Tasmanian Times


FSC failures … A testimony to the facts!

2018, and Stone-age native Forestry practices in Victoria continue. – image Friends of the Earth Forest Collective.

Reckless forest destruction driven by the rapacious woodchip industry is rampant throughout southeastern Australia. Image FoE Forest Collective.

Take note Sustainable Timber Tasmania… your quest for FSC is doomed!

When it comes to rejection of FSC towards Australia’s out-dated native forest logging practices then the old adage of ‘3 strikes and you’re out ‘should apply. Unsurprisingly VicForests has just had its third FSC application dismissed, and considering their modus operandi is seemingly identical to that of Sustainable Timber Tasmania then it is inevitable that STT will also fail in their next feeble quest to gain certification.

Meanwhile south of Bass Strait, $ millions has been squandered on STT’s attempts to get FSC. If this insidious and iniquitous Forestry Corporation is serious about fulfilling the FSC criteria they should clearly comprehend that without changing their foolish ideology and abhorrent practices then obtaining such certification is well beyond them.

Similar to STT’s first attempt, the final audit on VicForest’s third application cited numerous major non-conformances to the FSC standards. These being –

* The logging and burning of old-growth forests.
* The destruction of threatened and protected species habitat.
* Logging of rainforest
* Intensive clearfell logging techniques.

The FSC certification is widely considered to be the benchmark for sustainable forestry operations yet the native forestry management agencies in southeast Australia consistently fail in their quests due to their ongoing unsustainable practices.

Business and consumers world-wide are increasingly demanding certified wood and paper products. The rejection of products sourced through unsustainable practices is becoming more common, and recently notable retail companies such as Bunnings and Officeworks have announced they would dump native forest timber and paper products from their shelves by 2020 unless they are FSC certified.

Forest companies who wish to gain access to markets accompanied with social licenses will have little success without FSC certification.

Logging of high conservation forests in southeastern Australia will almost certainly have to cease for both VicForests and STT to obtain FSC.

FSC-approved forestry practices require operations to …
• Be managed to maintain high conservation values.
• Sustain endangered species and wildlife habitats.
• Be managed in consultation with key stakeholders.
• Respect workers and indigenous peoples rights
• Be economically viable.

FSC has been recognised in more than 80 countries worldwide. There has been certification for at least 180 million hectares of natural, plantation and tropical forests.

Unless STT changes its modus operandi (which appears unlikely) then FSC will be well out of its grasp.

In the meantime taxpayers will be further out of pocket as STT pursues its frivolous process towards applying for certification.

Ted Mead Although Ted lived in Gippsland Victoria for 20 years he is more familiar with forestry and it disturbing operations over native forests of high-conservation areas throughout Tasmania. Ted believes it will be the world markets, demands and influences from outside the state that should eventually see the end of the industry behemoths and mis-managers that leech and rort on the seemingly endless taxpayer’s subsidies.

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


  1. Ted Mead

    November 30, 2018 at 1:05 pm

    MjF … There are numerous forestry certifications across the globe. The PEFC, that’s right the only one STT can obtain, is basically only pursued by small operators, or those who know there is little chance of them getting FSC.

    Here’s a quote from the US/Canadian Forest Association: “The ATFS, FSC, and SFI systems include the fundamental elements of credibility and make positive contributions to forest sustainability. No certification program can credibly claim to be ‘best’, and no certification program that promotes itself as the only certification option can maintain credibility. Forest ecosystems are complex and a simplistic ‘one size fits all’ approach to certification cannot address all sustainability needs.”

    This entire statement is underpinned by the notation of sustainability. That’s something about which STT has no concept or comprehension.

    At this stage I will stand by FSC even though it has flaws, though I would instantly retract my position given if STT remarkably ever receives certification under its present practices and modus operandi.

    • MjF

      November 30, 2018 at 6:47 pm

      The FSC Australia National Standard, you mean.

