides an ash bed, which is seeded usually with locally collected seed of the dominant species. The burn is conducted under cool conditions far different to the conditions that occur on days like Black Saturday.

    You are confusing conversion of native forest to plantation, which is no longer allowed.

    And your language is abusive and does you no credit.

    Dr Barry Tomkins

  99. Michael

    November 9, 2010 at 11:41 am

    #120 – Wow, Observer, you appear confused again! You fail to understand the biology of some of these wet sclerophyll species. Eucalyptus regnans (Mountain Ash) IS killed by fire. In a natural fire event, seedfall would be released onto the burnt ground from these dead trees, and because the understorey and dominant trees have been killed the seed germinates and the seedlings quickly grow and take advantage of the high light levels and reduced competition. This is how these E. regnans stands regenerate after a natural fire event, the individual trees do not ‘regenerate’ as you appear to believe.

    These trees are killed if the fire is hot enough to burn through their relatively thin bark layer and into the cambium. Once the vascular structures of the tree have been interfered with then the tree will die through the lack of nutrient and water transportation between the crown and the roots. A similar practice was/is undertaken by some farmers i.e. ‘ringbarking’. Tree species with thicker bark layers such as E. obliqua (Messmate), E. sieberi (Silvertop) and E. tricarpa (Red Ironbark) are much more resistant to fire through the nature of having a thicker bark layer to protect the cambium from harm. Species with thicker bark structures are more likely to have epicormic shoots, as a regenerative mechanism after a fire event, purely because the individual tree has a much higher chance of surviving. From an evolutionary perspective species with thin bark layers, it is useless for these species to have epicormic structures as the tree can be killed by even quite mild fire events, thus the epicormic structures are wasted.

    Now, after an E. regnans coupe has been harvested and burnt, seed that has been collected from the crowns during harvesting is aerially sown back onto the coupe after it has been burnt. This is to simulate the seedfall that would of occurred naturally. The seed then germinates and grows as per usual. The other species present germinate quite readily from their own seed sources.

    Now a few other points:

    You state that “weedkiller” is used. In native regeneration coupes there is no application of herbicides, unless there is a infestation of non-native species. Game control (Shooting) is only undertaken if absolutely necessary.

    Also for native to native coupes, there is NO windrowing undertaken, as this minimises the areas covered with slash and reduces the effectiveness of a burn. The only heaps you would see are the bark and off-cut piles that are present at the landing.

    Observer, you seem to be describing a conversion from native forest to plantation coupe or a plantation to plantation coupe. What you have described does not happen when a native forest is harvested and returned to native forest.

    These days, for 2R (and 3R) plantation sites the trend is towards no burning of the windrows as plantation slash levels are much less than what was seen in conversion coupes.

    Attempting to peddle your mis-information as fact is less than hounorable, Observer.

  100. max

    November 9, 2010 at 11:11 am

    119 # Dr Barry Tomkins. Why are you fighting such a desperate rearguard action, is your job on the line? Some of us are trying to talk a little sense and make the world a better place to live in and some who have the qualifications to do just that, are coming up with crap as a diversion. With Dr in front of your name you would be aware that industrial hemp is not the stuff you get stoned on.

  101. William Boeder

    November 9, 2010 at 10:44 am

    During my recent trip to Hobart to attend the Annual Tas Time Knees-up, I travelled from Rosebery to Launceston across to Scottsdale and beyond, down to Hobart.
    In every instance I noticed nothing but seedlings with their very small pink/orange surrounding mesh, or maybe it was a plastic sack, this was to show that there could be no natural generation allowed from ash beds.

    Not one area was there, to show of any ash bed that had not been clear-felled previously and harvesting waste was evident and thick on the ground, all then was bull-dozed up into long piles and burnt or awaiting that same fate.

    Whether it was plantation ground, private land, or our clear-felled native forest, nothing has changed in regard to burning procedures.
    Now we get to the regen forests where fires have been set as fuel reduction burns, this seems to be for the purposes of ensuring that some eucalyptus species “might” one day dominate the fuel reduction burnt forests.

    Fuel reduction burns actually would favor the supposed forestry industry if mostly eucalyptus species then emerged.

    Therefore it seems to me that fuel reduction burns “are not really purposed to minimise fire risk,” as is so strongly stated by Parks and Wildlife?

  102. Observer

    November 9, 2010 at 9:08 am

    I am getting sick and tired of the gang that appear to want to destroy this site. Everyione knows who they are and their policy seems to be to sabotage every single thread that has any remote connection with the environment, Forestry, public health, etc. They attack not only the thread and try to divert attention away from the theme, but also attack the contributors with sometimes brazen personal assaults or sly innuendos. I have decided I’m going to fight back using some of their own tactics, if I can bring myself to stoop that low.

    And please, editor, this is not a breach of standards, this is a form of protection for what was a wonderful site and is now degenerating in to a meaningless medium for all the greenie bashers and anti-environmental elements to wreak havoc on this and the contributors and try to either drive them off and also get rid of your audience and the influence this site once had. There are a series of wonderful contributors who have a high degree of perception and write telling articles. This is the target for the paid mercenaries whos seek to denigrate, degrade and deflect. No-one is sacrosanct, however beneficial or altruistic their actions and no subject ever meets with their approval. Their snide remarks and underhand sniping are not only getting tedious, but it is unfortunately being allowed to happen under the presumed doctrine of ‘freedom of expression’. It is not freedom of expression on their part, it is the very antithesis and an attempt at sabotage and to shut the people up who express contrary opinions that are not to the benefit basically of the mess we call forestry. The TRUTH is a ralying call for them to attack.


    For once I wish to call a spade a spade, and after some of the personal and rather nasty comments that have been hurled against me and published, I think I deserve a little retribution.

    Here is a prime example of innuendo from someone who should know better.

    119.‘Two second(s) on you(r) computer would have shown hemp’s value as food, animals love the stuff.’ Stoned, no doubt to the Max! …Dr Barry Tomkins

    This is an implied lie. No-one better than Dr Tomkins should know that no-one can get stoned on hemp. And don’t try to let him plead ignorance. That comment was deliberate. As a chemist he is perfectly well aware that the TCD levels are minimal and it is NOT marijuana. This has probably less effect on animals than some of those chemicals he is so fond of spruiking.

    The reference of ‘being stoned to the Max’ is also a personal slight on Max, the contributor who raised the subject, with an obvious implied reference that he is smoking dope.

    I think Linz! you should be a little more careful about the preservation of your site. It is rapidly becoming just a medium for forestry propaganda! And they want a social licence?


  103. Observer

    November 9, 2010 at 8:18 am

    My God,
    Firstly we are told that fire kills the regnans and the delegatensis and then when I ask the obvious question, they weave and waffle about regen burns not being hot enough or high enough etc etc etc.

    Regen burns after clearfelling are a forestry lie. They are sterilization burns, followed by weedkiller and planting of chosen species. There is nothing left to regenerate after the napalm has been added to the mix. The ash bed is minimal, and is unnecessary, as the seedlings have been reared elsewhere and most of the ash went up into the atmosphere with the smoke plumes. Walk through a coupe after clearfelling and burning and all you will find is scorched earth, with the humus destroyed and some charred stumps heaped into windrows. There is barely a sign of ash, and even less after a heavy rainfall. No, they are all lying, and just mouthing a well rehearsed routine which is aimed to make those who don’t know think that forestry is doing a good job. Literally smoke…. and mirrors. It’s all rubbish and shows a desperation now that the end is in sight for forestry as it stands, and the perpetual slush fund they feed off is drying up, and as far as I am concerned, the sooner it ends the better!

    Now watch the denialists crawl out of the woodwork. All the usual suspects.. and some, but it’s about time someone told them the truth in language they understand.

  104. Dr Barry Tomkins

    November 9, 2010 at 12:13 am

    Re #115: ‘Two second(s) on you(r) computer would have shown hemp’s value as food, animals love the stuff.’ Stoned, no doubt to the Max!

    Dr Barry Tomkins

  105. William Boeder

    November 8, 2010 at 11:07 pm

    In case the State government approved pernicious incendiary conflagration specialists get too carried away with their own babble, as to who is anyway interested in the wholesale slaughter of the wildlife component in our forests, when out and about setting their fires to which ever selected isolated forested region?
    This State government sanctioned wildlife slaughter, (arson-fest) is not just the work of Parks and Wildlife guardians, but can often result from forestry industry instigated burn-offs that rage out of control.
    This firing activity could only be the work of some obtuse high-minded clowns who deny the responsibility to that which they have been entrusted to care for.

  106. Dr Barry Tomkins

    November 8, 2010 at 10:31 pm

    Re #112: Observer (NOT!): THINK. In a regen burn, how many trees are left where the fire can climb to where the bark turns over and hangs down? Not many, and the retained trees are not close enough to become a crown fire.

    How high is the regen burn, which is slash from logging, compared to the understorey prior to logging? Much lower – the slash is on the ground, maybe 1-2 m at the most. Fuel height is critical to fire severity and crowning amongst other weather factors.

    Yes, the regen burn mimics a bushfire (wildfire) in terms of it heat output, but it can’t crown like a severe bushfire. It gives the same or similar ash bed required for the regeneration of wet sclerophyll forest, but it is not conducted under the extreme conditions of an uncontrolled bushfire.

    Dr Barry Tomkins

  107. William Boeder

    November 8, 2010 at 10:09 pm

    #110. I note that you have some form of affectation, not unlike that of someone suffering from an incident of accidental exposure to a hallucinogenic substance?
    Life must be challenging for you if this be your unfortunate circumstance, perhaps you might seek additional specialist medical expertise to aid your peculiar form of psychiatric dis-conformity?
    Kind regards,

    William Boeder.

  108. max

    November 8, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    111# Dr Barry Tomkins. I have lost all faith in any thing you say. If you are willing to make statements with out thinking …. Have a look at what you said. Max: Your assertions do not make biological sense to me. If hemp ‘has no known insect enemies and is also highly resistant to disease’, it should be a dominant plant everywhere. Two second on you computer would have shown hemp’s value as food, animals love the stuff.

  109. Mark Wybourne

    November 8, 2010 at 8:52 pm

    Re 112 Observer. You are talking about the difference between a ‘cool’ burn and a ‘hot’ burn.

    Wildfires are invariably hot burns and kill the trees.

    A hot burn may kill the trees, but will crack / strategy the seed to produce even aged germination, hence the ‘even aged’ natural forests that you see today.

  110. Dr Barry Tomkins

    November 8, 2010 at 8:25 pm

    Re #112, Observer: They are not lying. Regen burns are after clearfell or shelterwood and are not as hot as severe bushfires. So it burns the bark, but not the crown, which is what happens in a severe bushfire

    Dr Barry Tomkins

  111. Observer

    November 8, 2010 at 8:10 pm

    #111. Eucalyptus regnans and Eucalyptus delegatensis (Mountain Ash and Alpine Ash), two of the dominant species in wet sclerophyll forests, are killed by fire.

    If this is true, then why are Forestry lying about ‘Regeneration Burns’ in this type of forest?

    On the other hand, Parks and Wildlife claim just the opposite, and that the hanging bark at the bottom of Regnans encourages fire to climb the tree and helps with regeneration!

  112. Dr Barry Tomkins

    November 8, 2010 at 6:40 pm

    Re #101, Max: Your assertions do not make biological sense to me. If hemp ‘has no known insect enemies and is also highly resistant to disease’, it should be a dominant plant everywhere.

    Re #106, Observer (NOT!): Eucalyptus regnans and Eucalyptus delegatensis (Mountain Ash and Alpine Ash), two of the dominant species in wet sclerophyll forests, are killed by fire. It is the species in the dry sclerophyll forests that develop epicormic shoots after fire.

    Dr Barry Tomkins

  113. The other Master William

    November 8, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    Master Boeder, concerning your “#91. I do not recognize your claim from the grave, nor will I accept that whomsoever you are you can be so elevated in society as to instruct to me the wherewithal of your judgement upon my manner of correspondences.

    “In your sinister secretive stance that you have adopted in this instance of your comment, and the fact that you hide your timid character behind the walls of anonymity, tells me that you are a spiritless faint-hearted little butterfly, inclined to tremble at the sight of your own shadow.

