1             WHAT IS WOODCHIPPING?     Between 90 and 200 trucks a day into the Eden chipmill

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Log and chip stockpiles at the Eden chipmill

Truck unloader

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Endangered tiger quoll

Woodchips are the first stage in processing trees into paper. Paper gets its strength from fibre, which can be obtained from many sources including bamboo, wheat straw, kenaf, hemp and plantation hardwood. In Australia, virtually all fibre comes from eucalyptus hardwood.
Because of the way Australia's forests are managed and priced, the cheapest source of fibre for paper is native forest hardwood. This is because logging is subsidised by State Governments which provide the infrastructure for logging at public expense and the forests at less than market cost.
Australia has enough plantation hardwood available to replace all native forest chip exports. While native forests are available to cheaply, the woodchipping industry continues to devour them.
While other countries around the Pacific, such as Chile and New Zealand have stopped native forest woodchipping, Australia continues to permit and subidise this destructive industry.

Myths about woodchipping
woodchipping uses "waste wood"
woodchipping creates jobs
  Flora and fauna
  Woodchipping kills

Myth: woodchipping uses "waste wood"

In the beginning, when the Eden chipmill was set up, corporations and governments claimed that woodchipping would be a by-product of sawmilling. It would use the "waste" from "useless" parts of a felled tree that would otherwise rot on the forest floor. This was wrong then and it's wrong now. In the Eden Region, over 90 per cent of all timber cut goes to the chippers. Even in the face of this statistic, Governments and corporations maintain the fiction that woodchipping is a by-product of sawmilling. This aerial view of the Eden chipmill shows the stockpile of large whole tree logs, waiting to be chipped. How can a whole tree be waste? How can over 90 percent of the forest be waste?

Myth: woodchipping creates jobs
Woodchipping is highly capital intensive and provides very few jobs. Machinery needed to chip whole tree logs is expensive, but requires very few workers to operate. It takes $1M of investment to create one job in woodchipping.
This huge machine can unload a 35 tonne log truck in a few seconds.
Likewise, loading of woodchip carriers is almost all automated.
As woodchipping took more and more of the available timber, sawmills have closed all over the region. In the Eden region there is hardly a sawmill left.
As employment has fallen, the nature of employment has also changed, with far greater use of less secure contract arrangements for most workers in the industry.
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Flora and fauna

When forests are clearfelled, sure, they do regrow. But the regrowth forest is quite different from the old forest it replaces. It has been estimated that it will take 1400 years for a regrowth forest and several generations of most tree species - to regain the diversity of age and species of the forest it replaced. A regrowth forest of uniform age and much more uniform tree species replaces a mature "multi-aged" forest. Not all eucalyptus species regenerate at the same rate. Some, such as the silvertop ash (eucalyptus sieberi) behave almost like weeds after clear felling, while less vigorous species virtually disappear in the regrowth forest.
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Woodchipping kills

A license to woodchip is a license to kill. Literally. Native animals that do not die when their homes and food sources are destroyed are likely to die slow painful deaths as they starve in areas that can no longer sustain them. Most native animals are territorial and cannot easily move to another forest area, even if one is available. Some species die out because they no longer have shelter from the hollows that only old trees can supply.







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