Certification for all Australian forests needed

Friday 2 Oct 2020

Leading forestry experts have called for the certification of all Australian forests to find out how well our forests, including national parks and reserves, are managed. Consultant Rob de Fegeley AM and Ric Sinclair, managing director of Forest and Wood Products Australia, said all forest management in Australia, including conservation reserves and small forest holdings, should be independently certified under internationally recognised sustainability criteria.

Currently, only production forests are certified. Mr de Fegeley has had numerous forestry leadership positions, including chair of the Forest Industry Advisory Council, which urged the federal government to push for full certification. Mr Sinclair, who spoke in a personal capacity and not as FWPA chief, reiterated what he said at a major forestry conference eight years ago.

Mr de Fegely said the FIAC supported the global independent certification bodies, PEFC, whose Australian body is Responsible Wood, and the Forest Stewardship Council, which had already certified production in native forests and plantations.

Mr Sinclair said during the past 30 years, large areas of forest had been set aside in reserves, with no mechanism to assess whether reserves were achieving the desired for conservation outcome. "FSC and Responsible Wood (previously Australian Forestry Standard) have the potential to certify forest reserve management practices and provide confidence that the reserves are being appropriately managed," he said.

Mr de Fegely said more was known about production forestry than forest area outside production. Certification would inform a whole-of-landscape approach that would include water quality and catchment, biodiversity, invasive pests, weed and disease risk, and the potential effects of future climate and fire regimes.

"It would ensure equitable treatment of forests in a tenure-blind manner, and measurement and monitoring of management objectives for all forests," he said.

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Source: gippslandtimes

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