Lots of homes in our region rely on firewood for winter warmth: at least 70% of the Uralla Shire’s residents use firewood for heating, accounting for 45% of home energy use. Collecting firewood is a cultural tradition, & for some households having access to a cheap source of energy is an economic necessity.
The bulk of wood burnt in Uralla homes comes from native woodland where there is no active management to ensure that it is being replaced at the same rate. Nor can we ensure that collecting wood has a minimal impact on our wildlife and native plants.
While many residents are reliant on wood burners, Council is encouraging them to consider how they can reduce the impact that collecting wood is having on our environment.
Impacts on wildlife: The same areas that supply our wood are also home to native animals & plants, some of which are beginning to disappear from our landscape. Collecting wood reduces the number of hollows for animals to live in & reduces food supplies for insect & bug loving birds. As wood is full of nutrients that are essential to the health of the woodland, so removing too much timber can result in nutrient deficiency. All of this can impact on how well woodlands regrow naturally.
What you can do to help reduce the environmental impact:
- Ask your supplier for sustainably managed firewood.
- If you have friends or family who farm, ask if you can collect any unwanted wood they plan to burn in the paddock.
- If you own land that you collect wood from, plant native trees to replace those that you remove.
- When you collect wood, avoid collecting wood from along creek lines; avoid dead trees with lots of hollows; & leave a good cover of coarse woody material on the ground in an area you are removing wood from.
Residents are advised that the removal of timber from any public land (Travelling Stock Routes, Crown Reserves, road sides) is illegal. The Office of Environment, Northern Tablelands Local Lands Services & Council have powers to apply fines to people caught taking timber from public lands.