Look beyond pulp mill feed: Greens

THE Tasmanian Greens believe that the state's plantation hardwood supply will deliver a better return to plantation owners if used for furniture and in construction rather than pulp mill feed.

Greens resources spokesman Kim Booth said the state's vast nitens timber supply needed to be seen as more than woodchips, rather a high quality product for diverse uses.

The state's hardwood plantations represented one- quarter of Australia's hardwood estate.

A report released by former federal resources minister Martin Ferguson on Thursday found that these plantations could sustainably generate between 2.5 and 3 million tonnes of wood each year and would be best used to feed a pulp mill.

Mr Booth said the government should stop chasing the "pulp mill mirage" and instead encourage regional processing facilities for furniture and cross-linked timber manufacture.

"A diversified product range will provide for long-terms jobs with better career paths for Tasmanian workers and higher return for growers," Mr Booth said.

"Emerging markets for cross-linked timber indicate that Tasmania should be able to deliver both value and volume for our nitens as well as stand on its own two feet."

He said cross-linked timber could use effectively 100 per cent of a tree and its strength made it ideal for construction beams.

Mr Booth said that the volumes consumed by cross- linked timber could be substantial.

"It is not, at the end of the day the volume that is important, it's the profits that you can make and the economic sustainability or viability of the business case," he said.

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