The SW Slopes forestry industry has begun salvage operations in burnt softwood plantations, with most of the merchantable burnt timber expected to be recoverable over the coming year.
Deputy Premier and Minister responsible for Forestry John Barilaro visited Tumut last Friday to talk to forestry industry representatives and inspect the impact of the recent catastrophic bush fires.
“It is important to know that while the forestry industry has been damaged by the recent bushfires, it has not been destroyed, and the industry is confident it will recover over time,” Mr Barilaro said.
“Sadly around 50,000 hectares of the softwood plantations in the SW Slopes area have been impacted by the fires, but the good news is that most of the merchantable burnt timber is expected to be salvageable.
“Over the coming 12 months, these salvage operations will provide a boost to the region, as well as timber resources essential for rebuilding NSW’s houses and infrastructure.”
Salvageable pine trees need to be harvested within around 12 months, however finished product can be stored for years under the correct conditions.
Forestry Corporation’s Snowy Regional Manager Dean Anderson said the local forestry industry is looking at a busy 12 months ahead.
“We’ve found many of the burnt trees are moist underneath the bark, so will be salvageable,” Mr Anderson said.
“In fact, when I started my forestry career in 1988, we were using the last of the logs salvaged from the 1983 Ash Wednesday bushfires in South Australia.”
Mr Barilaro said forestry is a long term sustainable industry and the recovery operation will also focus on replanting.
“Not only will the industry continue to grow, but there are job opportunities in these recovery efforts,” Mr Barilaro said.
“The industry is already looking 20 to 30 years into the future to maintain supply of essential timber products.”