Forests play a critical role in regulating the global environment, population and economy.

Covered by Jason Ross, Marketing and Communications Officer for Responsible Wood

Image courtesy of IG: @the_shoot_project, 2018 Responsible Wood Photo Competition

Besides alleviating the effects of climate change and natural disasters, forests represent some of the richest biologically diverse areas on Earth.

And when it comes to deforestation, human society is in clear need of root-and-branch reform.   

According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) up to 13 million hectares of forest are lost each year to deforestation. Some argue that the true rate of loss could be 18 million hectares or perhaps more.

According to the World Economic Forum destruction of tropical rainforest, which stores an estimated 210 gigatrons of carbon, is the second biggest global contribution to climate change.

However times are changing. Many one-time deforestation culprit nations are leading the way in re-greening efforts.  One such example is Ethiopia, whose success in rejuvenating forests through tree-planting has inspired other countries, like Pakistan, India and China, to do the same. 

When it comes to climate change, the impact of large scale tree-planting on carbon emissions is ‘mind blowing.’

Besides sequestering carbon, boosting biodiversity and pollinators, promoting rainfall and providing firewood, fodder, jobs and shelter, forests are being recognised for crucial infrastructure tasks they perform.  Forests protect priceless arable land from extreme weather events, prevent soil erosion, bind soil together to prevent flash floods and even shield human settlements from avalanches. Increasingly ‘green infrastructure’ is expected to play an important role as humanity adapts to the changing climate. 

Using timber from forests in products enables the continued storage of carbon in those timbers, even while the forest continues it work.  Certification, and certification labels on product create additional demand for certified forest products, building consumer trust in them. Creating additional value and demand for forest products is one of the best ways to help keep forests standing, preventing them from being cleared for alternative land use and ultimately increasing the value of forests.

Responsible Wood is the Australian National Governing Body for PEFC in Australia – and manager of the Australian Standard for Sustainable Forest Management.

PEFC forest certification plays an important role in ensuring that forest remains forest all over the world.

For more information about forest certification and its role in protecting forests please explore the Responsible Wood website.