THE UGLY SIDE OF PLANTATION
FORESTRY
June 2007
What can possibly be bad about planting more trees. This was the rationale
presented to a Clarence Valley Conservation Coalition "Earth Matters" forum, by a
promoter of plantation forestry in 2006.
The presentation was requested in response to concerns by residents of upper
Kangaroo Creek, south of Grafton, where a Tasmanian company had purchased the
old Bardool Station with the intention of establishing extensive Eucalypt plantations.
The simple answer is, there is nothing wrong with planting trees. In fact it is an
imperative if climate change is to be addressed, as growing trees absorb carbon
dioxide from the atmosphere, sequester the carbon, and release life-giving oxygen.
The problems with plantations, however, arise through a variety of considerations,
including the types of trees planted, the purpose for which a plantation is established,
treatment of the land on which the
trees are planted, and the possible
resultant social impacts.
An international movement has now
researched problems arising from
plantation forestry around the world,
and have detailed the negative
impacts of plantations in thirty eight
countries, including Australia.
The authors of “Plantations are not
Forests" are highly critical of the
Convention
on Climate Change and
the Kyoto Protocol, which they say
was hijacked by self interest groups
and forced to concentrate heavily on
carbon sinks, particularly plantations,
rather than addressing the source of
the problem itself - atmospheric
pollution.
The Australian Government has taken
a lead in this hijacking, by promising to clean up coal through carbon geo-
sequestration, and offering large sums of money to Indonesia to stop land-clearing,
simply to allow business to continue as usual in Australia. This business still
involves the use and export of the most damaging of all pollutants, coal, and other
fossil fuels such as natural gas, which all contribute to global warming.