    “May I remind you that this article has nought to do with the varietals of verbiage nor any other word arrangements.” –

    Can I be certain that you are not, as it is put in your times, trying to ‘pull my leg’ by ‘sending yourself up’?

    ‘Self-parody’ is what some masters of verbiage call what you do. I used the same varietal of verbiage with my character of the Porter in my much well-regarded Scottish Play.

    What is more, it seems that a flying kangaroo over the isle of Singapore suffered from a flap of the wings of this “spiritless faint-hearted little butterfly”.

  114. Bemused

    November 8, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    Methinks that certain people here have never heard of carbon dating..

  115. max

    November 8, 2010 at 10:47 am

    105 # Leonard. All you had to do was type in Industrial Hemp in Google but it was easier to write a naive reply. The following is only a minute sample of the benefits of hemp, have a look.
    · Food:
    Hemp oil is mostly valued for its high content of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). At 80%, the hempseed oil contains the highest concentration of total PUFAs in the plant kingdom, the majority of which are the two essential fatty acids (EFA) linoleic acid (omega-6) and alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3). Its balanced EFA ratio, which closely matches human nutritional requirements, makes hemp oil a suitable ingredient in a variety of food, supplement and personal care products. Added to the value of hemp oil is the presence of a rare fatty acid, gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), which is used to treat ailments such as neurodermatitis, arthritis and premenstrual syndrome.

  116. Observer

    November 7, 2010 at 9:47 pm

    101…95 # hugoagogo Would you please give me your reference on hemp has known browsing insects …Max

    The names can be located in a Forestry ‘who’s-who’!

  117. Observer

    November 7, 2010 at 9:26 pm

    #100. …..it makes the forest that regenerated from that event 350-450 years old! .. Michael.

    NO! The operative term is ‘REGENERATE” and only applies to some of the current trees, not the forest. The trees were not utterly destroyed, as they would not be able to regenerate after a fire. See what the local Victoria bushfires did and the what the forests look like now, if you want proof. Fire is only a temporary thing in the forests and only the non-eucalypt trees are killed by it. It is a metamorphosis only. The forests have a continuous history dating way back to primordial times.

    The reason they survived is that money had not been invented then!

  118. Leonard Colquhoun

    November 7, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    OK, Comment 101, so hemp “benefits the soil, needs little water, has no known pests so water ways are not at risk and is becoming the next big thing in agriculture”, but can you eat it?

    Maybe, but only for the boxes in which Nutrigrain is packaged.

    However, how to dispose of the Nutrigrain in an environmentally sound way?

  119. William Boeder

    November 7, 2010 at 8:36 pm

    #99. Michael. (try 350-400 years old chap)
    (And maybe some form of detail and or response to #96, in that of your assertions and upon which side of the great divide you are positioned.)
    I am e’er fascinated by the pro-forestry push and their brethren, whom collectively seem to suggest that they have a deeper more intimate knowledge of the goings on in our Australian Forests, (EG: Tasmanian Forests,) well before Tasmania was visited by the first educated individual able to give account of such facts as pertains to our Ancient forests?

    As explained previously in this article, both Geology and Archeology are inexact sciences, insomuch as they practice age and time guess-timations in their attempts to prove the “point in past time” era, of whatever ancient or antiquity objectae is referred to.

    Now, for those assuming “but yet to be proven forestry scholastic champions,” to quote as they do, of the 350-450 age factor, of all things forest related in Tasmania, they must understand tis a big ask of the the brighter-minded individuals in our society, to have all believe in your forest age assessments as being the absolute ruling arbiter of forest related fact?

    The mighty firestorms supposedly raging through our forests at that above-suggested time, do seem to have given special immunity to our ancient Huon Pine species?

    A fair and relevant question for your Forestry Tasmania experts: what is the time ‘in years’ for a 100 metre Eucalyptus Regnans to completely decompose?
    If your answer is “we don’t know,” then that indicates the entire spectrum of forestry knowledge by your said experts?

    My point here is to question just how, (after a presumed maximum 200 year recorded history of Australian Forests, you and your brethren can be so specific as to the age events in and of our Ancient Forests?

  120. max

    November 7, 2010 at 7:09 pm

    100 # Michael you are becoming very pedantry in your arguments and it is away of diverting what every one knows, our forests have established them selves over a very long time. You said ( Eucalyptus obliqua, regnans lifespan is roughly 350-450 years.  Since these are the dominant species, having grown after a major fire event that killed the previous stand and understorey, it makes the forest that regenerated from that event 350-450 years old! ) How do you know, have you taken carbon soil samples to know if there was a fire, or are you resurrecting the fable that these trees need a major fire to regenerate. 200- 300 ft trees burnt to the ground by a major fire, aborigines running for their lives, the mind boggles, what set this raging inferno of and why does it only happen every 350-450 years?

  121. William Boeder

    November 7, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    #91. I do not recognize your claim from the grave, nor will I accept that whomsoever you are you can be so elevated in society as to instruct to me the wherewithal of your judgement upon my manner of correspondences.

    In your sinister secretive stance that you have adopted in this instance of your comment, and the fact that you hide your timid character behind the walls of anonymity, tells me that you are a spiritless faint-hearted little butterfly, inclined to tremble at the sight of your own shadow.

    May I remind you that this article has nought to do with the varietals of verbiage nor any other word arrangements.

    My contention is that there is mischief behind the claims of the younger than factual ages being allocated to our primeval forests, this is merely to suit the purposes of those hell-bent to continue to plunder and destroy these rarefied forests for the ill-gotten gain of others, almost entirely at the expense of the little Aussie taxpayer?

    Trees, forests of trees, our great mountains of trees, do bate back much earlier in time to the 350-450 years as held by the pro-forestry push.

    To claim otherwise to this fact borders on the cusp of full-blown imbecility.

    Since my arrival in Tasmania I have observed some 8 years of exposure to duplicitous purposes hostile actions, false testimonies, questionably false accounting practices and principles, back-sliding denials, surreptitious contrivances between ministers of this government, these are but a small number of the malfeasance’s,mischief-makings and malefactions peculiar to the management of Forestry Tasmania.

    This entity is perhaps the only known operative entity in Australia, that has no reputable “code of conduct” regulator, no accountability to the Crown, no responsibility to answer for its contraventions of State Law, is known and shown to be immune from all and every government regulatory body in Tasmania.

    On this basis I hold the view that my time-lines and ages of our Ancient Forests, to be more precise and to be a great deal superior, than to that of the spinners and dream-merchants feeding from the teat of Forestry Tasmania!

  122. max

    November 7, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    95 # hugoagogo Would you please give me your reference on hemp has known browsing insects (see DPIE Tas hemp info sheet) I think you left out a no. The only thing I could find was
    • A crop of hemp requires no application of herbicides. With a density of 200 to 300 plants per square meter, there is no available room or light for weeds to grow.
    • The hemp plant also has no need of pesticides. It has no known insect enemies and is also highly resistant to disease.
    All the information on hemp that I can find makes the point that it benefits the soil, needs little water, has no known pests so water ways are not at risk and is becoming the next big thing in agriculture.

  123. Michael

    November 7, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    #68 – “Nevertheless, both types of forest date back MILLIONS of years, as I stated!”

    Actually you stated they have been “standing” for millions of years, so clearly you were refering to the current (old growth) eucalypt trees that are present.

    From your following statements, it appears that you can not admit you were wrong.

  124. Michael

    November 7, 2010 at 10:43 am

    William, Eucalyptus obliqua, regnans lifespan is roughly 350-450 years. Since these are the dominant species, having grown after a major fire event that killed the previous stand and understorey, it makes the forest that regenerated from that event 350-450 years old!

  125. Michael

    November 7, 2010 at 10:37 am

    #92 – Once again … As of 2006, only 5,000 hectares of class 1-3 ag land was planted with timber plantations. Only a further 40,000 hectares of class 4 land had been used for timber plantations. 45,000 hectares out of the 1,900,000 hectares of agricultural land in Tasmania, is hardly ‘large tracts’ that have spread accross the state.

  126. J A Stevenson

    November 7, 2010 at 10:27 am

    There were forests during the Carboniferous period 360 million years ago but they were most likely fern type trees. The forests are what manufactured the oxygen we breath. The permian coal seams of India were laid down 300 million years to 250 million years ago but they are mainly peat based.Australia black coal is 200 to 300 million years old while the brown coal is much younger only 65 million years old. Early forests consisted of fern like species,wind pollinated and wind dispersed. 150 million years ago ancestors of redwood and sequoia trees grew throughout the US.
    However forests are not static but advance and retreat with changing temperatures and sea levels etc. Monterey Pine was a small remnant clinging to life between the sea and the deserts in California. To where it had been pushed to by rising sea levels having previously grown In vast forests on the continental shelf to the west of America during the ice ages. Seedling from these trees have been planted throughout the world as Radiata pine.

    The dinosaurs lived on the forests vegetation, so forests of one type or the other have been around for a long time bringing oxygen and all forms of life to the earth. As a result of mans stupidity they will not be here for much longer. When they finally go, if not before, so will all forms of warm blooded life.

    Re # 88. Dr Barry Tomkin, you are a tree farmer, not a forester. Plantations could be converted to forests, but plantations are not forests.

  127. Dr Kevin Bonham

    November 7, 2010 at 12:39 am

    Observer in #93 has engaged in a rather naughty piece of recasting of his/her earlier comments in a vain attempt to salvage the unsalvageable. The original claim referred to differences between 90yo regrowth and “an old growth forest that has been standing for millions of years”, and did so in order to claim that regrowth has different characteristics to such supposedly ancient old growth.

    To say that [i]the species[/i] that make up rainforests and wet eucalypt forests (and even those kinds of forests) have been here for millions of years isn’t even contested; indeed I alluded to this in #71. But it’s also irrelevant when your supposed point is about the characteristics of regrowth vs old growth as they apply to the ecology of a specific area.

    Yes, there are areas of rainforest now that were also rainforest at the height of the last glacial (18-22 000 years ago), and may well have been for some time before that. The reconstruction I mentioned above suggests there would have been rainforest at that time in much of the central west coast, scattered parts of what is now the southern forests and isolated very small refuges elsewhere. Not all these areas are rainforests now. But even for those that are, it is a long way from that to saying that any given one of these areas was the same rainforest (without stand replacement events such as catastrophic fire) for all that time, and even for any that were, that’s just another 978,000 years to go before you get to your million.

    Whether there is, somewhere in some deep gully somewhere near the south-west coast for instance, a scrap of forest in Tasmania that has been rainforest continuously for a million years is quite irrelevant. There is no reason to believe Observer’s “million years” argument is relevant to the question of usage of the timber resources available to commercial forestry. In the vast majority of such cases there is overwhelming evidence that those forests (as distinct from the [i]types[/i] of forests that they are) cannot be millions of years old and in the remainder there is no evidence that they are.

    Incidentally, there are plenty of Tasmanian-endemic species that use the 90-year regrowth cycle forests too.

  128. hugoagogo

    November 6, 2010 at 10:40 pm

    #87 Exactly Leonard, so the appropriate place to grow our timber and fibre needs are in native and planted forests between the farms and the reservations; much as it’s done now.

    #90 why, when hemp has known browsing insects (see DPIE Tas hemp info sheet) would these not respond to monoculture situations with periodic epidemic outbreaks? Pest management is a given for every other intensive crop.

    #86 I’ve sown, planted, grown, logged and regenerated or replanted plenty of native and planted forests. It may astound you that I do know one from the other.

    Max, put in your test plots of hemp and let us know how you go. If you sow better varieties brace yourself for baseless GMO scaremongering by anyone who’s taken a dislike to your operation. Detail all the inputs, yields, and of course results of properly designed water quality monitoring. I’m sure you will be completely transparent, even with the CIC stuff that the competition in WA would love to get hold of, and wouldn’t dream of cooking the books even if your yields didn’t quite match what’s being mis-quoted hereabouts by Observer et al. And when you decide to go commercial and start looking for 100,000 ha/yr of better grazing and cropping land, let us know what mechanisms you might use to aggregate a land resource, particularly if traditional farmers aren’t knocking at the door. And then if you get going let us know how many nanoseconds until Bob has his apoplexia.

    My point here is that any fibre crop has much the same issues as one based on trees, and hemp, and wheat straw etc. are posed merely as a diversion from The Agenda, of which I’ll remind folks if the request is put nicely.

