The information provided in this report has been based on utilisation of hardwood species in three Australian States. It is hoped this information can be used to contribute to better utilisation of the regrowth Ash-type Eucalypt wood resources as well as provide some element of confidence for designers and specifiers who intend to work with such wood.
There us increasing concern world wide regarding the long-term viability of managed forest ecosystem. Forests are the focus of broad-ranging environmental concerns including global change, alternative sources of fuel, biodiversity, water quality, soil degradation and sustainable productivity. Whilst forests are accepted as a source of wood-based products and fibre for fuels, harvesting operations are simultaneously viewed as undesirable, environmentally damaging and unsustainable. These conflicts are common in developed countries around the world; the environmental opposition to forest operations is strong and there are large gaps in our knowledge as to the long-term consequences of harvesting at local, regional and global levels
This report was written upon completion of a series of tours of research facilities in Australia and New Zealand. While my prime motivation was for personal growth and development, I identified an opportunity to increase my knowledge of the timber industry and assist the industry with its aim to add value to our timber resources. One of my objectives was to investigate the technologies used in the ilviculture forest management, seasoning, processing industries. I have summarised twenty nine hardwoods an eight softwoods of both native and exotic species as valuable commercial timbers for structural, non-structual and decorative used grown in Australia.
My Gottstein Study Tour was aimed at obtaining as assessment of the United Stated hardwood market. It was motivated by the inevitable changes taking place in the Australian market. Much has been written of the increased quantities of domestic radiate pine becoming available in the market from plantations established during the 1960’s and 1970’s. Plantation softwood have proven to be a very good substitute for hardwood in commodity applications.
Public debate over forestry issues has made news headlines across Australia for over two decades. It has become clear during the debate that a way must be found to increase the public’s knowledge of forestry issues – and soon. Many forums to inform and educate the public have been tried in the past, meeting with only limited success. Peoples are still generally ill-informed are easily swayed by emotional rhetoric.
As the human race strives to achieve a balance between the quality of our life on earth and the sustainability of that existence, the wise use of our earth’s resources is becoming increasingly important. In particular the use of our limited vegetative resources to create structures necessary for human survival, requires on going improvement to ensure that structures of maximum utility are achieved through the efficient utilisation of these resources. The ability of structures made from timber products to with stands the many environmental agents that can reduce a structure’s utility, is one aspect of that improvement process and is the subject of this report.
The forecast for the Australia forests products industry, under an assumed modest economic growth and a recovery in residential construction, is for an increase in domestic consumption. Sawn timber consumption is forecast to rise six percent in 1991-91 and by two percent per annum over the medium term, while wood-based consumption is forecast to rise by nearly three percent in 1991-92 and by 4.5 percent per annum in the medium term. However, consumption of paper and paper products is projected to rise by less than one percent in 1991-92 but by three percent a year over the medium term.
Australia is a country with a relatively large land mass but, by world standards, it has a very small population. With just 17 million people (or about 0.03 percent) out of the estimated world population of over 5 billion, it is a small voice in world affairs.
In the report I will use relevant examples from the three key areas of study to illustrate a discussion of the underlying concepts of tree breeding and propagation as they are currently practised in New Zealand. I will not attempt to present much of the technical tree breeding detail which was discussed during the study tour, as this will not be directly relevant to many readers. Readers wishing to discuss a particular point in greater depth are encouraged to do so, and may contact the author using the details given at the beginning of this report.
The timber treatment industry depends upon the use of chemicals which are toxic to living organisms. The continued growth of the industry is dependent upon the industry managing these chemicals in a manner which protects the community and the natural environment from contamination by these chemicals. This report, by the amalgamation of information and ideas from the United States, Canada and New Zealand, is intended to provide information to the Australian preservation industry which may be incorporated into the environmental management of timber preservation plants.