Climate change and environmental issues are global concerns so sustainable forestry management is playing an ever increasingly important role. It’s why so many governments around the world are making emissions commitments. The world is changing in terms of the way it approaches climate change, with the realisation that all countries need to participate.
Australia, regardless of which government holds power, has a responsibility to contribute to lowering emissions. However, protecting the environment and preventing climate change go a lot further than just meeting an emissions target.
One of the key steps that we need to take is the one toward sustainable forestry management. Forest management isn’t simply just about stopping companies from logging certain areas. We realise that we need the timber produced in forests. But how we harvest that timber is of the utmost importance.
Let’s take a look at why forests are so important and how Australia is working towards sustainable forest management.
Why are forests important?
In very simple terms, without forests, we wouldn’t be alive. Trees are the very things that allow the earth to breathe. They absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it, in turn producing the oxygen that we need to survive.
You would have heard a lot about carbon emissions in recent years, and trees play a key role in this too. Because they store carbon, trees help to regulate the global climate. They actually absorb around 40% of the fossil-fuel emissions produced by humans.
Think about that for a moment. We’ve all heard about the damage these emissions are causing to the earth. But trees are absorbing 40% of the problem. We’re doing all of this damage with just 60% of the emissions we produce.
Of course, trees and forests aren’t all about climate change. They also provide a habitat for wildlife, food, help to prevent landslides and erosion and contribute to the global water supply.
How forests impact our daily lives
Most people would be aware of the common items that come from forests. We all use paper, wood products, and product packaging. But there are so many other items we use every day that come from forests. Some of these include deodorant, paint, asphalt, wine corks, detergent, toothbrushes and so many more.
The issue is that not all of these products come from forests by default. You need to look for Responsible Wood-certified versions of these products. By doing so, you help to affect a change in the way normal household goods are viewed. Rather than just being tools to make our lives easier, we can also help the environment by purchasing the right ones.
Aside from that, the forestry industry in Australia is estimated to contribute around $23.9 billion to the economy, and associated industries employ around 52,000 Australians. Not to mention the cultural and spiritual relevance for Indigenous communities.
What is sustainable forestry management?
A sustainable forest is one that’s managed in such a way that the forest regrows and regenerates, through active and adaptive management, and this must not be confused with deforestation. In decades past (and unfortunately, it still happens today), forests have been stripped of trees in the pursuit of progress, for agriculture and urban expansion for instance. We need timber, so we take it. The problem is, that without sustainable forest management, the impact on our environment is severe.
In contrast, a sustainable forest is one that’s managed so it will be there for generations to come. Trees are still harvested, but another tree is planted or regrows in its place. It’s a lot more complex than that, though. Plants and animals are managed appropriately in a sustainable forest and plants and animals thrive in this environment.
The way trees are harvested is also more environmentally-friendly. Rather than bulldozing large trees and dragging them through the forest (destroying all other vegetation in its path), sustainable forests are managed in a way that ensures safe practices are used to protect wildlife, workers and the environment.
Buying sustainable products
We mentioned just a few of the surprising products that come from forests earlier. The fact is, there are plenty more than that. You just need to know where to find them. Responsible Wood provides certification to forests, ensuring they are indeed sustainable. Our standards have been developed to provide guidance and clarity for consumers.
When you look for the Responsible Wood logo, you know you’re buying products that have been sourced from sustainably managed forests in Australia. This gives you peace of mind that with every ethically-sourced product you buy, you’re contributing to a solution. To find out more, browse our website or contact us directly. We’d love to hear from you.