  129. Dr Barry Tomkins

    November 6, 2010 at 9:48 pm

    Re #90: First of all, Justa Bloke, a weedicide (or herbicide) IS a pesticide. Secondly, what evidence do you have that a crop such as hemp will require less pesticide (herbicide or insecticide) than E. nitens? It may require more, given that it would be an annual crop, whereas E. nitens is only treated with herbicides 2 or 3 times in the first two years, and may or may not be treated with an insecticide.

    One thing is certain, and that is that hemp or any other crop makes demands on soil nutrients which would have to be replaced. Trees require little fertilizer, maybe a couple of times in a rotation. Trees bring nutrient up from depths that are not possible for crops like hemp, or wheat. That is why ForestrySA, for example, has demonstrated that on the sandy soils of SE SA site quality index improves with rotations of Radiata pine.

    Dr Barry Tomkins

  130. Observer

    November 6, 2010 at 9:20 pm

    #71. At the height of the last glacial most of what is now old-growth euc forest or rainforest was not even forest at all but was instead alpine vegetation, grassland or woodland.

    Just to reopen this subject on the age of Old Growth Forests, much of what we now see in the these forests is indigenous to Tasmania. The variety of trees we now have did not suddenly appear in the last ten thousand years, they must also have existed and developed their diversity in the previous inter-glacial periods and have been in existence PRIOR to the recent ice-age. These species must also have lived through this 100 000 year period for them to be here at all, which tends to validate my claim of the forests being here for millions of years? It is only a matter of their density over the time frames that is in question. There is obviously some die-back and then reaforestation after the ice receded, but there certainly must have been pockets of this original forest that survived these glacial periods dating back, literally, millions of years!

  131. Observer

    November 6, 2010 at 8:14 pm

    #84. As you all well know, tree pulp crops are grown sustainably, profitably and benignly up the back in the rough country, where you can’t crop (drill sow, combine harvest) anything, including hemp. Hugagogo

    I see the master of misinformation is at it again. I think every single clause of this statement is either a deliberate distortion of fact, is impropaganda or hugagogo hasn’t graduated from the kindergarten and opened his eyes yet.

    Tree pulp ‘crops’ (plantation) are neither sustainable, profitable, benign nor are they grown only on the ‘rough country’. The take over of large tracts of farmland, disaffecting farming communities, especially in the North, where huge areas of what was once farmland are now dedicated to plantations and stretch almost the full length of the island, and the spectacular collapse of the MIS schemes and the refusal of investors to re-invest points the lie to the other claims. Apart from that, you can also grow hemp almost anywhere.

    We are not simpletons, you know, and this sort of statement is an insult to our intelligence, so try not to talk such rubbish in future.

  132. Master Wm Shakespeare

    November 6, 2010 at 6:07 pm

    Master Wm Boeder, stop trying to write like I did. The times do not suit it. Take lessons from some Master to write in plain and straight words.

  133. Justa Bloke

    November 6, 2010 at 2:59 pm

    The market rules of supply and demand can’t apply to land until such time as someone discovers how to produce more of it.

    Costing the importing of food versus growing it locally must take the oil use and carbon emissions involved in transport into account.

    It appears that a monoculture hemp plantation would need less in the way of pesticide use than one of nitens. The aim should be for zero use. Likewise with weedicides. Banana waste and wheat straw must be used for something and paper seems one of the best bets. At least that wouldn’t add to the use of poisons, even if it didn’t lessen it.

  134. William Boeder

    November 6, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    Re comment #61. Michael.
    You are guilty of making the reference to our Ancient Forests as being 350-450 years old.
    This wholly ignorant stance is chosen by the known “non-sustainable industry” experts, as referred to, (and or claimed by Forestry Tasmania and their brethren.)
    This re-aging argument has arisen so to suit the purposes of F/T when claiming much of our primeval forests are simply regen’ forests.

    That you and your pro-forestry pushers and pumpers artfully choose to go on and on about some fanciful much younger forest age, then to bombard the media and people to try and accept the referenced forests as truly a much younger aged forest, [other than the actual age truths to said forests.

    Thus those F/T sought forests are again re-badged so to provide some lesser restricted access.

    Tis rudely shameful and false to see the fallacious extremes that the pro-forestry boys get up to?

    That there may exist small samples of altered forestry practice, as carefully planned out for publicity purposes, this in itself is nought but another form of industry obfuscation.)

    As the Leopards of the night do not change their spots, nor do the management machinations of the present hooded brigade of F/T, alter their own industry preferred forestry exterminations.

  135. Dr Barry Tomkins

    November 6, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    Re #85: I refer back to #66, where you averred that ‘Australia is a net importer of food for the first time ever since the days of the first fleets’.

    Your words, J A Stevenson, hoist on your own petard. No perhaps, maybe at all. You are extremely rude eg -‘A topic of which you are completely ignorant’ above. Really? – I have been around forestry (although not a forester) for as long as you, and Australian temperate forestry at that, and particularly plantation forestry.

    If anyone has demonstrated their ignorance of Australian forests and forestry on this site time after time, it is you.

    Dr Barry Tomkins

  136. Leonard Colquhoun

    November 6, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    Under the caveat scriptor which opens Comment 58, it seems to me that displacing food production from agriculturally rich wetlands to grow hemp makes as much sense as turning other arable land into ethanol plantations.

    Yes, Houston, we have a problem, but that does not look like the solution.

  137. max

    November 6, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    84 # Are you the minister for misinformation, who else would say? As you all well know, tree pulp crops are grown sustainably, profitably and benignly up the back in the rough country, where you can’t crop (drill sow, combine harvest) anything, including hemp. I have the misfortune to have seen a lot of tree farms, plantations, or as you call them, tree pulp crops and hemp would grow better and produce more in all of these areas.
    Perhaps you are confusing native forests with plantations, or do you think native forests are tree pulp crops.

  138. J A Stevenson

    November 6, 2010 at 10:46 am

    Re: # 77 I was never singing to any tune. The argument is just two sides of the same coin. The comment was PERHAPS, I do not know. Do you?

    What I do know is that the 7 year contract to supply wood chips to Japan was not renewed when it expired. McCain’s shut the Smithton vegetable processing factory before the rise in the value of the Aus: dollar. The saw logs which raised controversy over being exported to China at a give away price with their attendant fumigation problems and expense were eventually rejected after the first ship load.

    I would suggest that you are the one who is ignorant regarding pine. Radiata can never, ever be classified as quality softwood timber. While it may suffice to use as internal wall dividers in the construction of house, Provided it has not used in any load bearing situations it can be used to support plasterboard dividing walls. Also provided that it is well protected with CCA protection. Incidental posts treated in this manner are being phased out as support posts in vineyards due to chemicals leaching and old posts can not be burnt for the same reason.
    Quality softwood can not be grown quickly. The quality of softwood depends on the closeness of the dense summer wood annual rings and the narrowness of the soft, pappy spring wood.
    Scots pine,Pinus sylvestris grown in the UK is classed as a very inferior timber compared to Pinus sylvestris grown in the Baltic area and imported into the UK as Red deal which again is inferior to Pinus sylvestris imported from Archangel which was sold as Yellow deal. The best . Simply because the spring season, away from the influence of the Gulf Stream lessens in the Baltic and has no influence at all around Archangel. There the season jumps from winter to summer with no long spring nights where the trees continue to grow after dark but the sun is absent from manufacturing food to develop the timber. Speeding up the growth rate only leads to ever decreasing timber strength.

    80% pulpwood infers that Vic Forests were not managed, defective trees should be eliminated early in the cycle. Trees which would not produce quality timber should have been removed as soon as they interfered with the development of better quality trees. That is what is called forestry management. A topic of which you are completely ignorant. This is how all native forest have been treated in the past. Plunder what is worthwhile and leave what is left to recover, before repeating the process sometime in the future. This is what you and your cohorts are suggesting should be done with the wet scleorphyll forests on a 90 year rotation. The remainder converted to pulp timber presumably.

    The question of foodstuffs was just an illustration of how the world has moved on without you noticing. The trading prices would all have been negotiated when the $ Aus: was 75 cents to the US $. Hazard a guess what next years figures will be. That is on seasonal produced foodstuffs. What new pulpwood planting are now in the offing? The troubles in the timber industry started long before the rise in the dollar.

  139. hugoagogo

    November 6, 2010 at 7:13 am

    #80; No, I mean that hemp pulp crops would displace food crops.

    As you all well know, tree pulp crops are grown sustainably, profitably and benignly up the back in the rough country, where you can’t crop (drill sow, combine harvest) anything, including hemp.

    BTW if you learn to compare different crops on a kg ODW ha-1 yr-1 basis you’ll avoid own-goals like your overstating the yield of hemp by a factor of ten.

  140. Dr Kevin Bonham

    November 6, 2010 at 12:49 am

    Re #74 I am obviously not saying all the forests have been there for ten thousand years, just pointing out that the last glacial sets an obvious upper bound to the age of forest in many parts of the state and thus completely refutes your “millions of years” nonsense.

    Woodland in this context (specifically “grassy woodland”) denotes relatively open areas dominated by a sparse tree cover.

  141. Leonard Colquhoun

    November 5, 2010 at 11:49 pm

    About Comment 81’s “didn’t the Bolesheviks oppose the collective farms doctrine in Russia” – not quite like that.

    The terms ‘Bolshevik’, ‘Communist’ and ‘Marxist’ are more or less inter-changeable in general writing (but not in specialist historical writing); ‘bolshevik’ simply means ‘majority’, and refers to the bigger faction of the late 19th century Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party.

    The ‘Old Bolsheviks’ were members of the Bolshevik party before the Russian Revolution of 1917, many of whom were either tried and executed by the NKVD (> the KGB) during Stalin’s purges in the late 1930s or died under suspicious circumstances. Most were executed for treason after show trials; some were sent to the Gulag; and a few were sent abroad as ambassadors (the lucky ones!), preventing them from participating in the central government. Not many were done in for opposing the collectivisation of Soviet agriculture, even less for voicing support for the unfortunate peasantry, but rather because of Stalin’s paranoia – and sometimes just for not clapping a three-hour speech from the Leader with precisely the right tone, length & timbre. (Based on Wikipedia ‘Old Bolsheviks’)

    Comment 81 is right to call collectivisation a ‘doctrine’: it was the sort of tenth-right mishmash which bureaucrats, party ideologues and theoreticians come up with to ‘address issues’ of which they have no knowledge and no experience or expertise – sounds familiar? rings a bell? Fortunately, our lot haven’t (yet – as far as we know) established a TasGulag down in the south-west, although the weather would be just right.

    Link – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collectivization_in_the_Soviet_Union

  142. Observer

    November 5, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    #78. Re the export of food: LET the market decide what happens to the land for goodnesses sake, instead of uttering bolshevik statements… MArk Wybourne.

    What a good idea. You mean don’t let artificial tax-free market subsidised MIS schemes and their like compete for the land at prices farmers can’t afford?

    As a matter of interest, didn’t the Bolesheviks oppose the collective farms doctrine in Russia that saw Stalin eliminate 20 million of his own people in the ‘purges’? Is that what you meant by ‘a bolshevik statement’?

  143. Observer

    November 5, 2010 at 8:29 pm

    #75. But I don’t claim that a hemp-based pulp system couldn’t thrive; except that the agronomic system – cropping on flat land – would compete with existing ag land uses.

    You mean it could displace plantations?

    What a wonderful idea – especially as the hemp yield is annual and about ten times as great. Yippee – no more e.nitens! The rest of the plantation land could then be converted back to growing FOOD!

  144. Observer

    November 5, 2010 at 8:17 pm

    #77. ‘In fact, I repeatt hat about 85% of the sawn timber for house framing in Australia is KDpine, mostly Radiata with small amounts of other species in Qld.’ Dr Barry Tomkins

    If this is a fact, it then rather knocks the feet out from under forestry’s argument that the prime reason for logging the old growth forests is for saw logs to make houses.

    It also suggests a solution to the problem – grow 15% more radiata and save the old forests!!!

  145. MArk Wybourne

    November 5, 2010 at 6:47 pm

    Re 76. Do some research – the old wives tale about soil being turned acid by pine is just that, an old wive’s tale.

    Radiata pine can produce good quality sawlogs at about age 24, if site is a good one.

