Native sawmill seeks a green tick

Winston Wardle and Tim Summers of Green Man Forest Products.
Winston Wardle and Tim Summers of Green Man Forest Products. Adam Hourigan

A NATIVE forest timber mill operating out of Newton Boyd is set to become the first in the Northern Rivers, and the third in Australia, to gain sustainable accreditation with the Forestry Stewardship Council.

The ethos of Green Man Forest Products is to take from the forest what it gives and can sustainably keep on giving, rather than just taking high-value products or single species, forester Tim Summers said.

"Sustainable forestry means managing the resource so that it actually gets better over time. It is not taking what you want and then staying clear of the area for 10 or 20 years," he said. "When I retire in 30 years I want our forest to be in better health than it is in today."

The company bought more than 1200 usable hectares of timbered land near Newton Boyd, halfway between Glen Innes and Grafton, in December. But they have only just started to truck milled timber from the property.

"We spent a lot of time getting everything right with the Clarence Valley Council and other stakeholders. We wanted to get everything done properly from the start," he said.

Mr Summers and managing director Winston Wardle originally planned to ship whole logs from the site, but after talking with friend Sam Ceglinski they decided to install their own mill and add value to the operation. Mr Ceglinski is now the mill manager.

"Having our own small-scale mill on site means we can afford to mill timber that other companies can't," Mr Summers said.

If you have to transport logs the economics means you can only feasibly take the biggest logs, he said.

Green Man Forest Products is awaiting a response from the Forestry Stewardship Council in Bonn, Germany, on their application for accreditation. "All indications are that we will be successful," Mr Wardle said.

The aim of the FSC is to promote environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial and economically viable forest management around the world.

Green Man Forest supplies timber to a yard south of Sydney, called Woodage, that is also accredited with the Forestry Stewardship Council.

"They understand our ethos," Mr Wardle said.

Topics:  sustainable

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