    • Mark Poynter

      December 2, 2018 at 7:28 pm

      Sorry to burst your bubble Ted, but as of 2017, PEFC national certification systems in 35 countries had certified over 300 million hectares of forest which is around 2/3 of the world’s total area of certified forest. So FSC is in fact the minor player both globally and in Australia.

      It was deceptive of you to construct a whole article without disclosing that VicForests and SST have for years been certified to Australia’s national forestry standard (developed in accordance with the PEFC) even before you started to misrepresent its significance.

      It is hardly a surprise that you and environmental activists more generally would support FSC exclusively. After all, it was developed by the international environmental movement specifically by the Rainforest Alliance and the World Wildlife Fund in 1993. As such, its major stakeholders are environmental groups, and in Australia we know that these groups are almost all dedicated to the complete cessation of native forestry, so it is hardly a surprise that none of the state forestry agencies, such as VicForests and SST, have been able to attain it. In fact, in Australia, it is only a couple of small private forest owners who have achieved FSC certification, as well as most of the large plantation growers who generally have both FSC and PEFC certification.

      Indeed, what a fantastic way for environmental activists to kill off our native hardwood industry by incessantly lobbying retail businesses that FSC is the only certification system, and claiming that without it timber production is unsustainable, while at the same time ensuring that it can never be granted to wood producers who seek to attain it.

      And for this reason I actually agree with you that it is pointless for agencies such as VicForests and SST to even try to attain it, because when they inevitable fail, ostensibly because they are not “sufficiently engaging with stakeholders” (aka, environmental groups trying to destroy them) it creates a convenient platform for headlines and articles such as this which decry them as unsustainable eco-vandals with standards that can’t meet basic environmental protection requirements.

      In reality, although you might not like it, Australia’s native forestry practices are of world’s best practice, as is attested by their PEFC certification.

      • spikey

        December 3, 2018 at 6:59 am

        Omg, did you really just use the blatant propaganda slogan ‘world’s best practice’?

        I thought the unsustainable forestry charity shied away from that one when Tassal started using it to justify overstocking/poisoning our pristine waterways. Must be scraping the bottom of the barrel to dredge that complete misrepresentation back out of the closet.

        Tasmania’s Forestry dysfunctional practices are a complete global disgrace. If you want to pretend they are world’s best anything, try world’s best unsustainable uneconomic con job.

        I’d say that makes its champions little more than petty con artists for the international timber mafia. No surprises there.

        Shame, shame, shame ..

      • Russell

        December 19, 2018 at 6:34 am

        The same PEFC that allows VicForests to experiment with Koala habitat? It’s a joke where the perpertrators write the rules as they go and sign off on their own disgraceful practices with a pretend green tick.

  2. Ted Mead

    November 29, 2018 at 9:49 pm

    MjF … Yes, that was an error on my behalf as I meant to say Imports.

    As for FSC breaches, well, just because somebody has been granted certification doesn’t mean they apply the code afterwards.

    The history of breaches to Tasmania’s Forestry code would be a clear example as what you could expect STT and the likes of VicForests to be active within.

    Just Google “FSC disasters” or “FSC breaches”. I know there are examples and incidents of neglect.

    • Mjf

      November 30, 2018 at 8:37 am

      So why are you spruiking FSC as the paragon of forest certifications, Ted ?
      Your argument makes no sense. In my view, a faked logo stamp intended to deceive the whole supply chain is about as bad as it gets.

  3. Ted Mead

    November 29, 2018 at 10:52 am

    MjF – Your first paragraph about timber exports is correct, but then you begin to lose the plot .. as usual.

    FT gained PEFC some time ago, which is a statement in non-credibility of such certification.

    I’m sure the FSC certification is not faultless, and there are timber companies that have deceived and/or exploited the process.

    The fact that STT and VicForests can’t get it, and are a long way off getting this certification, means that FSC remains to have notable credibility.

