We recently turned our focus to South Australia, where ForestrySA is continuing with its efforts towards the social and community aspects of sustainable forestry. The visit, which shed light on the positive impacts of several recent projects, provided insight into ForestrySA’s responsible forestry practices and commitment to sustainability.
Matt de Jongh, Responsible Wood Sustainability Manager, had the privilege of witnessing ForestrySA’s community-driven sustainability efforts firsthand. The visit highlighted the organisation’s commitment to its certification, which encompasses not only environmental considerations but also social and cultural dimensions.
ForestrySA has earned its stripes as a certified sustainable forest manager, exemplifying what the Responsible Wood Certification Scheme represents. One of the standout aspects of ForestrySA’s operations is its well-integrated approach, effectively balancing commercial, environmental, social, and cultural aspects within its forest management system. This integration of sustainability principles sets a great example for the broader industry and those who may not be aware of the societal benefits of forestry, beyond the responsible sourcing of products.
Matt observed many examples, including the Tree Climb at Kuitpo Forest, launched in 2023, which is a unique eco-adventure providing a forest canopy view. Additionally, the newly constructed sustainable cabin accommodations managed by CABN within Kuitpo Forest were showcased as a step towards eco-tourism. Matt expressed:
“These initiatives exemplify a dedication to environmental protection and sustainable tourism.”
Matt also explored a significant koala feedstock plantation and a protected site for endangered orchids, further demonstrating ForestrySA’s dedication to conserving biodiversity and preserving critical ecosystems.
“There are many great examples that serve as objective evidence for how certified forestry organisations meet the requirements of our standard.”
A key component of ForestrySA’s commitment is its alignment with the AS/NZS 4708-2021 standard, which highlights the significance of stakeholder engagement, supporting local and regional communities and public access. By embracing these particular elements of the standard, ForestrySA is ensuring that its public forest estate remains open for public recreational access, aligning with the standard’s principles. ForestrySA’s dedication goes further than its legal responsibility of providing access — it actively employs established mechanisms to engage with stakeholders and address potential access conflicts. This proactive engagement underscores their commitment to co-ordinating their forest management objectives with public access while preserving the integrity of their forests.
Notably, ForestrySA’s recent work in these areas extends to the social and cultural dimensions of forest management. Their approach strikes a balance between preserving critical ecosystems and facilitating responsible public engagement. By granting access to their plantations and native forests, ForestrySA promotes responsible recreation and fosters a deeper connection between the community and nature. This initiative echoes the social and cultural pillars of sustainable forest management, ensuring that present and future generations can benefit from forest products and the vast array of ecosystem services.
Responsible Wood recognises ForestrySA’s efforts and their commitment to responsible practices, public access, and consideration of social and cultural factors.
Responsible Wood Communications and Marketing Manager, Jonathan Tibbits adds,
“ForestrySA sets a commendable standard for the industry. This is especially the case when it comes to encouraging and facilitating public access. There is a real commitment to achieving synergy between conservation and commercial production, which not only safeguards significant environmental values but also contributes positively to the community and the region.”