Sunday, January 18, 2009

ancient Tasmanian forests

In 1998 only 13% of the ancient forests remained
Less than half that 13% is protected in national parks
30% of Tasmania's forested wilderness is threatened by logging.
And that includes most of the ancient forests.
92% of the timber extracted from State forests become woodchips; 3.5% becomes sawn timber.

Source: Greenpeace

Friday, January 16, 2009


An ecological buzzword which trips me up. It means: found no where else - naturally. It therefore has a high ecological value. The opposite is a cosmopolitan species and an indigenous species is native but may be found elsewhere.

And a link.

This is really cool

Biodiversity hotspots

Old Growth Forest distribution

35% in Latin America, meaning Brazil for the most part
28% in North America (more Alaska and Canada - Boreal)
19% in North Asia (think Siberia - Boreal)
8% in Africa
7% in South Asia Pacific
3% in Europe

ecological threats to the ocean

overfishing - Science estimates that there will be no commercially harvestable seafood left by 2048.
bottom trawling - scrapes the bottom destroying coral gardens etc.
Longliniing - incidentally catches animals and birds, including turtles and albatrosses
pollution - sewage and industrial - treated as a rubbish pit
desal plants are a new threat.
Channel deepening and dredging off coasts
CO2 emissions which concentrate carbon in the water which screws up the pH - and causes ocean acidification
garbage - especially plastics which sea creatures eat and which then kills them.

200 dead spots in the ocean.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Canadian forests

Canada accounts for a 10th of the world's forests.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

cheat sheet for Gunns's pulp mill

who: Gunns
place: Bell Bay/Tamar Vallery
purpose: bleach Eucalypt woodchips and pulp them for sale to North Asia - Tasmania is closer to the North Asia market than rival pulp suppliers in South America.
envronmental issue: the release of effluent, especially dioxins, into Bass Strait. Gunns is planning to feed timber from the native forests of the north-east into the mill in the initial years of the operation (planned to be all plantation timber within five years. The Wilderness Society says it will initially be 80% native forest fed.)
alternative site: Hampshire
business issues: can Gunns raise the funds? Gunns interest payments in 07-08 were more than its earnings. Gunns has raised $500m in capital ($330m from equity raising and $170 from selling off pine plantations), concern with Gay being CEO and chairman, mill would tripled Gunns' earnings and turn it into a global player, Gunns market capitalization is $730m. Gunns needs to roll over $162m in debt in December 2009 against a debt facility of $178m
cost: $2.2 billion
status: 4 Jan 2009 Garrett said Gunns could build but could not operate till environmental model shows there is not problem with effluent outflows.
Institutional investors in Gunns who control just under 50%: Perpetual, Concord Capital, Perennial Investment Partners, Schroder Investment Management
Source: The Age and the Australian.

Note: How many old growth forests are Gunns responsible for having logged? If Gay hadn't built Gunns into the business it is today would those forests have been logged?
Note: Gunns have hired Sydney PR company Cato Counsel to turnaround years of publicity.
Note: Last pulp mill push 20 years ago was led by Robin Gray, ex-premier of Tas.
Note: Australia has a $2b deficit in wood products.

Further background:
Gunns owns all 4 export-woodchip mills in Tasmania.
It is the largest native-forest logging company in Australia as well as being the biggest hardwood-chip company in the world. (Where's the largest chip company?)
It exports more woodchips from Tasmanian than are exported from all the mainland states combined.
Gunns owns 2/3rds of the eucalypt sawmilling industry in Tasmania.
Gunns owns two major eucalypt veneer mills in Tasmanina.
Key woodchip customers: Oji, Nippon and Mitsubishi.
Source: Greenpeace

Other links:

Sunday, January 4, 2009

water anomaly

It's an anomaly for the water companies to be responsible for reducing water consumption. As consumption decreases they need to put up their prices, and the cost of water is predicted to double - and so it should.  If water is expensive then we don't consume as much - or at least most of us. For the rich it doesn't matter. 

Saturday, January 3, 2009

emissions ready-reckoner by country - a beginning

Australia is a serious offender, per capita, for greenhouse emissions - due to our heavy reliance on coal.
The US emits 20% of global emissions for 5% of the population.

global consumption of oil tops 10m barrels per hour.