    • Mjf

      November 29, 2018 at 6:40 pm

      FSC is a sham Ted, and you would actually admit if you knew any facts. And my first paragraph was about timber IMPORTS.

      Do I need to remind you that you actually stated “the FSC certification is widely considered to be the benchmark for sustainable forestry operations” yet you admit “FSC certification is not faultless, and there are timber companies that have deceived and/or exploited the process.”

      Kind of forked tongue, Ted. This has become your hallmark.


      Martin, proper names, such as the names of people, are capitalised. But of course, you knew that, right?

      — Moderator

  4. Ted Mead

    November 28, 2018 at 8:58 pm

    Un – Realist, here are some facts –

    STT didn’t make a profit. All they did was fudge the figures by revaluing the forest .. which isn’t theirs anyway. What they lost last year was $39 million, or $75 Million if you add the government grants and subsidies.

    All the forests aren’t locked up yet, but I’m still working on that one!

    The reason imported timber is cheaper is because of lower wages and structural/industrial costs.

    Logging Tasmanian hardwood forests for sawlogs has become too expensive these days, and it wouldn’t happen at all if STT losses wasn’t propping it up. Availability has become far more difficult because FT/STT allowed mega millions of Cat 1 logs to be pulverised as woodchips for decades.

    Natural wildfires have less ecological impacts than a clearfell and burn regime. Catastrophic fires are a natural phenomenon because of the frequency and intensity of sclerophyll forests due to anthropocentric influences. I won’t mention the word climate change coz it probably sends you into a fizz.

    Natural forests don’t need management as they have their own ongoing ecological processes.

    As for your comment about “World practices’’ ie Indonesia .. have you ever heard of Ta Ann and its parent company? That’s where all Tasmania’s future sawlogs are going now.

    I don’t know about adopting an orangutan, but given the direction STT is operating, we may all be adopting Swift Parrots, stag beetles and giant crayfish in the future!

    • MjF

      November 29, 2018 at 7:28 am

      The reason most imported timber is cheaper is because most is Asian sourced. The natives work for almost nil wages, children are employed, equipment is old, mass clearfelling of tropical rainforest is unregulated and replaced by palm oil plantations funded by corrupt business cartels. Supply of this timber is plentiful and literally floods global markets as the traditional owners are robbed blind, and receive little in royalties. There is still timber illegally logged in 3rd world countries today.

      Oddly enough much of this timber turns up with an FSC stamp applied. The customer is being deceived big time, but that’s the power of certification.

      Give me Australian grown and processed PEFC/AFS certified timber any day. These are systems which actually mean and represent something, instead of being a global con.

  5. Andrew Ricketts

    November 28, 2018 at 8:23 am

    This article says it is about: “FSC certification is widely considered to be the benchmark for sustainable forestry operations yet the native forestry management agencies in southeast Australia consistently fail in their quests due to their ongoing unsustainable practices.”

    But now commentator ‘Realist’ starts lambasting the dubious achievements of STT.

    This is an article which disputes the worth of FSC. I agree that it mentions STT, but that is somewhat confusing.

    STT does not have FSC certification, so how can it possibly be about STT?

    On this issue of the claimed wide acceptance of FSC .. it is probably simply because the general public does not have sufficient knowledge of how FSC operates, nor the degree of gormless avoidance which it practices.

    FSC is the promotional tool of choice for the loggers.

  6. Realist

    November 27, 2018 at 11:54 am

    So STT made a 6 million dollar profit last year. It is maintaining HC forests and endangered species are protected by the Threatened Species Act which STT is bound to. Key stakeholders are happy, except the Greens of course, who will never be happy until harvesting renewable native forests stops altogether.

    So I suppose we just keep importing timber.

    • Russell

      November 28, 2018 at 6:33 am

      How much taxpayer money and subsidies did STT get last year, ‘Realist’? Get your facts right.

      We only import timber because local suppliers can’t get timber from our forests. We chip all our valuable timbers for dunny paper, or send logs off by the boatload, and at a loss, to China.

