Plantation Timber – The Environmentally Friendly Building Material

By Timberlink

Sustainability – It’s at our core

Sustainability is in many ways the word that best defines Timberlink. Everything we do is at its core, sustainable. If we said to you that plantation timber is one of the world’s most sustainable building materials, plenty would sceptical. But if you search for a more sustainable natural product you won’t find many answers. Plantation timber pine is renewable, fast growing and sucks in large amounts carbon dioxide at a time where its substitute products create large amounts of CO2.

The origin of pine timber is often misunderstood. Our perceptions of the process by which wood is turned into timber are so often defined by political conflict, marred by native forest clearing and issues surrounding water and air quality. The problem with this is that there are two distinct sources of timber products. One source is from native forests and the other from plantations.

Our products are proudly made from certified timber pine plantations and are used for every application from the framing that holds up your house, to building that pergola and deck in the back yard. By itself a stick of timber can seem pretty bland, but many of our most cherished moments with friends and family rely on it.

Certified Plantation Timber

At Timberlink, it’s not just about the end product; we care about our communities and the environment that we all live in. That is why we don’t take just our pine trees from anywhere, we only use certified plantation timber.

We are the first and only major softwood sawmiller in Australia to achieve both the Responsible Wood/PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes) and the FSC® (Forest Stewardship Council®) environmental certifications. This signifies our wholehearted commitment to the legal, ethical and sustainable sourcing of timber. We strongly support the forestry certification schemes that provide key guarantees to the market both in Australia and around the globe.

A solution to climate change?

There is no single solution to a problem as large as climate change, but planting trees is the perfect place to start.

It takes around 30 years for the average pine tree to mature. In that time, the tree grows and through the process of photosynthesis, sucking up carbon dioxide. That CO2 is then locked into the timber for its lifetime. Incredibly, 631kgs of CO2 is taken out of the atmosphere for every cubic meter of timber produced.

Young trees suck up more CO2 while they are growing than fully mature trees do. Pine plantations are often grown on land that would otherwise be mountainous grassland or agricultural land. The forestry industry is currently working with government to bring Australia in line with most of the rest of the globe and provide carbon credits for timber plantation forestry growth.

Green Gold

Incredibly, Australia still imports around 20% of its softwood each year. For a country as large as Australia and with a relatively low population, this is a huge missed opportunity. Timber processing is a crucial value add process that creates the manufacturing jobs that are the lifeblood of regional areas.

In Tasmania the forestry industry directly supports over 3000 jobs, almost 1000 of which are in the softwood industry. An estimated 2,650 additional flow-on employment opportunities are then created by the sector in the state. The majority of these jobs are in regional areas.

Timberlink itself directly employs over 190 people at its Bell Bay facility and over 650 people directly or indirectly rely on Timberlink for their employment in Tasmania. Annually, Timberlink contributes over $150m to the Tasmanian economy, much of which centres on George Town, a community of 6,000 people.

Opportunities to support local communities in Australia are there but would take great foresight from governments, business and support from local communities. In Australia it is often misunderstood just how sustainable plantation logging really is, and so these opportunities have been missed.

Good for the environment and great for local, regional jobs, plantation timber really is green gold.

Investing in technology to get the most out of this wonderful natural resource

To be a truly sustainable sawmill, you need to use all of the valuable natural log. At Timberlink we employ some of the latest technology in grade scanning, infrared technology, big data analytics and even AI to ensure we do this.

It seems almost counter intuitive to use the advances of modern science on such a raw, natural product, but timber has come a long way from the days of the axe and the lumberjack, and the environment is better for it.

The high-tech machinery and precision software allows us to determine how much of the log is to be turned into timber, woodchip and then to use the residue in the most efficient way possible. What log that is not turned into timber is turned into woodchip, to make paper products, the remaining residues are then used power our boilers.

At our mills over 93% of the energy is powered by wood residue. This ingenious use of resources is another part of being a fully sustainable business.

The cycle comes full circle

Whilst none of the steps taken individually make Timberlink an environmental success, when all the parts are viewed together you can see that Timberlink is a truly responsible and sustainable business. We are able to be an economically and socially sustainable business, providing our regional communities with the jobs and support that is so crucial to them. This is underpinned by an inherent level of sustainability that can only be achieved by plantation timber. Drinking in CO2, creating jobs and all the while leaving the natural native environment to flourish. Learn more about the benefits of surrounding yourself with timber.

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