    Re the value of the dollar, well, the experts think it is over-valued, so I guess the current effect is a short term one.

    Re Vic sawlog production in Victoria – same reasons as in Tasmania.

    Re Nitens under 75 years. Your statement there is contrary to the one you made a while ago about FEA’s sawmill (hew saw) i.e 100% wrong.

    Re the export of food: LET the market decide what happens to the land for goodnesses sake, instead of uttering bolshevik statements.

  146. Dr Barry Tomkins

    November 5, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    Re #76: So you have changed your tune, J A Stevenson, about Australia being a net importer of foodstuffs? Some advice – it is never wise to uncritically accept such a position without first dojng a bit of checking.

    As for pine – you do not know what you are talking about. After 30 years, with improved growth rates from traditional tree breeding, selection of the appropriate families eg growth and form, long internode, high fertility stock, Radiata pine produces high quality sawn timber. In fact, I repeat that about 85% of the sawn timber for house framing in Australia is KD pine, mostly Radiata with small amounts of other species in Qld.

    I was not spinning about foodstuffs, merely drawing your attention to an article that showed that once again, you had got your facts wrong.

    As for the VicForests figures, you again seem to know nothing about log grading and defect in native eucalypts, and that is also not my area of expertise. You would be better directing that sort of ‘accusation’ elsewhere.

    Dr Barry Tomkins

  147. J A Stevenson

    November 5, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    Re: # 67 Australia still exports about 4 billion dollars more of foodstuffs than it imports. Dr Barry Tomkins. Perhaps, but for how much longer with the continued rise of the Aus: dollar.?

    The plantation mantra has shot its bolt. Young nitens under 75 years are useless for any other purpose than pulping. Radiata of 35 years years are only just beginning to lay down useable quantities of sawn timber. Radiata, in common with all pine trees do not improve the soil, the acidity resulting from needle fall turns previous fertile ground growing crops into a acidic waste land. After 5 short rotations of that even the Radiata will not grow into saw mill timber until 75 years. Try biodiversity.

    The article was the other side of the same coin but no matter how many times you spin, it still boils down to same thing. The dollar is pricing itself out of sustainable industrial production. That includes pulpwood. Since these figures were obtained on products purchased before the recent wave of $ rises , how will next years figures look. What hope for Pulpwood in ten years time?

    Only 20% of the current 1.8 million metres cubed of native forest harvested by VicForests ends up in timber production. 80% becomes low-value wood chips. Why?
    Source Chris McEvoy, director, Radical Timber Australia and Heartwood Plantations.

  148. hugoagogo

    November 5, 2010 at 11:16 am

    #57 and Leonard at #58.

    I haven’t got time to do the searches, interpretation and analyses to refute #57 point by point, but I find it instructive that #57 claims that hemp was the main paper making biomass up to “1883”.

    I find it instructive because the kraft process was invented in 1879, patented in 1884, and a pulp mill using this technology started (in Sweden, using wood) in 1890.

    The dates seem congruent with the notion that hemp was economically gazumped by wood as a pulp feedstock.

    But I don’t claim that a hemp-based pulp system couldn’t thrive; except that the agronomic system – cropping on flat land – would compete with existing ag land uses. Also, the notion that hemp crops would be devoid of need for protection, nutrition or irrigation, or that hemp has particularly remarkable light or water use efficiency (order of magnitude difference implied) is absurd.

    As far as archiving and banknotes go, aren’t we working (or being herded) towards a paper-less office and a cash-free society?

  149. Observer

    November 5, 2010 at 10:31 am

    #71. It’s still one hell of a long way off what Forestry are claiming of a mere 350 – 450 years and a ninety year re-establishment period. The last ice age ended over ten thousand years ago.

    And just as a matter of interest what exactly is ‘woodland’?

  150. Michael

    November 5, 2010 at 1:05 am

    #69 – William, the truth is always obtuse to those that fail to recognise/accept it.

  151. Dr Kevin Bonham

    November 4, 2010 at 8:49 pm

    Re #69, what I actually said was that the tools of science are the tools that determine the truth of claims about “observable fact”, and that there is no genuine realm of “observable fact” that is distinct from scientific fact. If you think something is “observable fact” and science holds it to be nonsense, then there must be something wrong with either your observation or your interpretation (unless it is one of those rare cases where the science itself is in error!).

    All this is, of course, distinct from cases where people make claims in the name of science, but those claims are not actually scientifically valid.

    I can’t be bothered rebutting the rest of #69 although I might do so if any poster other than WB shows any signs of taking it seriously.

  152. Dr Kevin Bonham

    November 4, 2010 at 8:29 pm

    #68 is just plain wrong. At the height of the last glacial most of what is now old-growth euc forest or rainforest was not even forest at all but was instead alpine vegetation, grassland or woodland. I refer the honourable member to Kirkpatrick and Fowler “Localing likely glacial forest refugia in Tasmania using palynological and ecological information to test alternative climatic models” Biological Conservation 85(1998)171-182. The forest type may date back millions of years but to say that there has continually been forest for millions of years, for most areas, is just completely wrong, even ignoring fire.

    Furthermore to describe Tasmanian rainforests as containing “so many different variety [sic] of tree” is simply absurd; Tasmanian rainforests are severely depauperate compared to rainforests pretty much anywhere else, and Tasmania has huge stands of callidendrous myrtle forest that are, from a tree perspective, so lacking in diversity that they make a dogwood-infested nitens plantation look good.

    Observer needs to take PJ’s advice which I quoted earlier and actually learn something about all this stuff he/she is throwing around dubious factiods concerning.

  153. Leonard Colquhoun

    November 4, 2010 at 5:36 pm

    Re Comment 69: ?

  154. William Boeder

    November 4, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    #64 Michael.
    I often wonder how the hypothesis of Science and its interpretations are ever relied upon, even though they have no basis of fact?
    Both Geology and Archaelogy are sciences whereby each of these authorities borrow the antiquity hypothosis’ of each other, to confirm dates or determine the date era of all materials man-made and or formed by nature?
    Which of the Geology/Archaeology sciences is correct, which is incorrect?
    Now along come the pro-forestry push with their absolute secret access to what they believe is for them to stae as renowned and acclaimed fact?

    Michael seems to think he knows all, even to the the age determining mechanisms as used to actually charter the true history-date of various materials and objectae?
    Often the time estimation times today are units in millions of years, then of thousands of years, the same for supposed recent histories.
    The mere presence of some forest blackened bark material from our forests is ever of unknown origin or event in our time scales.

    We even had the renowned forestry industry big wheel in the name of Terry Edwards telling the people that the guessed at age of 400-500 year old trees “are merely regeneration forests?”

    Such is the depth of the obtuse and errant statements made by individuals attached to forestry in any form, be they forestry management individuals or noble and wizened industry pumpers and lobbyists

    Based on the information and analysis I have provided here, the forestry blokes tend to contrive date times only to assist their own purposes which are quite generally remote from the actuals and the realities, as long as it supports the forestry destructive motives and purposes.
    I have the distinction of personally meeting and speaking with the renowned Dr Kevin Bonham, whom agreed that science is generally an accepted form of observable fact.

    This in itself can prove to be nothing more than a group opinion to claim it as science, or, as is my own contention, that observble fact being the same means to predict assumptions and presumptions, but not carrying an official scientific tag upon it?
    Therefore all and any claims by the forestry various with their scientific opinion carries no more credibility than my very own “observable facts!
    “So what for the claims of forestry experts when they are in fact no different to the layman in the street?

  155. Observer

    November 4, 2010 at 11:40 am

    60. You refer to “an old growth forest that has been standing for millions of years”.

    Yes. The forests have been around for millions of years, The current crop of trees in eucalypt dominated forests may only be 350 – 450 years old, but that is only the latest generation of trees. But given the fact that eucalypts have the ability to regenerate themselves after fire, even that statement may not be true and there are probably many survivors from even the most intense and disasterous fires. Apart from that, the humous below the trees is not destroyed in a fire and that is part of the forest.

    Of the non-eucalypt forests, they are probably older as they are less prone to fire than eucalypts. The fact that they contain so many different variety of tree means that they have never had the high temperature burns associated with eucalypt fires through them as they do not regenerate after a such a fire. This would suggest that the current structure and biodiversity of the non-eucalypt forests is probably far older and reflects more the original state than that of the eucalypt forests. Nevertheless, both types of forest date back MILLIONS of years, as I stated!

  156. Dr Barry Tomkins

    November 4, 2010 at 11:34 am

    Re #66: J A Stevenson chants the current mantra that ‘Australia is a net importer of food —‘. I am not going to debate the topic with him, but merely mention that in the last few days there was a lengthy article in the Age debunking that assertion:


    It noted that a number of non-food items were included in the groceries basket, as I recall, and that if the numbers are crunched correctly, Australia still exports about 4 billion dollars more of foodstuffs than it imports.

    Perhaps JAS could look this article up and comment on its contents.

    Dr Barry Tomkins

  157. J A Stevenson

    November 4, 2010 at 11:21 am

    Re: # 59 Newspapers were the sole method of communication to the masses. Everyone purchased a morning paper. I doubt the youth of today rarely do. Except maybe to read the sports pages. Sport now seems to be the new religion in Australia.

    Paper usage in offices may have grown but the demand there will fall as modern methods information storage, invoicing etc. are replacing all these tasks more efficiently. What purpose do filing cabinets serve when all information required is available at the click of a button?
    However it matters not whether paper demand rises or falls, Australia in general and Tasmania in particular will not reap the benefits.

    The eager exploitation of underground Australian mineral wealth is driving the Australian dollar ever higher. One obtained $3 Aus: for every 1 GBPin 2000. Now it is nearer $1.5 to the GBP. Woolworth’s potato chips are grown in Holland. McCain’s frozen chips are grown in New Zealand. Australia is a net importer of food for the first time ever since the days of the first fleets. Potatoes were Tasmania’s first cash crops and much land was cleared for this purpose. If it is cheaper to import highly perishable food stuffs ,what chance is there of exporting pulp wood against countries who have cheaper labour costs, more efficient internal transport systems and more relaxed planning laws??
    Comparable timber pulpwood timber elsewhere reaches marketable size in half the time which it does in Australia.

  158. Justa Bloke

    November 4, 2010 at 10:13 am

    Margaret (59), I remember it well. I also remember when people smoked in every office. Habits can change, especially with a little nudge along from governments.

  159. Observer

    November 4, 2010 at 9:02 am

    61.#60 – “…has the same characteristics as an old growth forest that has been standing for millions of years.”

    Try 350-450 years, old chap… Posted by Michael

    Seems you can’t see the difference of the wood from the trees … old chap!

  160. Geoff Brough

    November 4, 2010 at 1:12 am

    Sustainable: Capable of sustaining itself without relying upon external assistance, resources or interventions.

  161. Dr Kevin Bonham

    November 4, 2010 at 12:43 am

    Re #60 (Observer) I haven’t bothered to define “sustainability” because I’m not one of the ones making a big song and dance about it actually being a useful word in this sort of context, and indeed I don’t generally use it. What interests me is that people use “unsustainability” as a pejorative but either don’t attempt to define or justify it, or if they do, they often try to justify it using examples that aren’t compatible with their definition. If my criticism of such uses leads to the word being used less, and more precise debate about impacts occurring instead, I’ll be happy with that.

    The debate about whether forestry practices do harm in terms of CO2 emission requires a different definition of “sustainability” to yours, one in which the term basically means not doing a particular harm. I think the equation of unsustainability with harm in general is an especially useless form of the concept, but it is an increasingly widespread one that the industry is expected to engage with.

    At the end you accuse me of semantics. So, you provide a definition, then when I demonstrate that your definition doesn’t actually work as intended, apparently that’s an exercise in “semantics” on my part. I find that a bit of a cop-out.

    Your own definition was “a process that is able to be repeated indefinitely without diminishing the object in question or the ability to continue the process.” Whether the ability to continue the process is diminished or not has nothing to do with whose point of view you are looking at it from – it is simply a matter of fact. That preventing logging in an area impairs the ability to continue the process of logging in that area is also simply a matter of fact. So what’s the point in even talking about whether logging can be repeated indefinitely without diminishing the ability to continue logging, if that ability is going to be diminished by conservation actions anyway? Rather than accuse me of semantics you should either change your definition or admit that there are valid reasons for considering this kind of “sustainability” criticism to be irrelevant.

