The Australian Forest Products Association says the Federal government’s target for one-billion new production trees, announced two years ago, has been emphatically endorsed by news that Canada will spend C$3.16-billion to plant an additional two billion trees by 2030.
Canada’s announcement is a aimed at meeting its climate change targets, as well as increasing the renewable resource used by the enormous Canadian timber sawmilling and processing industry.
“Canada’s forest industry is about twice as large as Australia’s, so the Australian Government’s one-billion new production tree planting target, which is half the scale of Canada’s, is not out of proportion,” noted Ross Hampton, Chief Executive Officer of the association.
Key difference between the programs
He added: “Both nations plan to plant all of these new trees by 2030.”
According to Hampton, a key difference between the countries is that, whilst Canada is investing more than C$3-billion in its program, in Australia the government is relying on creating the right conditions for private investment to achieve the growth needed.
The most important action the government can take is to ensure all the Regional Forestry Hubs around Australia are announced and enabled with start-up funding as soon as possible, he said. This is so that planning can take place to ensure the planting of the ‘right trees at the right scale in the right places’.
Some states are blocking tree planting
“The second enabling activity is the modification of regulations to enable farmers, landowners and others to more easily access carbon credits obtained from the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) reverse auctions,” Hampton said.
“It is vital that red tape reforms continue, and that pressure is brought on any states [which] are blocking the planting of new trees.
“It remains bizarre, for example, that in part of the largest tree-growing area in Australia, the south-west Victorian side of the Green Triangle, the Victorian government is yet to allow the Federal Government to declare the area exempt and deliver the carbon benefits of new trees to farmers and landowners.”
Aim of net-zero emissions by 2050
The Canadian Press news agency reports that Canada’s natural resources minister, Seamus O’Regan, said the new tree-planting project would help the country achieve its goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
“There is no path to net-zero carbon emissions that doesn’t involve our forests,” O’Regan told reporters.
“Trees increase our community’s long-term resilience to climate change. They reduce the likelihood of flooding and the risk of wildland fires.”