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Sustainable forestry reaches new heights

Australia’s sustainable forest product industries had a record log harvest in 2016-17, increasing in both value and volume, according to statistics and forecasts published this week by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES).

The ABARES report for the March and June quarters 2017 shows growth in demand for Australia’s sustainably managed wood products resulted in an estimated record harvest of logs of up to 33 million m3, worth $2.5 billion.

Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) Chair, Greg McCormack, welcomed the news that again highlights the industry’s significant contribution to the environment, regional jobs, communities and economies in Australia.

“Demand for wood-fibre and innovative wood products in the Asia-Pacific region continues to expand, creating huge potential for our sustainable forest industries.

“Australia is well placed to meet this demand, if opportunities and innovations are capitalised on, and our industries are supported.”

AFPA is the peak national industry body representing the resources, processing, and pulp and paper industries covering the forest products value chain.

AFPA represents all elements of the value chain from the sustainable harvesting of plantations and multiple use natural forest resource including forest establishment and management, harvesting and haulage, processing of timber resources and manufacture of pulp and paper.

Demand for wood-fibre and innovative wood products in the Asia-Pacific region continues to expand, creating huge potential for our sustainable forest industries.
Greg McCormack, Chair, Australian Forest Products Association

Mr McCormack said the prosperous times for the industry, was reason to plan for its future.

“ABARES’ latest figures underscore the pressing need to progress the National Forest Industries Plan (Plan), recently announced by Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Anne Ruston.

A well-designed Plan will detail the necessary government and industry policies to incentivise and support investment in new plantations and associated forest product industries,” Mr McCormack said.

National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) President Fiona Simson said Australia’s forestry sector had a lot to be proud of.

The management and harvesting of plantation and native forest logs provides about 15,000 jobs, mainly in rural and regional areas.

“The growers exercise the highest standards of sustainable forest management.

“All plantations and native forests are required to be sustainable through accreditation by either or both of the major international certification schemes (Australian Forestry Standard/PEFC and Forest Stewardship Council).”

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