The Hobart

Where’d You Get that Wood? How to Source Legally Harvested Firewood

by Zilla Gordon
Where’d You Get that Wood? How to Source Legally Harvested Firewood

Some might say you’re not really Tasmanian until you’ve seen a ute stockpiled with illegally caught firewood.

And while we might laugh over the thought of this rather common sight, the illegal collecting of firewood, known as wood-hooking, can result in a hefty fine. That means sourcing sustainable, legally harvested wood to keep us warm through our cold winter is no joke. But what makes your firewood sustaina­ble, where does it come from, and how can you tell if your wood is the real deal?

Price-point

Micheal Reid is in the process of setting up his sustainable fire­wood business, RAM Firewood Merchants, and said cost was a big factor for consumers. “We charge more because we pay more for it,” he said. “People have told us they want to buy sustainable wood, but we have to charge more to recover the cost.”

But buying from a larger supplier, like Micheal, would reduce the cost of the wood overall. “Because of the large volume we buy, it’s lower cost,” he said. While old mate on the corner might be selling for less, Micheal said it was up to the consumer to decide if they’d pay the price.

Spot the difference

When it comes to wood, looks count. The telltale sign of planta­tion timber is processing marks on the log. While Micheal said it “wasn’t definitive”, it means the wood’s come from a plantation or logging co-op. “And if something seems too good to be true, it probably is,” Micheal said.

The Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service agreed, saying householders often unknowingly contribute to the problem by purchasing firewood that has been illegally sourced.

Meanwhile, Micheal said to be wary of Gumtree listings where the wood can’t be traced. “We’ve chosen to take the hard route where there’s an obligation to have complete traceability,” he said. “We have meticulous record-keeping because we’ve got to be able to prove where the wood comes from.”

Why it matters?

Tasmania Police said the illegal cutting of wood not only im­pacts on parks and reserves, but the risks posed by the manner in which debris is left across tracks and in the forest canopy is dangerous. This debris has the potential to interfere with access by others, including firefighting resources.

While dead trees make for good firewood, some of our native animals rely on hollows in trees for shelter or to breed, said envi­ronmental conservation organisation NRM South. These hollows can often be more than 150 years old. On the forest’s floor, fallen wood is the perfect home for mosses, lichen, fungi and liver­worts. And if this wood is taken to heat your home, it will impact Tasmania’s fragile ecosystem.

The Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service said their officers work with the police to limit illegal firewood harvesting in parks and reserves. While it might seem tempting to just go to the source, the Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service said the maximum penalty for cutting down trees on reserved land is 500 penalty units (currently $86,000) and or two years’ imprisonment, while possessing or using a chainsaw on a reserve could attract a fine of up to 20 penalty units (currently $3,440).

Fetch your firewood

So can you collect your own firewood? Yes and no. You’ll need to have permission from the landowner or land manager to collect wood from public land. If you’re collecting wood from private land, you must also have permission from the landowner.

There are certain situations where you’ll need an exemption form, like providing it’s not vulnerable land, you’re taking less than one hectare or less than 100 tonnes over a 12-month period.

Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service said NRM South’s website includes information about how people can ensure their firewood meets the requirements. Tasmania Police also said there are processes involved in the legal gathering of firewood and permits are available from Sustainable Timbers Tasmania (STT) for the sole purpose of gathering firewood for personal use only, and that the sale of firewood obtained under STT permits is not authorised.

Firewood is the main source of home heating, according to NRM South. More than 50 per cent of homes use wood fires as the primary source of heating and Tasmania is the greatest consumer, per person, of firewood in Australia.

Love this

Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Close
Exploring Tassie These Winter School Holidays
We know that staying indoors with the family isn’t always fun. And while it’s obviously cold outside, you’re only a puffer jacket and beanie away from being comfortable and ready to explore. There’s lots of family fun to be had in all sorts of weird and wonderful places across the state these school holidays.
Sand Surfing on the Peninsula
The half-day walk to Crescent Beach in the Tasman National Park offers so much- including epic sand dunes for surfing and incredible views.
27 Hobart Friends Get Snipping For One Off Wine
The borders were declared shut in Tasmania on the 30th of March, 2020; the first stare to do so amid the COVID- 19 pandemic and hard lockdown of Hobart followed.
Danphe Nepalese and Indian Food + Peppermint Bay Bar and Bistro
Nepalese food is a comfort in our house. Having spent much time trekking and mountain climbing in Nepal as a younger man, Nepalese food is something I always love to go back to.
That’s DR Hannah Gadsby To You
From Smithton to Netflix and the Emmys stage, Tasmanian stand up comic Hannah Gadsby has forged an unlikely path. Following on from the massive success of her shows Nanette and Douglas, Hannah brings her new show Body of Work to Hobart this month.
PODCAST: Incat founder Robert Clifford on why electric boats are the future
Robert Clifford is the founder of Incat, a Hobart company building fast ferries for the world. Always looking to future opportunities, he has identified where Hobart sits in the next wave of transportation. For more of this interview listen to The Hobart Magazine podcast.
Is Tourism Ready For More Forestry Wars?
Tasmanian forests are special. They’re home to centuries-old trees, including the tallest flowering trees on the planet, and support unique native species. Yet not everyone agrees on how these forests should be managed.
Hobart Chefs: When The Obsession Becomes Real
Tasmania’s brand as a foodie haven is cemented. But within the local hospitality industry there are those who love to use local produce...and those who are next-level obsessed with it. We spoke to a bunch of Hobart chefs who are top of the game when it comes to fostering relationships with local farmers and growers.
Did You Know Australia’s First Female Doctor Was Hobartian?
Tasmania, despite its small size and population in comparison to the mainland, has produced more than its proportionally predicted percentage of significant figures and heroes of Australian history. 
Return Travellers Adding Pressure to Hobart Housing
For all of us 2020 was a year like no other, punctuated by rapid change and plenty of new challenges. For vulnerable people in Tasmania, including people facing homelessness, those on low incomes and those facing increasingly higher rents, it was very challenging. We are seeing a growing demand for homes in Tassie from international travellers returning home, people moving for work and others seeking the lifestyle that our Apple Isle has to offer.
Magazine
AboutContributeAdvertiseNewsletter Sign UpContact
July 2022

Stay up to date with everything happening at the Hobart Magazine.

Thank you to Luke Brokensha for mobilising his friends and local residents recently to host two rubbish clean ups along the Hobart Rivulet after heavy rains.
The warm weather returns...hello summer.
Need a laugh? Check out @theinspiredunemployed feed on Instagram.
Moto Vecchia Cafe in Bellerive and Czegs Cafe in Richmond have joined the Clarence City Council dementia program, creating dementia-friendly spaces for all patrons.
It’s hard to believe it’s not standard practice to have a working phone in every aged care room - shared phones make private conversations impossible and increase the risk of spreading COVID-19.
Tacks on the tracks. Mountain bikers beware of tacks being left on certain tracks on the mountain.
Just when you think your cousins are alright. NZ Opposition Leader Judith Collins took aim at Tassie during her recent (unsuccessful) campaign, calling us Australia’s “poor cousin.” She also seems worried about us nabbing tech businesses, “It’s a lovely part of the world but do you necessarily want to go there with your high- tech business? Possibly not,” she said. We beg to differ!