Australia is a land well known for its beauty, and much of that beauty is made up of the natural scenery we get to look at every day. Of course, like any ecosystem, removing just one small part of a well organised structure can have devastating consequences on all local fauna and flora. When it comes to sourcing wood for one’s wood burning heater, most people are more concerned with the safety rating of the heater and not where their wood is coming from. What they don’t know is that choosing the right kind of wood that is good for the environment can make or break the very scenery they enjoy.
As home heating costs show no sign of decreasing any time soon, it’s unsurprising that many Australians rely on wood burning heaters during winter. But too many people are sourcing their wood from roadside vendors or just collecting their own firewood. Many people also get firewood from family and friends. It is estimated that less than a fifth of residents in major areas like Tasmania get their wood from approved merchants.
What these people fail to realise is that in many areas dead trees and fallen branches and twigs are needed by local animals such as birds, mammals, reptiles and bats. These trees are used for safe spaces to breed, feed young (or look out for predators) or just as a place to roost and rest. It is estimated that over 80 unique species rely on this wood, including Tasmanian bats and the endangered Swift parrot. Even the wood that is not used by animals is required to grow fungi and lichens, both of which enrich the nutrients of the soil in the area.
If you are wondering how you can possibly know whether or not your wood was ethically sourced, all you have to do is look for the firewood vendor registration number of the person or business selling you the wood. It should be on all their advertising as well as their transportation vehicles.
If these details are not available and when asked your vendor cannot produce them, it is likely that your wood was taken illegally and you are better off looking elsewhere.