    You refer to “an old growth forest that has been standing for millions of years”. I am sure that you are right that no regrowth forests have the same characteristics as such forests, but that is an easy conclusion to reach since no such forests are known to exist – given the impacts of fires and radical past climate change and so on. Thousands of years is about all you’ll make stick – and mostly in areas well away from logging. Anything with big eucs in it is bound to have seen a major stand replacement event within the last several hundred.

    Exaggerations/simplifications like “standing for millions of years” don’t incline me to take your C02 claims (which are outside my areas of knowledge) on trust.

  162. Michael

    November 3, 2010 at 10:24 pm

    #60 – “…has the same characteristics as an old growth forest that has been standing for millions of years.”

    Try 350-450 years, old chap…

  163. Observer

    November 3, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    #53. Thank you for the reply to my attampt at defining ‘sustainability’ (or lack of).

    However, you criticise my definition but you fail to give one of your own, without which, ‘unsustainability’ and the point you are arguing from remains a little in limbo.

    My second point in the article I thought would be a little different in conclusion to the way you saw it. It simply underlines the lie of Forestry where they say their cleearfelling practices are sustainable as all the CO2 they put into the atmosphere is ‘instantly’ taken up by the new trees that they plant and therefore their operations are sustainable.

    The evidence is against them and as I pointed out, Gunns, who is to be the recipient of most of this replanting will not be able to get a fraction of the weight of timber that has been cut down in previous years to supply their future mill (regardless of whether it actually comes to fruition). There is a HUGE discrepancy between what Forestry claims and their performance. And, it must be added, that the old growth forests, according to some of the latest research, are up to six times more carbon dense than previously thought and the stuff that replaces them, even if it were equivalent in weight, is nowhere near equivalent in carbon sequestration. Therefore, ipso facto, ‘unsustainable’. Apart from that, I believe that Forestry is guilty of trying to claim multiple offsets for the same single commodity where almost everything they do they state is ‘carbon neutral’!

    Note. ‘After all if you remove a resource from usability by conserving it then you are affecting the ability to continue the process (of harvesting). Indeed you are doing so more surely than if you cut it down too fast, since in the latter case it will still grow back and be available for that activity again.’ Dr Bonham.

    This is purely semantics. It depends whether you are looking at it from the sawloggers point of view or the conservationsist. NO regrowth forest after current clearfelling practices, even after a euphemistic ’90 years’, has the same characteristics as an old growth forest that has been standing for millions of years. But that is another argument.

  164. Margaret Stuart-Mackenzie

    November 3, 2010 at 7:59 pm

    Dear Justa Bloke. Are you old enough to remember when computers came in they said “this is the end of the waste of paper, no paper will again be needed in offices, we are now in the paperless society”. I remember it very well, and the offices I worked in doubled, or trebled their use of paper. The only paper that was not needed any more was carbon paper.

    The more things change, the more they stay the same. Margaret

  165. Leonard Colquhoun

    November 3, 2010 at 2:59 pm

    Have neither the technico-scientific knowledge nor the expertise/experience to judge between Comment 54’s “Hemp is grown in large, input-intensive monocultures on croppable land. It requires complex processing that includes chemical delignification” and Comment 56’s “Hemp paper does not need chlorine bleach, which heavily pollutes rivers near wood-pulp paper mills”.

    Leave that to others.

    But this I like: (what looks very much like) a knowledgeable fact-based discussion between ponderables & measurables, rather than the too frequent & familiar slagging off, sneering & character-impugning which often passes for ‘debate’ in some TT threads.

    So, am looking forward to more here.

    Naturally, some, or even, most, of these factual-looking posts may be no more reliable than a set of old USSR statistics, but at least no-one will be sent to a TasGulag for thinking that aloud.

  166. max

    November 3, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    A Hemp crop produces nearly 4 (four) times as much raw fibre as an equivalent sized tree plantation
    Trees take approximately 20 years to mature… Hemp takes 4 months
    Hemp needs no pesticides because it is unpalatable to insects
    Hemp needs no herbicides because it grows too quickly for any weed to compete
    Hemp paper does not need chlorine bleach, which heavily pollutes rivers near wood-pulp paper mills
    Environmentally sound Hemp paper is stronger, finer and longer lasting than wood-based papers
    Hemp paper is used for bank notes and archives
    Hemp uses the sun more efficiently than virtually any other plant on the planet
    Hemp can grow in virtually any climate and soil condition, and is excellent for reclaiming otherwise unusable land
    Until 1883, more than three quarters of the world’s paper was made from Hemp fibre.

  167. Justa Bloke

    November 3, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    If people stopped making paper out of trees, recycled more of existing paper, and used less paper altogether, that would have a greatly beneficial impact on climate change.

    In order for these things to happen, we need to divert resources into research and public education, and to provide appropriate financial incentives.

    Subsidising the existing industry is counter-productive, and the longer it goes on the worse off we shall be.

  168. Observer

    November 3, 2010 at 9:33 am

    #52, Perhaps the people who Gunns are sacrificing because there is no money in native forest chips could get on the hemp band wagon. Posted by max

    Hemp’s other use is to make rope. Maybe Gunns could be given enough of it……?

  169. hugoagogo

    November 3, 2010 at 5:08 am

    #52. Oh there you go bringing hemp into it again. Mega sighhhhh

    Hemp is grown in large, input-intensive monocultures on croppable land. It requires complex processing that includes chemical delignification. Economically viable hemp processing needs to be very large scale. Do you see where this is heading? Industrially no different to current tree based operations and more disruptive to croppable land. You won’t have to get past me, it’ll be Loone et al manning the stockade. OH, you want to grow it in WA. You just want to consume the paper here.

    But even a burgeoning WA hemp industry will displace Russells’s bogus wheat paper baby. Oh hang on, the WA wheat paper show isn’t running yet. So where is their wheat coming from?

    Apparently, small Chinese wheat pulping outfits, whose pollution profile and inefficiency is so high the actual Chinese Government is concerned about it, and that’s saying something.

    BTW, Natural Paper still hasn’t replied to my simple questions about the chemical process they use to get the lignin out, or where their wheat straw is grown. This is hardly the open or transparent behaviour I would have expected after all the fine words on their website. I can only conclude base conspiracy to defraud, cheat and poison.

  170. Dr Kevin Bonham

    November 3, 2010 at 12:29 am

    I thank Observer (#48) for making a decent effort to actually discuss what sustainability is and what basis there might be for claims of unsustainability. Given that the article was supposedly in part about sustainability it shouldn’t have taken 48 comments for this to happen.

    The question about saw log supply has been discussed further up on this thread. There is a need for evidence concerning whether a shortage of quality sawlogs is really caused by an “unsustainably” fast pace of logging of what exists, and/or whether conservation of otherwise sawloggable forest areas is contributing to the shortage. If the latter, the question arises of whether forest conservation itself is an “unsustainable” intervention in forestry following the definition given by Observer. After all if you remove a resource from usability by conserving it then you are affecting the ability to continue the process (of harvesting). Indeed you are doing so more surely than if you cut it down too fast, since in the latter case it will still grow back and be available for that activity again.

    Another problem with the “without diminishing the object in question” part of the definition is that following it, pretty much any clearing or change of land use, ever, becomes “unsustainable”. That is why less restrictive definitions (focusing, for instance, on whether permanent irrecoverable environmental harm is caused, or whether the ability of future generations to adequately use the same resource is compromised) are often preferred.

    Concerning #2 the proposed Gunns pulp mill does not yet exist and in my view probably never will, so I don’t regard its sustainability (or otherwise) as relevant to the sustainability (or otherwise) of current practices. Frankly I can’t see what any of #2 has to do with the offered definition. Does it show that the object in question is being diminished? No. Does it show that the process can’t be repeated? No. All it suggests is that forestry activities may be adding to net C02 emissions. (As to whether that is true or not I will leave that discussion to those more qualified in such fields.)

    Financial sustainability was only lightly mentioned in the original article, which was mostly about other claimed forms of sustainability. Obviously for a private corporation, making continuing losses is financially unsustainable and companies in this position on a regular basis have to restructure their approach, bludge a subsidy or perish. “Government business enterprises” that in part do the work that used to be done by government departments (eg the unprofitable recreation management and conservation research work done by FT) and that are always likely to have access to some degree of taxpayer support, are in a less clear position. I’d suggest the point where a GBO becomes unsustainable is the point where, if current patterns continue, it will require more support than the people are willing to give it. It’s not easy to say exactly what that point is – except that many here have thought we were there before, and been wrong.

  171. max

    November 2, 2010 at 10:24 pm

    Hemp Resources has secured, through an exclusive world wide licence Agreement, the intellectual property rights to a patented hemp paper manufacturing technology and paper mill design. This technology is capable of producing a wide range of paper including an economical office copy/printer paper. This unique and innovative Chinese technology is able to produce environmentally friendly (chlorine free bleaching process) whole stem hemp paper. Hemp paper is the most environmentally friendly processed paper available and through its exclusive world-wide rights to the Chinese patented manufacturing process, Hemp Resources has the ability to produce chlorine free environmentally friendly whole stem hemp paper. The Company intends to produce 100% hemp paper and hemp blend paper in Western Australia as soon as commercial growing areas are realised and the company’s paper mills constructed. Construction and commissioning of a commercially viable 7,000 tonne per annum mill is expected to take approximately 18-24 months. Perhaps the people who Gunns are sacrificing because there is no money in native forest chips could get on the hemp band wagon.

  172. Leonard Colquhoun

    November 2, 2010 at 7:01 pm

    Yes, Comment 50, and that’s my point. They might as well have prefixed ‘Sustainablity and . . .” to every department, and it’d make just as much sense, and just as little –

    Department of Sustainablity and Infrastructure;

    Department of Sustainablity and Education;

    Department of Sustainablity and Human Resources;

    Department of Sustainablity and Health & Welfare;

    Department of Sustainablity and Police & Emergency Services;

    Department of Sustainablity and Justice;

    Department of Sustainablity and War;

    Department of Sustainablity and Silly Walks.

    (Oy! Veh! Enough already!)

  173. Bemused

    November 2, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    isn’t that the Department of sustainability AND environment?

  174. Leonard Colquhoun

    November 2, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    Yes, Comment 46, as with all comparisons, the differences are just as important as – and, in many cases, more important than – the similarities: “all analogies limp”, that is, as illustrations they can enlighten only while their similarities last.

    The other often unasked questions are these: ‘sustainable’ for what? for whom? Extractive mining is only ‘sustainable’ under certain conditions, such as there still being extractable stuff to extract, or that the cost of extracting is worth it.

    Technological developments play a part, as stuff unextractable in one decade becomes worth the cost in a later one. So does necessity. So does changing priorities – that thick black stuff which irritatingly stuck to 18th century boots is now our No 1 energy source.

    ‘Sustainability’ is too abstract to be useful, except to idealistic philosophers, blinkered theoreticians and polemical ideologues. (P’raps there is such an excess of some of them that they are now unsustainable?)

    It’s a bit like that oft-heard paean about “So ‘n’ so – Senator Brown springs to mind – being a person of such great passion”: both ‘sustainablity’ and ‘passion’ are politically and ethically neutral; it’s where they operate which counts.

  175. Observer

    November 2, 2010 at 11:49 am


    #30. ‘But if that principle is also applicable to Tasmanian forestry, then trotting out the evidence that Tasmanian forestry is unsustainable should be easy – so why has no-one on this thread yet done it?’ … Dr Bonham

    How many reasons does it need? If it unsustainable on any count then it is unsustainable.

    First of all, what is ‘sustainability’? I would define it as a process that is able to be repeated indefinitely without diminishing the object in question or the ability to continue the process. (The word doesn’t actually appear in the Oxford Dictionary)

    What Forestry is doing does not comply with this definition on several counts.

