Australians love hardwood timber for its look and functionality but at what cost to the environment?
Of any tree cut down, less than 30 per cent is generally used in products like flooring because current sawmilling methods are extremely inefficient.
Radial Sawing Technology
Radial sawing, invented and developed at Yarram in Victoria’s South-East, challenges the sawmilling industry with the first changes to sawing patterns since the industry started hundreds of years ago.
Basically, Radial Timber produces more timber from smaller trees by using natural principles to saw logs into wedges (ie. slicing them up like a pizza). Sawing timber this way produces either perfectly quarter sawn wedge sectors or back sawn boards. Radial back sawn boards feature 22.5 degree sloping sides and when machined, can be profiled into almost any conventional timber cladding or lining product (see below). More timber out of a log means fewer trees are needed to produce the same volume of timber.
Conventional sawing cannot process smaller diameter logs which made it near impossible to saw plantation timber as the trees would take to long to grow to reach the correct diameter for processing (over 50+ years), but the Radial Sawing method prefers the smaller diameter logs, so we can now plant plantation hardwoods and harvest the trees around 20 year mark, and we are.
Radial Timber together with Heartwood Plantations have established over 3000 hectares of high value native Australian hardwoods like Silvertop Ash, Southern Mahogany and Spotted Gum in the Gippsland region. The land which was left useless from old farming settlements is now a site of thriving native hardwoods which mimic much of a natural Australian forest.
The plantations on sites near the mill, were looking so promising that they are on track to yield useful sawlogs by the time they reach 25 years of age. That is about half the time it takes to grow a sawlog in a native forest.
During the time Radial Timber’s plantations are growing, Radial make sure to only source timber from other hardwood plantations and sustainably managed Vic Forests. It is Radial Timber’s plan to gradually phase out native forests in 10 years and become totally self sufficient in the next 20 years
So What Is The Environmental Cost?
The timber industry can get a bad wrap, with the misconception everyone is going out destroying all the old growth forests around the world, although the industry can be to fault for the destruction of many forests here in Australia there are a few company’s that care about the impact they have on the environment and leading the pack is Radial Timber. Using world first sawing technology developed locally in Victoria that producers more timber from fewer trees and planting native hardwood plantations, Radial Timber is making sure the timber industry can have a sustainable future, but its also down to the consumer to do there part. Knowing where your timber comes from plays a massive part in the protection of old growth and rain forests not only in Australia but around the world. Picking native “Australian” hardwoods like Silvertop Ash and Southern Mahogany instead of international timbers like Merbu is the key factor in insuring the environmental cost of timber is kept to a bare minimum. Australians love timber but we must make sure we put thought into what and where we are getting our timber from, don’t make it someone else’s problem.