Dr Hans Driesma, a respected forester and Chair of Responsible Wood who has contributed enormously to the global acceptance of forest management and certification has been awarded the Order of Australia (AM) in the Australia Day Honors.
Hobart-based Dr Johannes (Hans) Drielsma, chair, Responsible Wood, has played a leading role in the development of the Australian Forest Certification Scheme, and its endorsement by the Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC).
The award is “for significant service to the commercial forestry industry, to sustainable management practices and certification programs, and to professional bodies”.
Dr Drielsma is a former director of the Institute of Foresters of Australia and a recipient, in 2015, of the institute’s highest award, the Norman W Jolly Medal.
He was a director of the PEFC council from 2006 to 2016 and served on the PEFC International governance review panel. He was also instrumental in a more active multi-nation promotion of PEFC in the Asian region.
Responsible Wood CEO Simon Dorries said Dr Drielsma’s Australia Day award was thoroughly deserved.
“The award recognises his support of sustainable forest management and his dedication to standards work over decades,” Mr Dorries said.
“He was instrumental in the establishment of Australian Forestry Standard Ltd [now Responsible Wood] and his international efforts ensured the Australian standard was recognised by PEFC.”
Mr Dorries said Dr Drielsma’s Australia Day honour sent a wider message about the value of forestry and foresters and sustainable forest management; it also gave the Australian forest products industry the social license and credibility it needed to go forward.
Growing up in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, bush walking and the Scout movement led Dr Drielsma to an early interest in the effects of the forest industry on the environment and local communities. Following postgraduate studies in natural resource sociology at Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, he worked for Forests NSW and Forestry Tasmania. During his time in Tasmania, he led the introduction of environmental certification into the organisation.
Hans Drielsma said his father cultivated his interest in trees and forestry.
“He was always a man of the soil and trained in tropical agriculture in Holland before working for a short time in New Guinea as a forestry officer after the war,” Dr Drielsma said.
“He spent some time in Indonesia working with coffee plantations and, in a small way, the forestry sector. Both my father and mother then migrated from Indonesia to Australia in 1950, settling in the Blue Mountains.”