      There are fewer jobs in the Tasmanian timber industry than ever before because of decades of the world’s worst forest management practice.

      • Realist

        November 28, 2018 at 5:48 pm

        “We only import timber because local suppliers can’t get timber from our forests.”

        Come on Russell, how about getting your facts right? “Chip all our valuable timbers for dunny paper”

        No wonder no one takes greenies seriously any more. We only import timber because you lot have locked most of it up, all the while waiting for the next fire storm which will not only kill all the trees, but also the wild life inhabiting it due to lack of proper management. But that’s what you would prefer .. let nature do its thing and to hell with the consequences, and just like what has happened with the fires in California, blame man made climate change instead of gross mismanagement of the urban interface which has encroached the forest.

        “world’s worst forest management practice.” LOL. That takes the cake when you compare it to say Indonesia, where there are no restrictions with forestry. Care to adopt an orangutan, Russell?

        • Russell

          December 2, 2018 at 9:33 am

          Show us your knowledge for once, and tell us all how many Tasmanian timber mills have closed in the last 20 years. There’s plenty of input in TT’s archives from those who used to operate and work in those mills. Just do a search and find out a bit about what you are talking for a change.

          Tell us exactly what the trees (woodchips) cut down in Tasmania are used for apart from mainly dunny paper, newspapers and copy paper … two of which aren’t needed anymore in this electronic age.

          I’m not a ‘greenie’. I am in fact a “realist” .. unlike yourself.

          Only FT/STT has locks on any forests. You really ought to get out of your local bar and have a look around sometime.

          The only firestorms which have occurred in the last 30 years have MAINLY been in plantation forests which have often been started by the likes of FT in their wasteful annual polluting burn-offs.

          The fires in California were LARGELY fueled by Australian eucalypts. The eucalypts are in the suburbs. Do your homework.

          And who is FT/STT supplying logs to? Indonesia. Time for you to eat some humble pie.

    • MjF

      November 28, 2018 at 9:55 am

      Mr. Ricketts …

      You didn’t finish your last sentence. It should end with: ‘as demanded and orchestrated by global NGOs.’

  7. max

    November 27, 2018 at 8:03 am

    On forestry we have to ask the pertinent question, Why? The Australian forest industry has been following a long road to self-destruction it didn’t happen overnight in most cases, it built up over time with one bad decision followed by another. As the consequences of those bad decisions materialised the forest industry has been damaged. This damage has lead to making even more bad decisions in an effort to compensate for the damage. The cycle continues and now the situation is out of control.

    Climate change is not a looming threat … it is here now, and the forest industry should be at the forefront of absorbing carbon instead of being an instigator in CO2 release. For every old growth tree that is felled, the replacement will require in excess of 100 years, and put bluntly, the earth has less than 30 years left if we are to survive if the CO2 release is not stopped.

    If we need to fell old growth trees (and this is doubtful, at least) it should be done responsibly by careful selective logging .. and not this clear felling madness.

  8. MjF

    November 27, 2018 at 7:47 am

    Reckless, rapacious and rampant all in one sentence.
    Mr T at his expressive best.

  9. Russell

    November 27, 2018 at 6:55 am

    What a loser mendicant little group of parasites we have ripping off taxpayers every week of the year.

    An equivalent of over $680,000 of losses per week for three decades. The only thing they have to show for it are miles and miles of bushfire fodder, a seriously damaged public image, a depletion of water everywhere, moonscapes, smoke-outs, and every weed you could imagine.

    Time to shut the industry down and let the family sawmills once more do it properly. This will not only provide good timber to outlets seeking better managed resources and product supply like Bunnings, but it will also provide more employment in an industry which has ravaged timber towns everywhere over the last 30 years.

  10. Jack Lumber

    November 27, 2018 at 6:28 am

    That time again, Ted.

    • gerry

      November 27, 2018 at 8:09 am

      Time to wake up, Jack.

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