21 Mar 2009, 9:53pm
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$600 million blow from timber losses

By Darren Gray, WA Today, March 17, 2009 [here]

MORE than $600 million of timber and economic activity related to its harvesting was lost in last month’s bushfires, new estimates reveal.

Substantial timber losses have hit both privately owned plantations and native forests that could be harvested for timber.

The plantations and forests will take decades to regrow. Meanwhile, the bushfire losses will deplete timber supplies.

The lost timber would have been used in furniture making, house construction, floorboards, joinery, timber pallets, copy paper and newsprint. A substantial amount of it would have ended up in new Melbourne houses and extensions.

VicForests, the body that manages timber harvesting in state forests, estimates 25,000 hectares of “merchantable forest” was burnt.

The largest area affected was in state forest in a triangle from Toolangi to Marysville to Alexandra.

Further native state forest was lost in the Bunyip fires in West Gippsland.

VicForests estimates that $600 million of timber and economic activity related to its harvesting was lost.

In addition to these native forest losses, an estimated 18,000 hectares of plantation timber, eucalypt and pine, were severely burnt. … [more]



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