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Technology in Australia 1788-1988Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering
Table of Contents

Chapter 4

I Management Of Native Forests

II Plantations-high Productivity Resources

III Protecting The Resource

IV Harvesting The Resource

V Solid Wood And Its Processing

VI Minor Forest Products

VII Reconstituted Wood Products

VIII Pulp And Paper

IX Export Woodchips

X Future Directions

XI Acknowledgements



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Export Woodchips

During the 1960s the use of hardwoods for paper pulp production started to increase significantly in many countries not only to supplement traditional softwood use during a period of rapidly increasing demand, but also because of the better appreciation that had developed of the benefits of such pulps, particularly in printing papers. It is likely that the Australian experience played some part in this trend. The use of domestic hardwoods was particularly successful in Japan and such was the growth of its industry that it was found necessary to import both hardwood and softwood chips in the latter half of the 1960s, pioneering the use of special bulk ships for this purpose.

The first Australian shipments of eucalypt chips to Japan were made in 1970 from Eden, NSW by Harris-Daishowa (Aust.) Pty. Ltd. By 1972 three other such projects were in operation in Tasmania, Tasmanian Pulp and Forest Holdings Ltd. at Triabunna (later to be taken over by APPM) and APPM and Northern Woodchips Pty. Ltd. near Launceston (the latter company later to be taken over by H. C. Sleigh Resources Ltd., and be known as Forest Resources). In 1976 Western Australian Chip and Pulp Pty. Ltd. started a similar project at Bunbury. Later some smaller export projects were started, based on eucalypt sawmill waste or plantation pines. Some exports have also been made to Taiwan and Korea.

The major projects were based for the most part on eucalypt forest areas from which most of the better quality trees had been selectively logged in the past and which had generally deteriorated in productivity due to fire damage and lack of silvicultural management. A general condition of the licences under which they were operated required that the areas logged should be regenerated to produce a high quality resource capable of a high sustained yield, in an economic sense a great improvement on the existing forests. With some local variations logging has been done by clear-felling, any trees of sawlog quality being directed to sawmills and the remainder, together with the sawmill waste, being chipped. The logged areas are being regenerated in the ways already described earlier in this chapter, natural regeneration being supplemented where necessary by sowing or seedlings.

The characteristic of the major projects which distinguishes them from other logging operations is their larger scale. Chip exports were 4.5 million green tonnes in 1984/85, requiring about one-third of the total annual hardwood removals from the forests. Because of their high visibility they have attracted much criticism for their impacts on landscape values, flora and fauna habitat, soil stability and water quality. To prevent or minimize these the State forest services have progressively developed more appropriate requirements for the conduct of the projects and the restoration of areas where damage has occurred.

From a technological point of view there are no significant differences between the operations of the wood chip export projects and those of the local pulp and paper industry, except that the former are generally on a larger scale, some of the chippers used, for example, being among the largest in the world. Disposal of the large quantities of bark and chip fines produced as waste has had to be done in an environmentally acceptable way, where necessary by burning in smokeless incinerators. In the case of APPM, however, chip fines are now being used in a solid fuel boiler for steam generation at its Burnie Tas. pulp and paper mill.

Organisations in Australian Science at Work - Australian Pulp and Paper Mills (A.P.P.M.); Forest Resources; H. C. Sleigh Resources Ltd; Harris - Daishowa (Aust.) Pty Ltd; Northern Woodchips Pty Ltd; Tasmanian Pulp and Forest Holdings Ltd; Western Australian Chip and Pulp Pty Ltd

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