    #1. I was told by David Llewellyn ten years ago that the Forestry plan was to harvest LESS THAN one ninetieth of the forest in any one year, as it took a native tree 90 years to reach maturity. He also told me that the plan was to replant with native species or to regenerate these species after selective logging. He even drew me a little diagram of Tasmania divided into 90 blocks but he made no mention of conversion to e.nitens plantations, and when I asked the question, he told me old growth logging would cease by 2005. This was nothing more than a tissue of lies, as it certainly is not forestry practice and never has been. If this were the case, then there would always be an ample supply of saw logs as they would not be ‘harvesting’ at a greater rate than they could be replaced. However, there are now complaints that there is a shortage of saw mill quality hardwood logs and that stems are getting smaller, largely because they have been logged out. Compound this with the fact that huge tracts that were recently native forests are now plantations of e.nitens, then this definition by David Llewellyn of a ninety year rotation is palpably false and also resulting in an unsustainable situation by over logging our forests.

    #2. 14 million tonnes of old growth/native forests are ‘harvested’ annually. Half this ends up as woodchips and timber products and 7.2 million tonnes are burnt on the ground, adding CO2 into the atmosphere. Of the saw logs, only 30% is utilised and the rest is either burnt or goes for chipping. Paper, the product of the chips, has an average life of 3 years before it too joins the atmosphere as CO2. As only about 10% of all timber felled goes to saw mills and other non-destructive uses, and only 30% of that is salvaged, this means that 3% of our forest harvests are actually preserved each year and 97% ends up in the atmosphere. (As this is an on-going process, the three year delay in paper is immaterial.)
    Forestry claims that the carbon dioxide is offset by their plantations and it is absorbed by the young trees.
    This is palpably false, as the total CO2 emissions per year are in the region of 11.64 million tonnes. (See above) As e.nitens has a fifteen year growing period before harvesting, then the total emissions they would have to absorb in their life cycle are 174.6 million tonnes. Even allowing for half this amount to be non-e.nitens, it is still a colossal amount.
    Meanwhile Gunns are struggling to find 4 million tonnes of e.nitens annually to feed their pulp mill, and that is including all the offshore supplies!!

    #3. If the forestry industry were sustainable, that would include being financially sustainable as well. Over the last 12 years they have had to go cap-in-hand to Treasury and have been bailed out to the tune of $767 million. This year, after some pretty dubious financial juggling where they did not include their pension liabilities of $125 million and illegally used Federal grant money to boost their balance sheet, they still managed to post an $8 million loss. They are now looking at asking for a $1 billion compensation handout for not being allowed to continue along this loss- making path.

    The above are three examples of ‘Unsustainability’ covering Forestry practice, the environment and the financial fronts. There are others, but it really only needs ONE example to fail the test.

  176. J A Stevenson

    November 2, 2010 at 11:14 am

    Dr Barry Tomkin, Growing trees on a maximum 35 year rotation are neither forestry or forestry plantations. It is just another method of farming a different crop.
    Your educated fellow Doctors, Professors and Scientists are warning the world temperature is rising and the need to lock up the carbon in forests before it is too late.
    The massive shoals of krill, the basis of the oceans food chain, are under threat from carbon dioxide acidity. You continue to adhere rigidly to your short rotation doctrine. There are better methods than you reliance on mono species of nitens or radiata. What other species do you recommend? No wonder pesticides have to be used. Try biodiversity.

    Are carbon credits applied for on these short rotation plantations? If so are they obtained. There is little difference between burning or pulping with regard to carbon secretion. We uneducated people are saying that it is possible to lock up that carbon and still retain a forest industry. The alternative is to return the world to its pre-carboniferous period.
    The pine plantations cleared in Tasmania I have seen have all been burnt to some degree. What happens on the mainland may not be the same as the actions here. Everywhere forestry operation’s take place in Tasmania burning occurs in the same areas later. Rolling clouds of airborne carbon mostly falls in the sea.
    Oceans were regarded as the great carbon sink. That fallacy has now been sunk from latest oceanic statistics now gathered.

  177. a bit straighter

    November 2, 2010 at 12:54 am

    ‘Aren’t many of the boosters of ‘sustainability’ doing the same – cheer-leading for an abstract noun?’. Leonard, i think there is a degree of freedom that needs to accompany your attempted comparison. that is that Bush went beyond ‘cheerleading’. that doesn’t need explaining. cheerleading an abstract noun is not the problem. i am sure many who push for sustainability also conceptualise terrorism, and act according to their internal response to such conceptualisation. it is another thing to take a country to declare war on it. gov depts of sustainability deserve the scrutiny you imply, agreed. to simplify, you can cheerlead a concept but you war on an entity.

  178. Leonard Colquhoun

    November 1, 2010 at 10:46 pm

    Regarding Comment 37’s “many definitions of sustainability”, didn’t Left-leaning critics slam US president Bush for silliness in ‘declaring war on an abstract noun’, i.e., ‘terrorism?

    Aren’t many of the boosters of ‘sustainability’ doing the same – cheer-leading for an abstract noun?

    You have to worry when:

    (a) at least one^ mainland Labor State government has a ‘Department of Sustainablity’; and

    (b) when other governments, including the current Federal government, so glibly tack ‘Sustainable’ onto department names, wanting us to believe that they’d thereby become more efficient. (As if.)

    Bollocks. (Again.)

    ^ too dreary a task to check the other four, and the two kindy governments.

  179. Justa Bloke

    November 1, 2010 at 10:12 pm

    Re $40: The bill for plantations has been zero? FT have been making huge profits? Gunns’ shares are sky-high? Growth can be infinite? Our choice is to be a live rural backwater or a dead quarry site.

  180. Russell

    November 1, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    Re #40
    You mean, “Let’s keep Tasmania as a rural backwater ‘cos Gunns and FT made it that way. Tough if someone else has to pick up the bill.”

  181. max

    November 1, 2010 at 9:39 pm

    35# Unfortunately Australia has become totally dependant on exporting raw products. Even the much touted pulp mill is only a step above a raw product. If China finds a cheaper source for it’s raw product or for any other reason decides to stop buying, Australia will slip into 3 world statues or worse. Successive governments both Liberal and Labour claiming worlds best treasurers, have seen us become dependent on other countries using us as a quarry. We are now importing most of our manufactured goods and we are increasingly relying on imported foods. The Tasmanian Government keeps talking up the food bowl of Australia idea and at the same time overseeing the demise of the processors, talking up irrigation schemes in areas that are frost prone with poor soils and at the same time putting plantations on good farmland. Farmers are finding it hard to make a living and if they sell the farm only overseas buyers are buying. Manufacturers are moving over seas and then sell back to us and so on.
    A 5 year old kid can grasp the basics of the game of monopoly, if you sell your utilities and properties the game is up.

  182. Dr Kevin Bonham

    November 1, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    I think “Observer” should observe a particular passage in Dr Tomkins’ #39, that passage being “I don’t agree with clearing of native forest for plantation. It stopped 30 years ago in Victoria but because of regional forestry agreements it continued, far too long in my opinion, in Tasmania.”

    That passage strongly contradicts the assumptions underlying Observer’s attempt in #30 to stereotype Dr Tomkins, alongside others, as some kind of automatic yes-man for all current forestry practices. It would appear Observer is observing discussion on this site through some kind of distorting and oversimplifying filter.

  183. Dr Barry Tomkins

    November 1, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    Re #38: so there we have the nitty-gritty of the attitude/belief of so many correspondents on this site. Let’s keep Tasmania as a rural backwater ‘cos a few like it that way. Tough if someone else has to pick up the bill.

    Dr Barry Tomkins

  184. Dr Barry Tomkins

    November 1, 2010 at 6:23 pm

    Re #35: J A Stevenson (again!). ‘You are a firm advocate of clear fell, burn, spray the herbage with herbicides and shortly after spray the pests with pesticides.’

    You are a bit mixed up. My main interest is in plantation forestry, so that unless native forest is cleared for a plantation, there is no broadcast burning. I don’t agree with clearing of native forest for plantation. It stopped 30 years ago in Victoria but because of regional forestry agreements it continued, far too long in my opinion, in Tasmania.

    There is very little burning in plantation forestry today. In pine the preferred method is to chopper roll the slash, to retain mulch/nutrient, but, yes there is still some burning of windrows and some of heaps around coups. The latter is done on the flat sandy sites, for example, in the Green Triangle (Vic and SA)but there most of the slash is retained and chopper rolled. Only the edge trees, if not pruned, are burnt in heaps.

    But it is useless trying to go over all the different approaches with you. You have a single tracked mind and refuse to accept that Australian forestry practices are necessarily different to the UK.

    Just don’t continue to try to paint me as being narrow in my viewpoint. I have seen far more of Australian forestry than you, with almost 30 years in forestry research behind me.

    Dr Barry Tomkins

  185. Justa Bloke

    November 1, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    I have thought about Dr Tomkins’s question (#28) and my answer is ‘Yes’.

  186. Dr Kevin Bonham

    November 1, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    Re #30 (“Observer”), I agree that the evidence of human impact in many of those areas mentioned is far more pronounced than it was in 1987. But if that principle is also applicable to Tasmanian forestry, then trotting out the evidence that Tasmanian forestry is unsustainable (backed by a definition that shows the word is more than just a random pejorative) should be easy – so why has no-one on this thread yet done it?

    Furthermore it is one thing to say we are causing changes in the environment and a far more difficult thing to state what effect those changes are having and will have – an assessment which is critical for many definitions of “sustainability” and which doomsayers have a long track record of being mostly wrong on in the past. And in passing I should point out that temperature increase graphs are generally showing linear rather than accelerating global temperature increase, and that nobody really knows yet whether bee colony collapse disorder has anything to do with humans. Also, you project that the population will more than double, but given that the rate of population increase is slowing through demographic transition that’s highly doubtful. Even the UN’s median forecast doesn’t see population hitting 10 billion – ever.

    You provide a list of pro-forestry posters on this board and ask me if I think they would fairly peer-review a report in an area that might raise concerns about forestry. You then say “Yes, I am aware that these people are not scientists”, but one of those listed (Dr Tomkins) most certainly is, and I suspect some of the others are as well. Anyway, I’m not sure you should or even can judge people’s skills and neutrality in a formal peer review situation from what they write on an online forum. As for how those posters would react (in either situation) if presented with rock-solid evidence of forestry having a very harmful impact, perhaps someone should try it and see! There’s really not much on here that would justify drawing conclusions about your hypothetical, since the anti-forestry scientific arguments that do get posted here are generally rubbish.

    Also, judging peer-reviewed science by the standard of in-house industry reports (where the reviewing is more likely to be friendly-fire, although it may still be very rigorous) is a furphy. That’s not to say a biased scientist [i]never[/i] gets an easy review from another biased scientist during peer review by a neutral journal, but there is nothing to stop scientists who are unbiased (or even biased in the opposite direction) from researching and publishing on the same subject.

    When we see what goes on with the often poorly-done grey-lit supported by anti-forestry agitators (and the Bleaney/Scammell beatups are an excellent case in point) I’m not sure anyone should be getting too judgemental about in-house industry reports anyway – and particularly not about material being given credence above its worth.

    Some of the debate my comments have generated typifies what I see as a common problem in the way science is responded to on TT. That is that some posters, whose claims about environmental damage, unsustainability and so on are ostensibly claims about science, would prefer not to get into (or trust) the actual science surrounding these matters. Instead they would prefer to make scientific assertions then hide from a scientific debate about them on the grounds that the science concerning these issues can’t be trusted.

    I believe this path is a cop-out and that the reason it is taken is that for many of these posters, throwing jargon is easy but actually engaging with the scientific evidence is all too hard. Since we’re throwing around irrelevant quotes, one of my favourites is by PJ O’Rourke (1995):

    “The college idealists who fill the ranks of the environment movement seem willing to do absolutely anything to save the biosphere, except take science courses and learn something about it.”

    Except that on TT the median age of the idealists is 62.3 and most of them display complete distrust for anyone who has ever been near a college unless that person is a sycophant for their pre-existing biases.

  187. Dr Barry Tomkins

    November 1, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    #29 David Obendorf; Some industrial development, certainly, but what it could be based around is the question. Food processing? – maybe, taking up some of the slack that may result from the closing down of some production from the Murray-Darling basin? Mining? – unlikely, Tasmania has a couple of gold mines, iron ore/Savage River but extractive mineral industries on a WA scale – no.

    As to Tasmania’s cancer rates – (sigh!) – must we go over and over this? Highest rate of cancer? – only if skin cancers are excluded, and there is no justification for that, given that Tasmania has had the greatest summer exposure from the thinning of the ozone protective layer over the last several decades.

