Regulatory Impact Statement: National Approach to Firewood Collection and Use in Australia

Environment Australia, 2001

Strategy 1. Improve the Information Base

The objective of this strategy is to determine how much firewood is collected from various forest and woodland ecosystems, and ascertain the impacts of firewood collection on the biodiversity of remnant forests and woodlands to inform the development of better policies and improved management guidelines. Proposed Actions include:

  • Determine where and how much firewood is being collected;
  • Determine the impacts of different firewood collection practices in regional forest and woodland ecosystems;
  • Determine the impact of firewood collection on biodiversity in particular regional ecosystems, and develop management guidelines.

A qualitative assessment of potential impacts of these actions on Governments, firewood collectors, merchants, and consumers and environmental values follows:

Action

Determine where and how much firewood is being collected.

Impact on Government

  • Federal and State Governments will have to bear the costs of this research

Impact on Collectors

  • Will have to be engaged in the process. Potential for either engaging or alienating collectors depending on how sensitively the research is handled.

Impact on Merchants

  • As for collectors. Although their information will be of less use than collectors but their cooperation will be necessary to reach collectors.

Impact on Consumers

  • Negligible direct impact

Impact on Environment

  • In the long term substantial benefits through more focused conservation efforts.

Action

Determine the impacts of different firewood collection practices in regional forest and woodland ecosystems

Impact on Government

  • Federal and State Governments will have to bear the costs of this research. This research will provide information on how different harvest practices will affect different ecosystems.

Impact on Collectors

  • There is potential to engage firewood collectors in the process and strengthen the quality of the research by regarding different firewood collection practices as different treatments in a true adaptive management experiment. Potential to provide regional guidelines resulting from this study for regionally sustainable firewood industries.

Impact on Merchants

  • Little impact in the short term but the potential for a more sustainable and less environmentally damaging industry.

Impact on consumers

  • Little impact in the short term but the potential for a more sustainable and less environmentally damaging industry.

Impact on Environment

  • Development of sustainable industry should benefit biodiversity in the long run.

Action

Determine the impact of firewood collection on biodiversity in particular regional ecosystems, and develop management guidelines.

Impact on Government

  • Federal and State Governments will have to cover the costs of this research. This research will provide even more focused information on the impact of firewood harvest on particular ecosystems.

Impact on Collectors

  • There is potential to engage firewood collectors in the process and strengthen the quality of the research by regarding different firewood collection practices as different treatments in a true adaptive management experiment. Potential to provide regional guidelines resulting from this study for regionally sustainable firewood industries.

Impact on Merchants

  • Little impact in the short term but the potential for a more sustainable and less environmentally damaging industry.

Impact on Consumers

  • Little impact in the short term but the potential for a more sustainable and less environmentally damaging industry.

Impact on Environment

  • The high degree of focus of this research on ecosystems particularly vulnerable to firewood collection should lead substantial benefits to those species most vulnerable to population decline due to firewood harvest.