Eden is a small coastal town located in the South East Cost of Australia in the New South Wales. It is situated 478 kilometers south of the state capital Sydney. It supports a small population of over 3000 people. Tourism and timber harvest from the native forests are two major economic activities in the region 1. Native forest based industries are the biggest employers in the Eden2.
This conflict can be categorized as open conflict with protests, petitions and legal cases in the Australian courts.
Resources Involved: Wood chips from timber processing from the native forests.
Synopsis of the conflict
The wood chip export history goes back to 1995-96, wood chips was exported to Japan for pulp and paper products and it accounted for 10% of the total woodchip export from Australia3.
April, 2010 Conservation Groups demanded rejection of the proposal of Wood Fired Power Station which they nicknamed ‘Dead Koala Power’, the Japanese company plans to use the chipmill timber waste to general electricity in a 5.5 MW plant 2.
The South East Fiber Exports company has proposed to build a bioenergy power plant at the Eden, New South Wales.
The company was acquired by Allied Natural Wood Export from Japan. It is currently acquired by Allied Natural Wood Exports (ANWE), it continued clear felling the trees and chipping it, that is believed to be affecting the wildlife in the forests 4.
Several protests from the environmental groups, anti-logging groups are in protest of the company accusing that they have not fulfilled the promise to use waste wood material as the feedstock of the power plant.
In May, 2016, over 30 green groups signed a petition against logging practice in the native Australian forest 5.
Nov, 2016, Treesitters group stopped the logging operations in Eden, NSW, the protestors claimed breaches of the habitat protection regulations 6.
Nov 2018, strong lobbying against the use of biomass as the source of energy from ecologists, environmental organizations.
The logging and timber harvest activity has long history in the Eden region, and the locals have protested against call to cease logging activity in the region. They claim the profession that they inherit from their ancestors 8.
There is clear conflict of interest between the parties, the head of Bioenergy Australia claims that company is to follow the strict harvesting guidelines of the government of Australia hence the plant is reasonable. The industry is currently in operation 7. There is strong lobbying against the wood chip use in producing energy in Australia from environment organizations, ecologists and other activists. The major concerns are about the sustainability of the resources, biodiversity conservation and air quality. The concern is that biomass use would increase logging intensity.
1. Eden, New South Wales. Wikipedia (2019).
2. Proposed Eden biomass power station an environmental and climate disaster | Indymedia Australia. Available at: http://indymedia.org.au/2010/04/17/proposed-eden-biomass-power-station-an-environmental-and-climate-disaster.html. (Accessed: 22nd February 2019)
3. NSW CRA/RFA. A Report on Forest Wood Resources and Wood Based Industries in the Eden CRA Region. (1998).
4. chipstop. Available at: http://www.chipstop.savetheforests.org.au/. (Accessed: 22nd February 2019)
5. Slezak, M. Environmental groups demand end to logging of Australia’s native forests. The Guardian (2016).
6. Brown, B. Tree-sitters stop logging in south-east NSW forests. ABC News (2016). Available at: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-11-29/tree-sit-logging-protest-tantawangalo-state-forest/8074308. (Accessed: 22nd February 2019)
7. Houston, T. Eden chip mill back in action. Magnet (2016). Available at: https://www.edenmagnet.com.au/story/4292318/eden-chip-mill-back-in-action/. (Accessed: 22nd February 2019)
8. Houston, T. Fighting over forest. Magnet (2015). Available at: https://www.edenmagnet.com.au/story/3416927/fighting-over-forest/. (Accessed: 22nd February 2019)