Australasia's home for timber news and information

Half a century of cutbacks results in current wood shortage crisis

The crisis in wood supply facing Victoria’s hardwood sawmills is the culmination of successive cutbacks in native forest timber available to industry over almost 50 years. Source: Philip Hopkins for Timberbiz

“It has been a process of attrition,” said Kevin Wareing, a retired Forests Commission officer, a former lecturer at the Creswick forestry school and the former head of the economics and marketing branch in Victoria’s Department of Conservation, Forests and Lands in the 1990s.

Key drivers have been the huge expansion of national parks and other reserves that exclude timber harvesting; increasing environmental protection in state forest available for timber harvesting; relentless pressure from green groups; dubious political decisions; and the massive fires of the past 15 years.

The former chief executive of the Victorian Association of Forest Industries, the late Graeme Gooding, who grew up in Gippsland, produced a paper outlining these changes more than a decade ago.

Read more of this special report by Philip Hopkins in the soon-to-be-published June edition of Australian Forests & Timber News.