One researcher's plan to bring more logs to Lismore
In an effort to bring more logs to Lismore, a local PhD researcher is looking at whether a timber industry could be re-established in the Northern Rivers.
Kevin Glencross is a PhD researcher at Southern Cross University who also project manages, designs and supervises large-scale forest restoration operations for the public, for private enterprise, NGOs including the United Nations.
"My PhD research looked at ways we could put trees back into the landscape, and also look at them as a potential resource. Could we re-establish a timber industry and do a much better job this time around?" he said.
Mr Glencross said in a time gone by, Lismore had proven fruitful for exporting high-value woods like rosewood and pine.
"Here around Southern Cross University Lismore campus, most of the area was covered in subtropical rainforests before Europeans arrived, but that forest was very quickly cut down. A lot of the timber that grew in those forests was then exported out as high-value timbers like red cedar, rosewood, some of the pines," he said.
"They cleared those trees, grew grass, but we never thought to put trees back. Now things have run full circle - the dairy industry has shrunk dramatically and there's a lot of land out there that's under-utilised."
Mr Glencross said that replanting trees and creating dense plantations can be beneficial for flood-prone areas.
"In these flood-prone environments, not only can we store carbon, but these trees help keep the soil in place up in the valleys, up in the catchment and stopping that from running into our waters, and losing that productive soil," he said.
"This can help mitigate the economic impact of these intense floods as well. This vegetation not only has ecosystem value, but human value as well, for timber, food and shelter."