    The other relevant factors (once again!) include the lower socio-economic status and the strong correlation of socio-economic status with cancer rates, and the greater proportion of older people, and the fact that a significantly higher percentage of Tasmanian women smoke compared to the mainland States (from the data in a report by the Menzies Research Institute).

    I suspect that Tasmania will remain a mendicant State for decades, and its relative isolation doesn’t help.

    Dr Barry Tomkins

  188. J A Stevenson

    November 1, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    Dr Barry Tomkins. Australia is a mendicant country. It’s whole income is based on hand outs. Either from its vast mineral wealth of iron, coal and gas. Or exploitation of it forests and agricultural land. Not from its industry or sustainability. From the first shovelful, a mine is a wasting asset. In the national papers each week there are applications for mining exploitation advertised. Vast profits and tax income to the Australian economy and overseas investors are accrued on a once only basis. Coal exploitation on the Liverpool plains, a rich farming area, is proposed. This will not only destroy the land but also impinge on the water table with unknown effects. A wildness area in Queensland is also under threat from companies wanting to mine Bauxite. Remember, these assets can only be exploited once. They will still be there, possibly for future exploitation when money is desperately needed because many others are worked out. If one looks at the Tasmanian industry in the last 10 years, how many thousand have lost their jobs to closures. Without the mineral wealth Australia would be a third world country, able to compete on equal terms in the world labour markets. What is produced in Australia now and not imported? Even the very chips being sold in the prime potato growing area of Scottsdale Woolworth’s are grown in Holland.
    How can there be economic development? Why have so many young people been lost. If there was the possibility of worthwhile jobs they would have surely stayed. Where are the sustainable jobs to be found? Worthwhile jobs used to be found in the prime timber growing areas but rape and pillage operations of big companies have brought about their closure.

    You are a firm advocate of clear fell, burn, spray the herbage with herbicides and shortly after spray the pests with pesticides. Sustainable forests do not require any of these chemicals. Natural birds and insects take care of any pests if they are not all been swept away with the scorched earth policy. Radiata on a maximum of a 35 year rotation? Where is the sustainability it that? Once Radiata have reached that age they are only just beginning to lay down decent timber.
    Until then, much of what they have produced is wasted. Either branch wood shaded out and dropped off or in the central knotty core which will be second or third grade timber. They do not suddenly slow down at the magic figure of 35 years. They could carry on producing income from successive thinning s for another 35 years. I suspect the modern industry is driven by the adoption of Scandinavian timber handling and saw milling culture that you have swallowed, hook, line and sinker. The trees this equipment was designed for were much older than 35 years.

    Plantation drop spooks industry. Libs urge caution over mill deal … Today’s thread here. I advise you to carefully read the article.
    Perhaps more and more are seeing the light.

  189. Bemused

    November 1, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    Typical, more of the same I have examples but wont tell you what they are bullshit. Why wont you tell us what they are? and while your at it will you let us know what the helicopter that crashed was carrying? You seem to have ducked away from that one too.
    And your personal unobservations are irrelevant.

  190. Russell

    November 1, 2010 at 10:20 am

    Re #27
    I went, did you? I also didn’t see a single pro-forestry person there giving any input.

    The problem was the ENGO mantra of the night was “get involved, be part of the process,” however when asked “ok, how?” they had no answer.

    They kept us out of the talks so far and they seem to be continuing that theme into the future.

  191. Change Agent

    November 1, 2010 at 5:39 am

    Ohh Barry Tomkins #28, yes you are what you want to be, it is your choice in life.

    Here are others making their personal contribution to appropriate development on our earth:

    … I liked this simple animated message from Wangari Maathi I received earlier in the week. Wangari started small by teaching local women about planting trees in Kenya…and 27+ million trees later became the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize, as planting forests in the end, also plants real permanent long term prosperity and peace.

    A natural leader, enduring much hardship in getting her simple but profound message across, she is now a celebrated for her Green Belt forestry initiative and this is the talk she often gives, where she invites us all to be like a Hummingbird!

  192. Observer

    November 1, 2010 at 4:50 am

    #28. Maybe it is possible, Salamander #27, or even probable, that far less than 50,000 are not so much apathetic, but actually quietly support a position opposite to your own.

    True! I personally estimate about seven or eight hundred myself, all them Forestry workers.

  193. Observer

    November 1, 2010 at 2:36 am

    18.Thanks for that supposed translation, Observer (#17) ……the problem with that is that the quote you are translating is 23 years old, so that jury should by now be in with its findings available for all to see. So where is the proof of “unsustainability” – or even the definition?

    26. I would hope you would agree that determining whether specific forest practices meet widespread definitions of sustainable is a good thing to use science for – and furthermore since you’re not going to get much of a handle on those questions without using science, what other way is there to proceed? Dr Kevin Bonham.

    Firstly, 23 years is a very short period in environmental terms, but nevertheless, the evidence is abundant over even that short period. I think everybody is aware by now that we are doing extraordinary damage to the evironment with sea ice melting, glaciers receding, accelerating climate change, virtually every living creature except humans in decline, bees vanishing, corals disappearing, fish stocks at the point of exhaustion, seas rising and original forests vanishing. Project that over the next hundred years given that population will more than double in that time, and there will be little left of the world as even we know it by then. It doesn’t need a scientist to spell it out. Disaster is written loud and clear!

    Secondly, can you imagine that if a person like Mark Wybourne were a scientist, and he was asked to do a study and a report on say ‘Sustainability of forest activities’ or ‘the effects on the population of chemical spraying’ and this was peer reviewed by Dr Tomkins, mjf, crf, Michael, Mary, alana etc, could you in your wildest dreams, regardless of any evidence to the contary, imagine that any report would other than exonerate Forestry and current practices?

    Yes, I am aware that these people are not scientists, but the principle is exactly the same for many industry commissioned reports. There are many scientists who would make excellent stand-ins for Judas, but their reports are nevertheless given credence above their worth. It is sometimes because of this propensity that industry will deliberately choose these persons to compile their ‘scientific’ reports for them. A similar trade is in lobbyists, who are prepared to sacrifice any vague principles they may have once held to promote a destructive, rent-seeking corporate entity and gain political advantages for them – and possible subsisies.

    And yes, I can quote examples but I shall not do so here.

  194. David Obendorf

    November 1, 2010 at 12:56 am

    Dr Tomkins writes: “Do they prefer to recognize that without appropriate development, which necessarily includes industrial development, they are condemned to continue to have the lowest economic status of all the States, with all the attendant social problems, including an aged population and loss of its young people to the mainland and elsewhere because of lack of opportunity?”

    And your solution is more ‘industrial developmemnt’ is it, Barry?

    Tasmania has the highest cancer rates in Australia; what’s you’re solution for that one, Dr Tomkins?

  195. Dr Barry Tomkins

    November 1, 2010 at 12:25 am

    Maybe it is possible, Salamander #27, or even probable, that far less than 50,000 are not so much apathetic, but actually quietly support a position opposite to your own.

    What do Tasmanians really want? – a continuation of the current situation where Tasmanian is a mendicant State, dependent for over 50% of its government needs on the rest of Australia, or do they wish to be far less dependent? Do they prefer to recognize that without appropriate development, which necessarily includes industrial development, they are condemned to continue to have the lowest economic status of all the States, with all the attendant social problems, including an aged population and loss of its young people to the mainland and elsewhere because of lack of opportunity?

    Dr Barry Tomkins

  196. salamander

    October 31, 2010 at 9:15 pm

    I wonder how many of the objectors to the forestry agreement are prepared to go to the public forums, and contribute to the debate?

    Public Forum Dates and Times:

    – Hobart
    Tuesday 2 November, 5.30 – 7pm
    Stanley Burbury Theatre, UTAS Churchill Ave

    – Tasman Peninsula
    Tuesday 9 November, 6.00 – 7.30pm
    Eaglehawk Neck Community Hall, Arthur Highway

    – St Helens
    Friday 12 November, 5.30 – 7pm
    Tidal Waters, 1 Quail St

    A recent discussion in the Tamar Valley on the current effects of the mill on issues like real estate heard a lot of whingeing from residents who wanted “someone to do something” – someone else, obviously.

    Out of a population of 500,000 why can’t we get 50,000 people to a rally? Because of apathy, and the attitude that it is all someone else’s responsibility.

    We have got the forestry agreement we deserved – the best that the ENGO’s could squeeze out, thanks to the determination of too few.

  197. Dr Kevin Bonham

    October 31, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    Re the last three paragraphs of Max’s reply above (currently showing as #24), that’s all very well (perhaps), but what does it say about sustainability and our ability to assess (or even define) what is or is not sustainable? The question of whether current specified Tasmanian forestry practices are or are not sustainable is not one that is going to be answered by quoting 23-year old waffle by David Suzuki – and exceedingly overgeneralised waffle at that. Nor does confirming Godwin’s Law do the argument any favours.

    As I read the Suzuki quotes above they are not so much directed at the prejudices of scientists, but at the prejudices of those who pay scientists to answer certain questions (eg about the most effective means of killing in war) that might be better left unanswered. Those scientists willing to accept pay to work on such questions need not share those prejudices, and may simply be acquiescent in furthering them. But while we are talking about “political and social prejudices”, how is David Suzuki’s commentary above anything other than an expression of his own, beyond that you happen to agree with him?

    I would hope you would agree that determining whether specific forest practices meet widespread definitions of sustainable is a [i]good[/i] thing to use science for – and furthermore since you’re not going to get much of a handle on those questions [i]without[/i] using science, what other way is there to proceed? Indeed it seems you do agree with that – to judge from your claim about the work of Bleaney et al as “sustainability science in practice”. However, the merit of sustainability science doesn’t depend on whether the person doing it has their heart in the right place or not. It depends on the quality of the work.

  198. John Biggs

    October 31, 2010 at 8:00 pm

    Thanks again, Max. This is one of your most important contributions. You have put the case very strongly that the present “agreement” is a cover up. I was hoping that this agreement would break the deadlock that has been distorting Tasmania’s polity for so many years, and so I was prepared to accept there must be a price for that. You have convinced me that the answers have been badly thought through by one side, and deliberately blurred by the other side. Surely nobody wants a forestry industry, including its value add-ons, that relies on chemically dependent plantations that abuse land that should be used for farming and food production.

    Yet again, to have argued too hard at the beginning would almost certainly have stalled the talks and left us with the highly unbalanced mess we have had in the last 40-50 years. So issues have been aired. Now is the time to convince the public and what politicians and powerbrokers that are open to reasoned argument and evidence, that we need to go beyond what has been agreed in what now seems to have been a badly flawed and undemocratic process.

  199. Max Bound

    October 31, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    In comment no 5 the question has been asked “What is blind progressivism” Rather than write an explanation I will take the easy way and repeat a lengthy quote from a scholar and activist who, as well as having been widely published , has worked through this question in terms of its historical roots. Pete Hay has also examined in detail the influence of what I have termed as ‘Blind Progressivism’, in my article, on what is happening in our world today.
    To quote Dr Hay:at some length:… “The eighteenth century is often called, in the literature, the Enlightenment, or the Age of Reason. It was the century when the paradigms and methodologies of science triumphed over the political and value structures of ecclesiastical authority and superstition. It ushered in the modern world, a time of scientific ferment and fearless philosophical enquiry that made possible the industrial revolution that reached its epitome in the early years of the following century, and it set in place the key underlying assumptions of progressive modernism that stand largely unchallenged today. It comes as a shock to some people on our side of politics to learn that both the two great modernist ideologies – socialism and liberalism – share, below and at a more fundamental level than ideology, the same bedrock assumption. This is: that science and dispassionate reason can and will fuel an ever-increasing material improvement in the human estate, and that the vector of change is, then, eternally progressive, eternally carrying us from a given state to a better state.
    It is this paradigmatic assumption – that the vector of change is inevitably and eternally progressive – that I want to challenge, and that I would like the left of politics to step away from. It would be harder, I think, for the liberal tradition to do this than it would be for us,…”

    The details of the paper this quote are taken from are published at the end of my article above. It is now over 40 years past that a number of us on the left began moving ever further away from the progressivism Peter Hay is here discussing. Unfortunately not all have made the transition thus Dr Hay’s plea only a bit over two years ago.

