Is Aussie Timber a High EUDR Risk? All Hinges on Definitions!

Newly published research, which has been strongly contested and refuted, argues that timber from plantations could breach EUDR requirements.

Wed 05 Jun 24


Australia risks running foul of EUDR, with vast amounts of softwood and hardwood timber entering the block either directly or through a third country, potentially wrapped up in new definitions of deforestation.

That is according to controversial and disputed new research, Forest conversion and timber certification in the public plantation estate of NSW: Implications at the landscape and policy levels, published in the Land Use Policy journal.

Led by Dr Tim Cadman, the research examines the conversion of hardwood plantations—an alternative to natural forests—in northern New South Wales. The findings have “national-level implications.”

According to the study, the push to grow plantations comes amid the increasing loss of natural forests, which, in turn, “will result in the increasing loss of native forest and make efforts to implement the Glasgow Declaration unachievable.”

“This paper explores the response of both state and non-state actors to addressing deforestation and forest conversion in the developed nation of Australia, and the state of New South Wales in particular,” the researchers said, adding that the conversion of forests, or plantation establishment “is occurring at the expense of natural or semi-natural ecosystems and planted forests,” which has “in some instances, become the antithesis of places for biodiversity conservation.”

Instead, Australia needs a new policy framework, “ensuring that all remnant-and high conservation value vegetation within plantations, regardless of condition or size, are recognised as having significant biodiversity value, and are not permitted to be removed or converted.”

Is Australia’s timber supply chain EUDR ready?

Last month, Wood Central spoke to an EUDR expert – currently working on the policy – who said “the legislation clearly defines “deforestation,” “deforestation-free,” “non-compliant product,” and “forest,”” which they said, is “crucial in assessing Australia’s exposure to EUDR.”

“This means that Australian timber, whether from a natural or plantation forests, must meet the requirements as outlined in Article 2 of the EUDR, in order to be compliant with the new legislation,” the expert said.

Like the US, New Zealand, Canada, Indonesia, Malaysia and Brazil, Australia has concerns about the new rules, with Murray Watt, Australia’s Agriculture and Forestry Minister, writing to the EU Commissioner for Environment to address concerns with EUDR.

One of the challenges lies in the definitions of “forest,” “planted forest” and “naturally regenerating forest” – which could vary from definitions in Australia’s State of the Forests report – updated in December last year, which follow the FAO definitions, which make a distinction between forests (or native forests) and planted forests.

Please Note: The publisher notes that some of the research’s claims are strongly contested, refuted, and misleading, especially those claiming that the current regulatory environment facilitates deforestation.


  • Jason Ross

    Jason Ross, publisher, is a 15-year professional in building and construction, connecting with more than 400 specifiers. A Gottstein Fellowship recipient, he is passionate about growing the market for wood-based information. Jason is Wood Central's in-house emcee and is available for corporate host and MC services.


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