Timber update September 2022

by | Sep 15, 2022

Boost to process more plantation timber 

Image source: Australian Sustainable Hardwoods (ASH).

Australian Sustainable Hardwoods (ASH) is set to expand its plantation timber manufacturing operations after recently receiving a $1.2 million Victorian Forestry Plan innovation grant.

The new funding from the Victorian Timber Innovation Fund will go towards building a $2.4 million specialised MASSLAM (Glue Laminated Timber) manufacturing facility to support the mill’s transition to alternative fibre sources.

As the only large-scale manufacturer of MASSLAM in Australia, this investment will help ASH expand its current operations to manufacture products made out of plantation shining gum. Australian Sustainable Hardwoods Managing Director Vince Hurley said plantation shining gum is a key pillar in the future of MASSLAM production. 

“This investment will mean that ASH can continue to produce Australian made, large-scale section columns and beams,” Mr Hurley said.

The investment will not only future-proof ASH’s manufacturing business, but also allow the facility to manufacture more plantation timber products including mass flooring systems, engineered floorboards, kitchen benchtops and components for staircases, windows, doors and furniture.

The mill already received $1.6 million through the Victorian Timber Innovation Fund to install a new manufacturing line to produce engineered flooring made from plantation shining gum and Australian made pine plywood, assisting in the expansion of both its online and retail outlet. The retail space allows customers to purchase staircase and furniture components directly from ASH, with the engineered floorboard line to be up and running by the end of the year. This will see ASH as the only company in the country to manufacture this kind of high-value plantation product.

Minister for Agriculture Gayle Tierney recently visited the Heyfield mill to announce the funding and inspect the mill’s newest retail outlet and said she was, “proud to support ASH to continue to support local jobs and manufacture world renowned timber products into the future.”

New creative resources put timber in the frame

The Timber Framing Collective has introduced a suite of easy-to-use, creative resources to help share the remarkable green story of Timber Framing —The Ultimate Renewable™ — one of the only building materials that is 100 per cent renewable and sustainable, with each timber framed house roughly offsetting the CO2 emissions of three family cars per year.

Through the new resources, the Timber Framing Collective aims to empower the entire supply chain, from growers to consumers, to stand up for timber and its craft. 

The assets are a part of a new campaign, ‘Let’s build a better world’, for the Timber Framing – The Ultimate Renewable brand that is designed to celebrate the contribution the industry is making to help our planet as well as the rational benefits of timber framing (durable, reliable, workable, etc), the innovation of the industry and the people involved throughout production and supply. 

The campaign and assets were developed after research showed that despite timber framing being one of the most eco-friendly building materials, many people still think cutting down trees is a bad thing. And despite most builders and fabricators preferring to work with timber, many have been steered to other materials due to consumer demand.

Timber Framing Collective Spokesperson, Richard Hyett said, “by equipping everyone involved, these videos and assets provide the tools and knowledge needed to guide people back to a deep-seated love of timber framing.”

“Our research also showed that 78 per cent of consumers would like an eco-friendly building material option from their builder or supplier, but less than half of builders and suppliers are likely to discuss sustainable materials with their clients,” Mr Hyett said.

Anyone in the industry has unlimited access to all the assets which may be shared across every touchpoint while also enabling anyone in the supply chain to learn more about timber framing and give their clients access to engaging and educational content to help them make a more informed decision.

Sustainable forestry needed to fight climate change

Building new homes from timber could save about 10 per cent of the world’s carbon budget which is needed to limit global warming to two degrees according to a new study from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

The study found that if 90 per cent of the world’s new urban population is housed in new timber mid-rise buildings – 106 gigatonnes of CO2 could be saved by 2100.

This research clearly demonstrates that increasing use of timber and fibre is critical to fighting climate change and that we need more sustainable forestry, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) Ross Hampton said.

“Australia and the world is turning more and more to timber and fibre products to fight climate change and improve the state of the environment. This is why we must get one billion new production trees planted locally by 2030 to meet Australia’s future needs, to allow a greater take-up in mid and large-scale timber construction,” Mr Hampton said.

“It is also why Australia must lead the world on promoting sustainable forest practices, including reducing deforestation, enhancing sustainable native forest management, and growing plantations. This is all required to feed world demand over the next century.”

“Timber and fibre is a major part of the climate change solution and governments need to recognise that. The world wants timber and fibre and the trees that produce timber and fibre lock away carbon. We can solve two local and global problems by growing more trees and engaging in sustainable forestry – providing much-needed essential products and fighting climate change,” Mr Hampton concluded.

Inaugural National Forestry Day celebrated

Australia’s National Forestry Day was recently celebrated on August 30, known as a day to celebrate all the great work done by Australia’s forest industries. 

From growing trees that absorb carbon and making sustainable and renewable products, all while creating new jobs and underpinning communities, the contribution of Australia’s forest industries should be celebrated, Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) Chief Executive Officer Ross Hampton said. Forest industries are not only responsible for $24 billion of national economic contribution annually but also 80,000 direct local jobs and another 100,000 indirect jobs.

Forest industries also plant more than 70 million new trees every year that absorb carbon, helping fight climate change, while supplying essential and renewable products, from house-frames and structural timber to furniture and floorboards and paper and cardboard.

“Our homes and offices are full of forest products. From the house-frame in the walls and roof, to the timber floors and benchtops, right through to paper in the printer and toilet paper in the bathroom, we cannot live without forestry,” Mr Hampton said.

“Australia’s forest industries are also helping fight climate change, with trees absorbing carbon as they grow and locking it up in the products that are made. This National Forestry Day, we celebrated all that is good about Australian forestry and are proud of the environmental, economic and social contribution they make nationwide,” he concluded.