Forestry Tasmania today released new figures that confirm state forests are a net carbon sink.
A re-analysis of FT’s previously published carbon audit demonstrates that annual emissions from planned burns represent less than a quarter of the total carbon stored each year on state forest.
The figures form part of Forestry Tasmania’s response to Questions on Notice from the Senate Select Committee on Climate Change.
Executive general manager Hans Drielsma said the figures aligned with research conducted by other credible sources that acknowledge forestry as the only carbon-positive sector of the Australian economy.
“Senator Brown’s questioning reflected his stance against forestry and deliberately overlooked the scientific fact that sustainably managed forests sequester carbon, which balances that emitted in harvesting.
“Our audit re-analysis demonstrates that state forests store 6.75 million tonnes of carbon dioxide each year.
“In comparison, the carbon emitted by regeneration burning amounts to a maximum of 1.46 million tonnes.
“In reality, variations in harvesting methods and burn regimes mean that our annual carbon emissions would be less than this amount.
“However, these figures only tell part of the story. If the residues currently burnt on the forest floor were used to fuel a biomass energy plant, we could make a real contribution towards reducing Australia’s carbon emissions by replacing the equivalent amount of fossil fuels with a renewable energy source.”
Dr Drielsma said that all the evidence pointed to sustainable forestry as a solution to climate change.
“Forestry makes three major contributions to the carbon economy: through the storage of carbon in growing forests, through the storage of carbon in wood products, and through the emissions that are avoided by substituting wood for energy intensive products such as aluminium, concrete or fossil fuels.
“There is no question that forestry operations, in common with all other human activities, generate carbon emissions.
“However, Forestry Tasmania harvests and re-grows only one percent of State forest annually. The remaining 1.5 million hectares is managed on a long-term sustainable basis.
“Our modelling shows that carbon stores on state forests will increase by 17% over the next 50 years.”