We'd be finished if not for hardwood harvest: graziers
ROCKEMER Grazing's Trevor and Shona Rockemer own about 10,000 acres, spread across several holdings, including at Brooweena and Coalstoun Lakes.
If it weren't for the supplementary income provided by the harvesting of their hardwood timber by sawmills including Slack's Hardwood, the drought would have finished them off by now, Mr Rockemer said.
"We depend on timber,” he said.
"We wouldn't have been able to survive (without the income).
"Timber pays to feed the cows.”
Mr Rockemer was illustrative of what Slack's Hardwood owner Sam Slack said was a whole ecosystem of businesses that depended on the sustainable harvest of Queensland timber.
Slack's Hardwood has been on the offensive since industry body Private Forestry Service Queensland caught wind of a purported plan to increase restrictions on the industry, including upping the mandated 150 stems per hectare guideline to 300 hectares and sequestering large swaths of private forest from harvesting.
Mr Slack has organised a rally in Granville, Maryborough, on August 18 to illustrate the existential threat the industry feels the proposed changes represent.
Mr Rockemer said many people in Brisbane, politicians included, had no idea about life on the land.
"They don't understand what we are trying to do, we try to look after the environment,” he said.
Wife Shona agreed.
"We're not murderers, like the State Government makes out,” she said.
"You know best how to manage your land.”
Slack's Hardwood log buyer Scott Pershouse said there were many cons to a 300-stems-per-hectare rule, aside from the fact tree growth would be severely inhibited by too many trees competing for sunlight and nutrients.
"You can't lock it up because that's what pests thrive on,” Mr Pershouse said.
For instance, one of the most effective ways of combating pest species lantana is by fire but this option is off the table when stems are too thick.
The State Government is under pressure politically due to reports Queensland has the highest rate of deforestation in Australia, albeit partially driven by the fact it has more forests than southern states with more developed agricultural industries.
The Department of Environment and Science's latest Statewide Landcover and Trees Study reported that in 2017-18 Queensland cleared 392,000ha of "woody vegetation”.
Mr Pershouse said the issue was more with greedy developers "flattening” forests and producers panic-clearing due to too many changes in the legislative scheme, rather than the timber industry, which had a vested interest in productive, regenerating forests.