What is Sustainable Firewood?

When you buy or collect firewood there are a number of things to check to make sure it is sustainable. 

  – Is it legal to take the wood from the site?

  – Has the tree naturally died and fallen over? 

  – Are there replacement saplings nearby?

  – Are there other homes for wildlife?

  – Is there other dead timber on the ground to stop soil erosion?

 – Has the nutrient rich bark been left?

To assist in being able to assess how much firewood you can take from different types of woodland please click on the following:  Firewood collector package 

Dead tree on the ground partly cut for firewood
A fallen tree is partly cut for wood and the rest is left on the ground. Only take wood from naturally fallen trees.
A new sapling growing
New saplings are growing to replace dead trees.
A lizard sitting on fallen wood
Fallen timber is used as homes for animals such as this lizard as well as soil nourishing insects and fungus.
Parts on dead tree in gully that has prevented erosion
Fallen timber left in gullies will help prevent erosion by slowing down the flow of water.
Breakdown of nutrients
A tonne of firewood would return these nutrients back to the soil.
Nutrient rich bark left on a fallen log.
Nutrient rich bark left on a fallen log can return to the soil

The table below shows how many meters of Course Woody Debris ( diameter of wood is >10cm) should be left lying on the ground. You should only take wood if there is more than this available at this site. 

Name

FormationClassBenchmark CWD (m)per  ha
Blakely’s Red Gum – Yellow Box grassy woodland of the New England Tableland BioregionGrassy WoodlandsNew England Grassy Woodlands260
Broad-leaved Stringybark – Yellow Box shrub/grass open forest of the New England Tableland BioregionGrassy WoodlandsNew England Grassy Woodlands260
Silvertop Stringybark – Mountain Gum grassy open forest of the New England Tableland BioregionDry sclerophyll forests (shrub/grass)New England Dry Sclerophyll Forests680
Broad-leaved Stringybark shrub/grass open forest of the New England Tableland BioregionDry sclerophyll forests (shrub/grass)New England Dry Sclerophyll Forests680
Rough-barked Apple – Red Stringybark shrubby open forest of the western New England Tableland BioregionDry sclerophyll forests (shrub/grass)Northern Tablelands Dry Sclerophyll Forests590
Mugga Ironbark open forest of the New England Tableland BioregionDry sclerophyll forests (shrub/grass)Northern Tablelands Dry Sclerophyll Forests590

It is also important to make sure your wood is dry. This also means keeping it covered once you have bought it home.

A water bottle with the water that had come out of a piece of wood over 12 months
This is how much water came out of this piece of green wood over 12 months.
Cut wood stored in a wood shed to keep dry
Keeping your wood covered ensure it burns more effectively.