When it comes to mitigating the effects of climate change as well as the need for investment in carbon smart and renewable products there is no better time to celebrate sustainably managed forests than on this year’s National Forestry Day – August 22, 2023.
On National Forestry Day, the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) emphasises the crucial significance of Australia’s forest products sector. In line with the requirements of our standard for sustainable forest management (AS/NZS 4708) AFPA Acting CEO Natasa Sikman highlighted the sector’s role in supporting regional communities, combating climate change, economic viability, and providing responsibly sourced sustainable forest products.
Natasa encouraged reflection on the role of forestry in daily life, mentioning items like timber house frames, cardboard boxes, furniture, and even toilet paper.
“The sector supports around 180,000 jobs and contributes $24 billion to the economy yearly, with operations primarily situated in regional Australia. With a projected quadrupling of timber demand by 2050, the sector leads the world in sustainable forest management.”
Certified sustainable practices here in Australia serve as a model for other countries. Forests in Australia contribute to climate action by absorbing and storing carbon as trees grow, aligning with Australia’s net-zero goals.
Responsible Wood CEO Simon Dorries commented,
“It’s important we recognise the essential role of timber and wood in our lives, and the many benefits to communities. Forest products are everywhere, and the contribution of sustainable forest management and chain of custody certification to our economy, society, and climate is crucial.”
In addition to celebrating National Forestry Day, it is essential to acknowledge the pivotal role of forest certification in supporting the intrinsic values of forests and promoting responsible sourcing of forest products.
Forest certification ensures that these resources are harvested and managed sustainably, striking a balance between economic interests, environmental preservation, and social considerations. Notably, organisations like Responsible Wood and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) play a crucial role in upholding these principles. By certifying forest management practices, these certification schemes assure consumers that the products they purchase come from well-managed and environmentally sound sources.
Marketing and Communications Manager for Responsible Wood, Jonathan Tibbits reflected,
“These certification schemes provide a strong framework for ensuring that the economic benefits derived from forests continue to support local communities, while safeguarding the ecosystems for future generations. Through collaboration with local stakeholders, these systems can improve regional economies while maintaining the delicate ecological balance of forests.”
Setting globally recognised standards tailored to national operating conditions and regulations is integral for the effectiveness of forest certification systems. By acknowledging the unique characteristics and challenges of each nation’s forestry industry, these standards ensure that sustainability practices are both feasible and impactful. Such an approach accounts for the varying ecological, social, and economic contexts, allowing for flexible yet responsible forest management strategies; all whilst based on the internationally agreed upon criteria and indicators for sustainable forests outlined in the Montreal Process.
On National Forestry Day, it is important to recognise the vital role of sustainably managed forests in shaping the responsible future of the forest products sector.
By supporting initiatives such as National Forestry Day, we collectively contribute to the protection of our forests, the longevity of local communities, and the sustainability of the industry as a whole.