Why Australia’s Approach to Forest Management is Seen as a Global Example

As responsible timber suppliers in the Brisbane area, we feel that we have a duty to help preserve our forests and sustain our environment by selling only ethically forested and sourced timber. We fully support the Government in its approach to ensuring that Australian timber species thrive and that harvested timber is replaced to ensure that the cycle of turning carbon into timber continues.

Responsible Forest Management Australia

These practices protect our timber and our forests while lowering our country’s carbon footprint. The process of growing a tree is the opposite of that which creates a carbon footprint. As trees grow, they use CO2 in the atmosphere to create timber fibres. This is called “carbon storage” and is the opposite of leaving a carbon footprint.

When timber is responsibly sourced, it is cut down at the age where its rate of converting carbon into timber has slowed. It is then replaced by planting new trees where the old ones were. The trees are planted at a density that maximises the potential for the growth of new trees. The new trees turn carbon into timber faster than the old ones did.

If every tree is harvested in this manner, it provides high quality timber for building purposes while turning greenhouse gases into new timber. Everybody wins: the vendor, the consumer and the environment.

In 2003, a paper was submitted to the World Forestry Congress and caught the attention of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). It was called, “Sustainable Forest Management and the Ecosystem–An Australian Perspective.” It was written by Stuart M. Davey, James R. L. Hoare and Karl E. Rumba of the Bureau of Rural Sciences in Kingston, ACT.

The United Nations Forum on Forests and the Convention of Biological Diversity are currently trying to affect change on a global basis and were heavily influenced by this document.

The Australian Perspective to Sustainable Forest Management

In Australia, we have used an ecosystem approach since 2000. The ecosystem approach is based on twelve principles. The approach considers conservation to be a “matter of societal choice. It advocates that all ecosystem managers consider the impact of their decisions, not only on their own ecosystem, but on others.

The approach also advocates a long-term approach and a balance between conservation and biological diversity. It also advocates involvement on all levels of society and science, while recognising that change is “inevitable.”

The Australian model is sustainable forest management which is based on combining substantial yield with ecological sustainability. The principles of biodiversity, ecological productivity, socio-economic sustainability and ecosystem vitality and health are integrated into a precautionary approach to managing forests. When it’s all said and done, the Australian perspective can be boiled down to this description from studies in 1997 and 2001:

“The integration of commercial and non-commercial values of forests so that the welfare of society (both material and non-material) is improved, whilst ensuring that the values of forests, both as a resource for commercial use and for conservation are not lost or degraded for current and future generations.”

The Australian Government started on their current path in 1992, with the National Forest Policy Statement. The result was the formation of three goals for sustainable forest management: maintaining the ecosystem’s “vitality,” sustaining the biodiversity of forests and “maintaining the net social benefit” over the long term of “forest uses within ecological constraints.”

This is accomplished by the Regional Forest Agreements that are currently in effect for eleven out of twelve commercial forests in Australia. The result has been our reserve system, which is seen as a paragon of responsible forestry by most environmental groups. It has helped maintain a level of access to forest resources that has helped Australia remain globally competitive in the timber industry while providing a sustainable lifestyle.

What it Means to You

If you have done any research as to how “forestry” is done in other countries, you are probably both appalled at what some of them do and grateful that we do it right here in Australia. It also means that you can trust Narangba Timbers to only use ethically-sourced timber.

Call us to learn more: (07) 3888 1293.

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