    Regarding comment no 16,18 etc Kevin you will have to sort out your worries with David Suzuki it is he who I have quoted The following quote from the same book might be of help
    On page 233 Suzuki wrote: “Once I left my lab, I could see the enormous social consequences of science, its tight linkage with profit motives of private industry, its terrible dependence on military support. I recognized that the fruits of science pervade every aspect of our lives, but that science is so cloaked in jargon it remains hidden from the public. It became my faith that through greater public understanding and awareness, that the application of science would come to be determined as much by public priorities as as by military and industrial needs. Nuclear war, environmental degradation, social manipulation and control—these became matters of great concern that I could discuss through the media and hope to make an impact on people. Once involved, I couldn’t go back. “

    To me the words about “environmental degradation social manipulation and control” ring alarm bells about what Gunn’s bottom line and forestry Tasmania is costing both our public purse and our children’s, future. One of the concerns Suzuki elaborates on is that Hitler’s Race purification Acts were modeled after American legislation. See page236 of Suzuki’s “Metamorphosis”

    Suzuki, as I read him, was issuing a warning that scientists are human and have political and social prejudices that in some cases are racist and otherwise socially regressive. About genetics in particular it can, like all science and technological innovation, be either useful or alternatively dangerous to a human future. Science and technological innovation and the resources that are required for research need to be evaluated in each particular case rather than blindly assumed to be beneficial in all cases. There are issues about how such assessments, or evaluations, are made.

  200. Dr Kevin Bonham

    October 31, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    My previous post was in response to the post by Eagle Eye (9:57 am) – post numbering changed with the out-of-order insertion of the post by JAS.

  201. Mark Wybourne

    October 31, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    Re 21. Eagle – it is declining, but only because the available areas is dimisinishimg rapidly.

    Go say thanks to the Greens, who have destroyed a vibrant and sustainable business.

  202. Dr Kevin Bonham

    October 31, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    Re #19 I expect that the key word is “provided”. Is it really the case that no trees suitable for your purpose (which is?) exist at all? Or is it really the case that plenty still exist but they are not accessible to the industry because of conservation decisions?

  203. Eagle eye

    October 31, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    Kevin, if I can no longer purchase decent sized timber because, according to employees of the milling company that supplies that timber, it is no longer able to be cut from the logs provided, then the quality of the source is demonstrably declining.
    Surely that would suggest that the rate of harvest has been such that quality is diminishing.
    I do not know about youor world, but in mine that is unsustainable.

  204. J A Stevenson

    October 31, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    Every Picture Tells a Story. The picture heading this thread is a perfect illustration.

    A site after felling and firing depicts what is wrong with Australia forest practices.
    The stump reflects the the wastage of timber precisely. Felling a tree and leaving valuable timber behind as stumps, unharvested,impeding extraction. Also, there could easily be $100 wasted on that tree alone because the timber fallers are too idle to bend their backs.

    The tonnage of humus/carbon released into the atmosphere must have been tremendous.
    60cm of humus must have been on site when that tree was growing, judging by the size of the roots left exposed. Tree roots never grow in mid air

  205. Dr Kevin Bonham

    October 31, 2010 at 12:05 am

    Thanks for that supposed translation, Observer (#17). However if the quote entails that we’re doing damage and the magnitude of the damage will be known in “several years” (as you suggest) then the problem with that is that the quote you are translating is 23 years old, so that jury should by now be in with its findings available for all to see. So where is the proof of “unsustainability” – or even the definition?

    I find it amusing being told I should know better than something by an anonymous poster who provides no evidence of knowing better than anything. [b]You[/b] should know that just as there are cases where environmental damage is underestimated only to turn out to be severe well down the track, so there are also cases where nature displays far greater resilience than originally anticipated and fears turn out to have been premature and based on shoddy research and scaremongering.

    But I’m guessing that you don’t.

  206. Observer

    October 30, 2010 at 11:22 pm

    #16. Dr Bonham, you should know better than that.

    “The truth is we have no idea” what impact we are having. If we truly have no idea what impact we are having then we have no idea that that impact is unsustainable.

    A translation for you.

    ‘The truth is we ARE having a serious impact but we are unsure of the eventual size of it! Even at the smallest guesstimate, we are absolutely certain that to continue would be in the range of ‘unsustainable’ to ‘calamatous’. ‘

    The actual answer will only be known several years from now, but the prospects are not good!

  207. Dr Kevin Bonham

    October 30, 2010 at 9:41 pm

    In articles like this, use of the word “unsustainable” typically translates to “I don’t like it”. The article is supposedly about maintaining “sustainability” but the author makes little attempt to define what he means by the term and no real attempt to substantiate attempts to assert that given practices are or aren’t “sustainable”.

    Certain practices are claimed to be “unsustainable” yet at the same time a dated popular Suzuki text is approvingly quoted as saying that “The truth is we have no idea” what impact we are having. If we truly have no idea what impact we are having then we have no idea that that impact is unsustainable.

  208. Karl Stevens

    October 30, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    Gunns CEO Greg L’Estrange is quoted as saying ‘Gunns had sat at the table through the whole process.’ In a question asked by Buck Emberg on the 26 of October in front of 50 people, the 3 ENGO’s claimed this was false and Gunns did not participate. Does this mean TWS, ET and the ACF have now accused Greg L’Estrange of making untrue statements to the Australian media? Over to you Paul, Phil and Lindsay.
    Who is telling the truth?

  209. Russell

    October 30, 2010 at 8:25 pm

    Re #11
    Unfortunately, under FSC the laws they ask companies to comply to are “the laws of the land” and guess who makes/made those laws here in Tassie?

  210. Observer

    October 30, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    Please – just remember this:-


    $700 Million + $1.2 Billion = Misery!

  211. john hayward

    October 30, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    People need to be reminded of just how intensive Tasmanian logging is compared to, say Victoria. What is the proportional ratio of their respective harvests? Six, seven, times bigger here, for a huge net cost to the public?

    Why would anyone, much less an ENGO, ever concede this is an indispensable feature of Tasmanian life? I can think of just one explanation.

    John Hayward

  212. David Obendorf

    October 30, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    Sustainability science as Prof Ian Lowe is calling for has been the part of the puzzle in Tasmania that has ALWAYS been a ‘no-go’ zone for community-based scientists, field naturalist and independent ecologists.

    In 2009 Public & Environmental Health Network was formed to look at the interconnections between biodiversity-natural ecology-sustainability-one health. We have a website on Sourcewatch called: Pollution Information Tasmania – Google it and see where our research interests are.

    The Principles Agreement lacks detail on the impact of the massive pulp wood monoculture estate anf how it will managed into the future based on assumed FSC certification compliance on chemical usage and biodiversity conservation. Water catchment management is not addressed as far as I can see in these Principles, nor is the internationally accepted concept of “One Health”.

    The northern groups will have to remain ‘bad cops’ to give a counter voice to the ‘good cop’ negotiators in TWS, ET Inc and ACF.

    To naively feel that this ‘business-as-usual’ industry will accept the need to change is, in my view, somewhat misplaced.

    Perhaps our negotiators need to read some pre-World War II history….I am ever wary.

    Remember too the Mercury newpaper’s reporting of the ‘fascist’ label that raised the ire of Premier Jim Bacon when it was used to define his Government? The same Premier who personally told Peter Cundall in his last weeks to fight hard for the protection of Tasmania’s forest.

    “By their fruits you will know them.”

  213. Russell

    October 30, 2010 at 10:47 am

    Re #7
    They saw it coming alright, they were warned (like Garrett and his insulation debacle) again and again from the outset.

    Unfortunately, a huge ego prevents any change of mind or direction.

  214. Brenda Rosser

    October 30, 2010 at 1:22 am

    Salamander: “But ENGOs in the negotiations aimed for what was achievable, as setting their sights too high would have meant the abrupt end of all talks, the immediate destruction of much of our high conservation forests, and a lot of grief…”

    The evidence points the other way. That there was never any need to negotiate with Gunns at all. They couldn’t continue business as usual in a massive global downturn anyway.

    Some people forget that there is (and always will be) power in ethics and principles. By abandoning them the ENGOs have made themselves obsolete to a very large group of individuals with real environmental credentials.

    I observe that many people I talk to now believe that the TSW, ET and a good portion of the Tasmanian Greens are irrelevant as a political force now.

    The outcome that Gunns sort and won. How easy it was.

  215. john hayward

    October 29, 2010 at 10:09 pm

    Anyone who attended the recent “panel” briefings on the Roundtable principles should be aware that it was all about a cosmetically enhanced version of the status quo.

    The agreement may owe a great deal to the fact that all the ENGOs on the Roundtable appear to enjoy financial support from the government sector which has long lavishly supported Gunns.

    John Hayward

  216. BGW

    October 29, 2010 at 9:41 pm

    #4 Whilst it may be true that Gunns had no direct input to the Forestry Agreement, this clearly has not stopped them from issuing a public statement that they were a party to the agreement. A cynical manipulation of the truth, perhaps, but how many of their shareholders and potential investors are going to check, let alone call them to account on the lie? The ENGO’s have been duped – like lambs to the slaughter, and they didn’t see it coming. Either that, or some of them have an association with forestry players – most likely the CFMEU – and a vested interest in keeping them happy. If you give any of them money, you should be asking a lot of questions right now.

  217. Russell

    October 29, 2010 at 9:10 pm

    Re #4
    And the Pope isn’t a catholic.

    Direct, indirect, same result.

  218. Leonard Colquhoun

    October 29, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    Be interested to find out what precisely is meant by “blind progressivism”.

    ‘Progressive’, as a political term, is usually associated with the Left, who see themselves as a progressive movement in contrast to the ‘reactionary’ forces of the conservatives / conservatism.

    Of course, nothing is ever so simple and straight-forward as that: many ‘progressive’ regimes have turned out to be, in terms of improving human welfare & prosperity – which for many is what is meant by ‘progress’ – hugely regressive. And surely, by now, there’s no need to name names.

    Naturally, it is nice for them if their mob can get away with appropriating the label ‘progressive’, but, given their ideological mindset, more accurate terms would be –

    ‘progressivist’ and ‘progressivism’.

    As for “blind progressivism” – isn’t blindness, especially the sort which has True Believers falling for their own propaganda, a feature of all religions and ideologies?

  219. salamander

    October 29, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    # 2 I agree that we will be better off without Gunns. Having the state’s future pinned to a company that has no social conscience is not going to ensure a good outcome for anyone else.

    However, no matter how many statements Gunns makes about being a “party to the Forest Statement of Principles” it doesn’t change the fact that if they are, it is as a Johnny-come-later, as

  220. alan

    October 29, 2010 at 5:10 pm

    #2. Yes, of course it would have been. Probably Gunns had their representatives approach the Wildos and ask what would it take for you to stop jeopardising the financing of the pulp mill and support it. The 5 months of talks were about a trade-off between Gunns and the southern environmental groups.Northern communities and small sawmillers seem to have been left out.
    When Environment Tasmania on behalf of the Wilderness Society and other southern environmental groups signed off on the Statement of Principles they sacrificed northern Tasmania. A pulp mill of economic scale will entrench monoculture tree plantations in the productive northern part of the State which has already lost much of its varied landscape, natural diversity and farmland to this blight.
    Will Wilson Tuckey’s plan for Tasmania to be the “Plantation State” come to fruition?

  221. Russell

    October 29, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    If anyone is still in doubt of exactly what the Forest Principles was all about, and believed the conveners of these forums that Gunns had nothing to do with them, read this little latest 4 page Gunns ASX announcement http://www.asx.com.au/asxpdf/20101029/pdf/31tj0ch6zt2l5j.pdf

    It’s ALL about Gunns and ALWAYS was.

    Let Gunns go under. They will without public money and handouts anyway.

    FT will keep doing what they do regardless of any currently proposed ‘agreement,’ and they will probably go under shortly after as well unless they make massive community-approved changes to their business, regulations and practices.

  222. salamander

    October 29, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    Many would say that expecting government to agree to the abrupt end of most of the forestry industry is “pursuing illusions”.

    More drastic changes do need to be made to the forestry industry, particularly in plantations. But ENGOs in the negotiations aimed for what was achievable, as setting their sights too high would have meant the abrupt end of all talks, the immediate destruction of much of our high conservation forests, and a lot of grief.

    At least now there is hope.

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