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Part of the CERES Fair Food newlsetter series, words by Chris Ennis.


You may remember last year Goldfields agroforesters, Mal Brown and Ben Boxshall, came down to the Fair Wood warehouse in Preston to talk sustainable firewood.

Each year in Australia we collectively burn around seven million tonnes of firewood, much of it sourced in a not-so-transparent way from native forests as “fallen or dead wood”.

There’s nothing as lovely as a wood fire, but there’s also nothing as lovely as a native forest.

There’s an emerging movement of foresters who are thinking very differently about the timber plantations they manage.

Mal and Ben from wood4good are such foresters.

When I think of timber plantations I see acres of pine trees or blue gums clear-felled on maturity, debris burned and replanted again.

When Mal and Ben think of timber plantations they see perennial forestsregulating and protecting land, water, biodiversity and climate.

To Mal and Ben timber is just one of the by-products of a sensitively managed tree plantation. 

Their goal for a tree plantation is to become a perpetual source of renewable materials, bio-energy and income. 

wood4good are currently working in a 300 hectare red ironbark and sugar gum plantation owned by Greater Bendigo City Council. 

Planted on degraded grazing land, the plantation is now twenty years old – the time for smaller trees to be selectively thinned giving larger trees room to mature into saw logs.

The thinned trees, thick as fence posts, are traditionally seen as waste and pushed into piles and burned.

Instead, wood4good sees this “waste product” as an opportunity to help pay for forest management as well as reducing pressure on native forests to supply firewood.

Last year while Fair Wood was trialling sales of bagged firewood we had lots of requests and emails about supplying bulk firewood.

Last week Fair Wood took delivery of a flat-bed truck and began dropping pallet cages full of Mal and Ben’s sugar gum firewood around Melbourne (that’s them in the pic below).

Sugar gum, like red gum, is incredibly dense and slow burning – the two qualities of a good firewood.

Read more about our Sustainable firewood here.

You can also find 15kg bags of sugar gum here on the Fair Food website – we deliver them with grocery orders.