|State of the Environment Tasmania||Home|
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|Firewood Collection and Usage||Index of Biodiversity issues|
In Tasmania, wood is the main source of home heating. Firewood is a decentralised and (conditionally) renewable form of home heating fuel. A survey conducted by Aurora Energy (2001) showed that 50% of homes were using wood as a primary heat source followed by electricity (44%), gas (4%) and oil (2%).
In 1999-00 Tasmania had the highest consumption rate of firewood per household in Australia, consuming 610,000 air dry tonne of firewood each year (Todd 2001). When industrial fuelwood is included, the total is 770,000 air dry tonne of wood burnt per year. Of the Tasmanian households that use firewood, it has been estimated that 40% collect their own mainly from private land and 60% buy their wood. Most of the wood bought is from small collectors or suppliers (e.g. selling from the back of a truck) (62.5%), or is from friends and relatives (15%). Less than a quarter (22.5%) is bought from firewood merchants with established premises (Driscoll et al. 2000).
Most of the wood is sourced from native forests. The plant species favoured for firewood collection form part of some of the most depleted and poorly reserved plant communities in Tasmania. The most notable include: inland peppermint (Eucalyptus tenuiramis) forest; inland black peppermint (E. amygdalina) forest; black peppermint forest on sandstone; and cabbage gum (E. pauciflora) forest and woodland.
The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 provides for the identification and listing of key threatening processes. These are processes that threaten-or may threaten-the survival, abundance or evolutionary development of a native species or ecological communities. In 2001, 'continued net loss of hollow-bearing trees in native forests and woodlands due to firewood harvesting practices' was listed in the Act. Also in 2001, the State Government introduced a new penalty for cutting, damaging or otherwise destroying a tree on reserved land. Conviction under the section of the National Parks and Reserves Management Act 2002 can result in a 'fine not exceeding 500 penalty units ($50,000) or imprisonment for a term not more than two years, or both'.
This 'At a glance' section provides an overview of the issue of firewood collection and usage. More detailed information is available in the Firewood Collection and Usage Issue Report.
The sustainability of firewood collection and usage is also conditional on community acceptance of alternative forms of home heating, and to improvements in domestic wood heater operation in order to reduce the release of particulates from wood fire smoke to the atmosphere (especially in the case of Launceston). The Issue Report on Particulate Pollution and the recommendation on Total Exposure to Air Pollution address this aspect of firewood usage.
The distribution of dry sclerophyll forest and woodland in Tasmania. Caption: Dry sclerophyll vegetation predominates from lowland to upland areas in northern and eastern Tasmania, and subalpine country of the south-eastern central highlands.
The distribution of dry sclerophyll forest and woodland in Tasmania.
Caption: Dry sclerophyll vegetation predominates from lowland to upland areas in northern and eastern Tasmania, and subalpine country of the south-eastern central highlands.
Contact the Commission on: email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: (03) 6233 2795 (within Australia) Fax: (03) 6233 5400 (within Australia) Or mail to: RPDC, GPO Box 1691, Hobart, TAS, 7001, Australia
Last Modified: 14 Dec 2006
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