A new study has found that the loss of timberlands can be a significant burden on communities.
The research, by University of Western Australia researchers, examined a sample of around 1,500 properties across five states across Australia.
They found that an average of 7.8% of properties had fallen into ruin due to timberland loss and were valued at $1.6bn.
The study, published in the journal Landscape Ecology, looked at more than 50 sites across the country.
The researchers found that loss of land led to an average loss of about 12,000 hectares of timberland.
They also found that a high proportion of timber lands were lost by people.
“It is often considered that the timber industry is a relatively small sector, but the evidence shows otherwise,” said lead author Dr Julie Stokes.
“The majority of land in the timberlands is owned by landowners and often times those landowners have little or no access to the land.”
So, timberlands tend to be managed in a way that doesn’t allow them to benefit from timberlands and their ecosystem.
“The report found that of the sites surveyed, around 20% of the properties were owned by people and were worth $1 billion to $2 billion.”
We can’t just put our hands up and say ‘this is what the forest looks like now’,” Dr Stokes said.”
That doesn’t make it a good thing, because it doesn’t really help the community.
“The researchers also found an average annual loss of $10,000 in terms of timber costs, and that the average loss was $1,500.”
There are other costs that are related to loss of property, but those are not always obvious, especially when it comes to the loss in the value of timber,” Dr Stoke said.
In the case of the Western Australian study, around 3% of homes and businesses had lost their timberland, which equates to $4.6 billion.
The report also found there was a higher rate of urbanisation in some of the areas surveyed, and the rate of decline was higher in areas with large Indigenous populations.
Dr Stokes is calling for an audit of the government’s timberlands program.”
If we don’t change what’s going on, we are not going to be able to sustainably manage this sector,” she said.
The Federal Government has committed $10 million to review and improve the management of the timberland sector, with an estimated cost of $8.5 million.
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